Pt. 2 Interview with Buddy Wike of the R&B Group Intro by DJ Layne Luv
Layne Luv Footnote: Memorial weekend 1993, I’m in New York City. My Navy fleet is in town for Fleet Week and we’re walking around on Broadway and 42nd St. All of the sudden we see Eddie F and we started bugging out. We started asking him what he was working on and he told us about a group that called themselves Intro he was working with, and how they were going to blow up the summer. Sure enough they did! By the time we got back to Norfolk VA., the buzz of this group was everywhere and you could here their songs played from every jeep, and tricked out car. The summer of 93′ belonged to them and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
Straight Official Magazine continues our conversation with Buddy Wike this week. We’ll start where we left off in Part 1. Eddie F of Heavy D and the Boyz has agreed to cultivate the R&B group Intro to stardom, and while they’re on deck to record, fate would prepare them to mold a future queen as she would be dubbed later the Queen of Hip Hop Soul. The conversation left off with the groups INTROduction to Mary J. Blige….
BW: …….So we ended up recording Reminisce, Love No Limit, and My Love….
OTT: …ahem so that’s your group on the background vocals of the Love No Limit 411 Remix?…”Said I’m loving you, loving you everyday, don’t you look no more love without a limit..” I sing or at least try to. lol
BW: But see you have to understand, those were originally Intro records. They took our vocals off and put Mary’s on. We had those songs recorded and everything in the studio with Dave Hall, so we banged out like 15 joints and those three songs I mentioned earlier were part of those 15 records. Dave probably still has the original recordings of those songs before they put Mary on there. That would be so nice just for me to hear it again.
OTT: So what was the first song you released?
BW: Love Thang produced by Eddie F. R&B acapellas over Hip Hop tracks were always the thing on New York mixtapes, so we just brought it to the forefront on that single. He took that Brand Nubian beat Slow Down and we went in. I remember shooting the video, it was on Super Bowl Sunday and a really cold night freezing cold. We shot it in downtown Manhattan. If you look in the video you still see the World Trade Center behind us.
OTT: In ’93 you had some pretty stiff competition amongst R&B groups….Boyz II Men, Jodeci, TLC, & SWV..and I think you guys came out around the same time H-Town did. How did you establish yourselves among these great artists?
BW: The great thing about us is that we were in the studio a whole year before we could land a deal. So we ended up writing for a lot a people . When the Mary songs popped off, we had a resume, and that’s when Eddie took us over to Atlantic Records. Silvia Rhone was over there at the time, she is was like one of the most influential people I met in the music industry. She’s just an all around dynamic person period. She asked me one day, “Buddy, what else do you want to do besides being an artist?” I told her I wanted to be a producer. She said go find out what you need and let me know. I went to Sam Ash, found out what I needed. The next day I had a check ready, I told them I wanted them to send it directly to the store because I wasn’t carrying around that check LOL. Next thing you know, FedEx trucks started rolling up to my house and that’s when it was on and popping as a producer. I have a lot a heat now that I’m still holding onto for the right time to release.
OTT: Describe what it was like having all this new found success.
BW: Atlantic Records put us in some great situations. We were on some really nice tours. We went to London, Germany, all across the US, but the coolest place they sent us to was St Petersburg Russia, 350,000 people man. We were over there with 69 Boys and Stuntman (I Like to Move It). The funny thing about touring in foreign countries is …I can walk out on stage and yell “Everybody put your hands in the air!” and nobody will understand a word I’m saying. As soon as Let Me Be comes on, you can see everybody in the place sing it word for word and everybody sang it in English. That was some real rock star stuff.
OTT: Did you guys ever get into any ego battles because Kenny Green was the front man or did everyone play their position.
BW: Everyone stayed in their lane. I was in love with playing and producing. Kenny’s voice was so advanced it was like a chameleon, it adapted with whatever the track called. To me I felt that he was ahead of his time vocally, but still fit right in for what was going on at the time. He was multitalented. He could sing, rap and write great songs. Listening to a lot of the tracks now, I can’t believe Kenny got me to sing on those records. Kenny did his thing, I did mine, Jeff did his.
OTT: Ok here’s a hard question. As Kenny being the voice of the group, when did you notice him becoming sick and how did it affect you?
BW: We were getting ready to do the third album. We used to go so hard, doing three shows, three cities a day sometimes. We was about that lier jet lifestyle way before people were talking about G this and G that. So we were always tired as hell. When we did get some downtime, we kinda went our separate ways so there was really no way to monitor if Kenny has unusual behavior. But once we did know, we had discussions about it and then we made it our responsibility to bring awareness around the issue. Kenny was a real smart dude like that. Very smart.
OTT: Considering what his illness was (we’re going to be respectful in this interview), did that cause people to become stand offish or were you embraced?
BW: At that time, once people got the information, honestly they didn’t know what to think. My mother who was alive at that time said to never get too personal when asked about Kenny. So I would tell people just pray for him. Up until the day he went to the hospital, he lived with my family. I’m not saying this for any particular reason, but a lot of people couldn’t stand to see him like that, let alone handle that responsibility. So I talked to my wife, I knew I had a 1 year old at the time so we went over all the precautionary measures and sanitary procedures and we did it because it’s what God told me to do and I did it….with all due respect I can’t go into anymore detail. God bless his soul….I just can’t talk about this no more….I’m sorry brother.
OTT: Yes my brother we are not that kind of publication and we want to do everything to preserve your legacy in this article and not gossip. And I apologize if my questions put you in that uncomfortable space.
On a lighter note…what made you want to get back in the studio in 2012 and breathe new life in the Intro name?
BW: 2012 I built a new studio, and while I was working, I’m producing new material, while listening to the older stuff. I did a gospel project for Phyllis Stephens…John Legends mother. I also helped out a bunch of my friends that got into films and stuff like that. Once you start catching the vibes, it only made sense to do another album. Writing Come Inside, I own a majority of the publishing on that song and that helped me with the publication company I started. Even back then, with all the chasing the girls and all the fun stuff, I’m glad I handled my business.
OTT: How do you want this Intro legacy remembered?
BW: Well what we didn’t want to do is be the group that never made it back because Kenny died, God bless his soul. I didn’t want that to be the end of the Intro story. And that’s what I’m still working on, how can that not be the end of the story. Because right now, that’s how the story is being told. We can keep on making records and never get the answer but I have to try. I just want to keep working as hard as we can to change the ending to this wonderful story.
Eric Pruitt is from Detroit MI. and he is the current lead singer of Intro. Jeff Sanders is an original member and we still continue to record and tour. We’ve had a number of singers before Eric, and we’ve had conversations with them, but the problem was always that the artists felt like they had to fill Kenny’s shoes and that’s just not possible. We encourage them to put their own spin on an Intro record. But right now we have a good fit. And we’re just going to keep moving forward.
OTT: Thank you so much for speaking with Straight Official Buddy! God Bless!
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