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Prophet Jones | Features

Prophet Jones SaveOurSoul artist of the Month march 2002


Bothers with voices

Throughout history, Prophets have always been looked at as earthly people that have a special talent for speaking the word that folks want, or more appropriately, need to hear.

While not overly spiritual, R&B group Prophet Jones, seeks to uplift people in a similar way with its powerful, heartfelt vocals, reminiscent of the soul music of old, but injected with modern hip-hop and R&B flavors. What separates them from the average R&B group? You might say that Prophet Jones raps with melody. "Our vocals are old school R&B, but we're influenced by today's hip-hop," Prophet Jones member Goldee explains.

The name Prophet Jones describes a group of guys that have an extraordinary gift for speaking to people through their music (Prophet). However, they appear no different than the guy next door (Jones). Through the use of their musical gift, the members of Prophet Jones shine like the ice on their wrists while still keeping it grimy. "We sing to the streets," Hollywood remarks.

"The name Prophet Jones goes back to our image," group member Goldee recalls. "When people see us in the mall, they look at us as just some young thugs 'chilling on a corner.' We don't look at ourselves like that and we don't feel like anyone else should either." Prophet Jones also holds their fans in high esteem. "We see all our fans and friends as royalty under one divine king," P. Rowe says. "That's why we call all of our supporters majesty."

Prophet Jones uplifts on its shining self-titled freshman effort with feel-good songs -- everything from club anthems to soothing ballads. "Woof," the bouncy first single from the CD, was laced by Chris "Tricky" Stewart, who has produced soundscapes for Mya ("Case Of The Ex"), JT Money, and Sole. Other tracks include the mellow, yet sensual, "Come Inside" and the seamless wedding song, "Lifetime."

"We've got a little something for everyone," Prophet Jones member P. Rowe says, describing the group's music. "The single, 'Woof,' is for the younger audience, for the clubs and for the little hip-hop heads. 'Doing Me' is a laid back, California, beautiful women, clubbish kind of thing. We've also got a lot of ballads."

Prophet Jones also tips their hats to the masters of soul with a cover of the O'Jays' "Cry Together." "We just wanted to give back to the great songwriters who came before us," K.D. says, "like Philly soul legends Gamble and Huff, the original writers of 'Cry Together.'" According to Goldee, that track not only shows the diversity of the group, but also demonstrates a great range of vocal skills. "We like to surprise people because when you look at us you wouldn't think that we could sing that O'Jays song. Expect the unexpected from Prophet Jones."

While many newcomers don't have the opportunity to write and record their own songs, the members of Prophet Jones receive songwriting credits on 5 out of the 12 songs of their self-titled University Records/Motown Records debut. "We had a lot of creative control," K.D. said. "A lot of people ask, 'Did someone write your album?' Most new acts don't get to write their own material, but I guess we're just blessed to have the talent and a label that respects us."

"They are the 21st Century Jodeci," assures Haqq Islam, President of University Records, home of multi-platinum hit-makers Mya and Dru Hill. "We're putting a new face on R&B because Prophet Jones is in a class all by themselves. This is old school soul with cross-generational appeal."

The formation of any tight-knit, highly ambitious group has an intriguing story. And Prophet Jones has theirs.

Washington, D.C. natives Hollywood and Goldee met in high school on the talent show circuit. After joining forces and making a name for themselves locally, the two hooked up with producer, Kevin Jackson's Night Flight Music. They scraped up enough money to record a 7-song demo, which was sent to several record companies. University's CEO/President Haqq Islam was searching for an R&B quartet to sign to the label and responded immediately, inviting Hollywood and Goldee to New York. "When Goldee and I got to New York, the record company was expecting a foursome because of the way we stacked our harmonies," explains Hollywood. "I was shocked when only two guys showed up but I knew Hollywood and Goldee were the beginnings of something great - Prophet Jones," Islam recalls.

Enter K.D., a Baltimore, MD native, started his career as an entertainer and entrepreneur at the early age of 2 and hasn't stopped since. "Back in my hometown of Baltimore, I used to sing, tap dance, do talent shows, all that stuff. I even used to make little demo tapes of my stuff." All of K.D.'s persistence and hard work paid off two years ago when mutual friends put he and Goldee back in touch (they had met the year before at an industry event). Hollywood and Goldee decided they had found Prophet Jones's third member. "I'm the visual side of the group," K.D. says. "I'm real dramatic but I'm also quiet and shy. I just transform while I'm performing. I'll be the one dancing on the speakers on stage."

Haqq Islam brought the fourth and final member, P. Rowe, into the Prophet Jones mix. P. Rowe was raised in the church and started his musical journey at the age of 8 when he got a set of drums for Christmas. The Ft. Pierce, Florida-born beat-maker's earliest experiences include the church band, community choir and his high school group, Four of a Kind. His big break came when he performed at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College's homecoming as opening act for University Records acts, Mya and Terry Dexter. Here he ran into Islam, who asked him to come to New York for a meeting.

It was in Islam's office that Prophet Jones was born. "We're like long-lost brothers," boasts K.D. "We're on the same page spiritually, mentally, and musically." Islam agrees, "The guys in Prophet Jones all have a reference for music history. They know about Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, The Temptations and the impact they had on black music. These guys are extraordinarily talented." Islam breaks down each individual member: "P. Rowe has that old, gritty soul sound like Al Green. There's no one like him in the market. Hollywood is the Eddie Levert or Teddy Pendergrass, a strong vocalist. K.D. is our falsetto, and Goldee, he's like a young Jo Jo (from Jodeci)."

The members of Prophet Jones have already enjoyed big-time exposure, opening shows for the likes of Mya, Sisqo, the Ruff Ryders, and Eve. "We would perform and grab the crowd's attention before we had even released a record," K.D. recalls. "We did one show where P. Rowe actually got chased off the stage by 15 girls and they had to call security." But the members of Prophet Jones aren't letting anything go to their head. As Hollywood explains, "As Prophet Jones, we are just blessed that we can share our gifts and talents with the world."

Prophet Jones
Prophet Jones - Prophet Jones Track Listing:
1. Come Inside (Interlude)
2. Woof
3. I Know You Wanna
4. Lifetime
5. You Gotta Believe
6. Prophet Jones (Interlude)
7. All I Do
8. Doin Me

9. Hate On Me
10. Cry Together
11. You Can't
12. Can I Take You Home? (Interlude)
13. Can I Take You Home?
14. I Can't Deny
15. Come Inside
click here to buy Prophet Jones

Interview with Anthony "Hollywood" Dumas


Is it tough to live up to the name?
Hollywood: I don't know man. I think by having the name it lets everyone know I'm wild. I don't pay attention to what I do every day but I guess they're all right. I am wild.

Did you inherit that name?
Hollywood: Yeah. I joke a lot and I'm flashy, I like diamonds, and they was like, 'Yo, you Hollywood.' I got my neck tattooed with it and everything.

Were you the one who kept everyone's spirits high when things seemed dark?
Hollywood: Yeah, when they was crying and everything I told them we'd make it. (laughs) I keep everybody rolling.

Are you happy now that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Hollywood: I saw the light when I first saw the video on BET.

How much has your dream become reality?
Hollywood: When I was trying to get a deal to today, I look and say, 'Damn, I've accomplished a lot.' I have friends who are still trying to make it. It starts off as a dream, but now it's really becoming a reality.

Everyone seems to point to your personality as being one they'd like to have. Do any of the other members have a characteristic or quality you'd like to have?
Hell, no! I'm just playing with you. Everyone is real spiritual. We've lived with each other for three years and I've smelled their nasty breath for that long. And I've gotten to know them really well and each has their own strong character. Each one of them keeps me on a different level. P. Rowe takes me to a point, when I'm ready to give up he pushes me. KD keeps me neat. He's a clothes man. (laughs)

What are you listening to in your car?
Hollywood: I listen to Prophet Jones. (laughs) If you were riding in Hollywood's car, I drive a Lexus, and I have a twelve-cd changer and I have old songs. I go back to Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, the first Janet album, Guns 'n' Roses, and Midnight Oil. I guess each comes with my characters. I'm crazy. You know, I'm finally realizing that I'm crazy. I'm finally seeing what people have been saying for years.

Is there any way to prepare to be away from home?
I think it's fun. When I do come home I do enjoy myself, and when I'm away I do the same thing I would at home. It's all on you. It's on each of us to make this thing as fun as possible. It's fun. Who wouldn't want to be doing something they've wanted to do their whole life. What could be better than making people happy? I just bring home with me.

Finish this statement. If you haven't heard Prophet Jones…
Hollywood: … It's sad!

Interview with Antonio "K.D." McNair

K.D. : What's up?

How you feeling?
K.D. :
Pretty good.

How are you?
K.D. :
Great. Life is good.

What are you up to?
K.D. :
We're in DC rehearsing for some shows we've got coming up. We're getting the show tight.

What's the show like?
K.D. :
It's ridiculous. Weeeehooo. We're still doing a little a cappella, some beat boxing, and some other stuff. It's a lot of soul.

When was the album done and how long did you have to wait?
K.D. :
It's been like three years. We've recorded like sixty songs through the years and finally we can come out with our music. It's been a battle. It's been worth the wait.

Did you ever expect to be waiting so long?
K.D. :
I think a lot of new artists think just because they just got signed that their video is going to be right on BET or Mtv in like three months. There are advantages to waiting because we learned about the business and it humbled us.

You must have learned a lot while you were waiting.
K.D. :
It taught us a lot and made us more of a group than we ever thought we were. Just the ins and outs of the music game are crazy.

Interview with Jerome "Goldee" Lasall

How do you choose the songs you wrote and songs others wrote?
Goldee: We wrote "Lifetime" and "Come Inside" and a few others, but as far as the first single, "Woof", we met with the producers and writers. They got a vibe for us and they made the song for us. We just turned it into our style. We put our stamp on it.

How do you choose your parts in the arrangements?
Goldee: We go back and forth. We know each other's voices so well that we just know. We are four different individuals and we all have our own styles. I'm the laid back one of the group and people say I'm the quiet one. P. Rowe, he is right in your face. He just comes out ready to set it off. Hollywood has like a million personalities and keeps everyone laughing. KD is a straight ladies man. When we write songs, whatever we are writing about, and if it fits one of our personalities we know who should run it.

How is the show?
It's real raw. It's just straight rock-n-roll and hip-hop. Our show is a lot of soul. You see a lot of emotions and energy. We vibe off each other. I may see KD jump off a speaker and I might jump into the crowd.

How long did it take to get the chemistry together for the group?
Goldee: We didn't grow up together, but we were going through a lot of the same things. Even though P. Rowe grew up in Florida, Me and Hollywood grew up in D.C. and KD was in Baltimore. We was all going through the same things and listening to the same music. When we first hooked up, we were vibing. The next day we were in the studio and started writing and singing together. And as we talked we realized we all went through the same things. Then we all moved to New York while we were recording the album for like two years. We just got to really know each other. We became tight as a unit. It doesn't feel like we were together for only three years, it feels like we've been together forever.

Interview with Patrick "P. Rowe" Rowe

Patrick P. Rowe
Is there anyone in the group that you'd like to take their quality for yourself?
P. Rowe: Hollywood has this unique ability. First of all, he is the comedian of the group and funny for no reason, to make you laugh. He can mimic anybody from the Isley Brothers to Barry White. I wish I had that quality. I wish I were that versatile. I'm funny in my own way, but he is ridiculous. I love everyone in the group as a whole, but he is just hilarious. I think you'll see that personality come out as with the rest of ours. I mean, we are talking to people about doing a tv show.

That has to be exciting.
P. Rowe: As far as taking it to another level, like acting, it's amazing. We're not just singers. We write, we produce, and do a host of things.

Did it help that it took three years to get this album together to bond?
P. Rowe:
Yeah. We became a group. We weren't really a group at first. Hollywood and Goldee were together already and KD was down the road doing shows and they met. I was at Florida State University hustling, putting my music here and there. Thankfully Mya was touring at the time and I opened up. The president of university entertainment signed me up. I met the guys and it was an instant connection. The three years we were together we gelled. We struggled, we were broke, and then we made a lot of money. Going through those things together was a blessing.

It must make you appreciate it a lot.
P. Rowe:
Exactly. We've been all around the country performing with big artists. It's amazing. And we got to talk with some legends. Like I got to talk with K-Ci. Just during our brief conversation I learned so much about the game. I'm staying humble. Every time my mom calls me she quotes me with scripture. I feel blessed.

Prophet Jones interview with Laura J. Downey

Back in the day rhythm and blues meant more than basic choreography, million-dollar videos and minimal harmonizing. It was soul-stirring vocals and heartfelt lyrics that penetrated the music lover's spirit. Today, University Records' (home to Mya and Dru Hill) hottest new quartet, Prophet Jones, symbolizes a resurgence of the good ol' soul of the past. Their self-titled debut (it dropped Sept. 18) evokes the spirits of predecessors like Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Some have even dubbed them the second-coming of hip-hop soulsters Jodeci because of their sensual vocals and lyrics. PJ's thugs-need-love-too vibe coupled with air-tight harmonies is infectious and sure to win them a legion of fans.

Anthony "Hollywood" Dumas (22), Antonio "K.D." McNair (19), Jerome "Goldee" Lasall (20), and Patrick "P. Rowe" Rowe (21) may be new jacks in the biz, but they are holding their own. "It's a personal thing for Prophet Jones," says K.D. about his group's victory performance. "Our only fear is not giving you what you came for. As long as we can deliver that then we're straight." Their matrimonial ballad "Lifetime" and hip-pop inspired party-starter "Woof" are steadily climbing the charts and their album is surprisingly diverse offering some rock and funk and hip-hop and soul influences. "Whatever mood you're in, [our] CD should satisfy the feeling," adds K.D. kicked it with the soulful prophets about the Jodeci comparisons, their musical influences and being R&B's new kids on the block.

It's hard to believe that the four of you haven't been singing together all your lives because your voices are so in tune. How did you hook up?
Goldee: We started doing talent shows in D.C. and wanted to hook up and start something new. So we started recording together, sent our demo to University Records and the same day they heard it, they called us. We moved to New York and stayed up here for two years and really got to know each other. So it ain't like they just put us together and said this a group.We had to feel each other out first and it just worked out. We are like brothers now.

I understand you changed your name from Majusty to Prophet Jones. What is the significance of your new moniker?
P. Rowe:
Prophet Jones means that we are trying to deliver a message through every song that we sing. That's where you have the first name Prophet and last name Jones. Jones is just a very common name in America like Jackson or Smith which simply means our music is for the people. [We are] four young brothers using hip-hop to open your eyes. We are blessed with the ability to sing and deliver a message through music.

A prophet is one who predicts and speaks by divine inspiration. You speak to people through your music. Whose words speak to you?
P. Rowe:
The Almighty. We all read the Bible and are influenced. And every day we get up and pray together. [We] feel that God has called us. We are spiritual and that's what keeps us grounded. We are blessed.

You've been dubbed the second coming of Jodeci as Dru Hill once was. How do you feel about the Jodeci comparison and is there any pressure to living up to the success of Dru Hill?
It's a major compliment. The reputation of Jodeci in the R&B world is powerful. If any comparison is made to Jodeci people will respect you vocally. Our group benefits in a lot of ways from the comparison. Every new artist is under pressure because the whole thing is about competition. Everybody [has to] come with something different and we can handle the pressure. We are going to do what Prophet Jones does. We have strong vocals, a strong image and we are a whole package.

What flava do each of you bring to Prophet Jones?
K.D. talks about Hollywood:
His name is funny 'cause he picked a perfect name. He can impersonate anyone, from Barry White to Prince. He has a voice that people are gonna say: "Dang man, I could listen to this dude like 20 years from now.

Hollywood talks about K.D.: When we do all our steps on stage, K.D. puts them all together. Without him, them girls would not go as crazy you know what I'm saying? [laugh] We need him.

Goldee talks about P. Rowe: Prophet Jones Rowe is the first one that [is going to] let you know we [are] here. He's the energy of the group.

P. Rowe talks about Goldee: Goldee is the godfather -- the backbone. [During] one performance Hollywood can be on stage screaming and K.D. can be a little extra on stage, but no matter what the situation, Goldee is always holding down a beat vocally. Even though he's quiet, when he does speak, everyone listens.

Who writes the music in your group and how do you choose what lyrics you will use without hurting anyone's feelings?
P. Rowe:
Basically, we listen to a track in the studio or at the crib. It gives us a certain vibe or a feeling and we write from there. All of us collectively write on our songs. So we might hum, somebody might hit [a note] or a melody and we have a little recorder going and just basically listen and hum. Music is a feeling. about hurting each other's feelings cause all of us are gonna make money in the end. We just vibe and come up with something… try to at least anyway.

As the new crooners on the block how much freedom did you have on your album?
Well at one time, Prophet Jones only had a little creative control, but as we started to prove ourselves to Haqq Islam [CEO of University Records], he started to see more in us. Then in the middle of recording, we developed creative control because we recorded over 35 songs and ended up producing 80 percent of the album.

If you could collaborate with a great soul legend, who would it be and why?
I would have to say Donnie Hathaway. His life ended so quick, but his voice was so smooth and the way played the piano.

K.D.: Marvin Gaye because he was a musical genius. When I was growing up, that's all my mother played.

Goldee: I'd probably have to say Prince because he can write, does harmonies and [his vocal range] -- he can do [about] fifty different notes.

P. Rowe: I'd probably pick Teddy Pendergrass because of that old school flava.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I hope I will be into movies and acting.

K.D.: I would like for each member of Prophet Jones to still call each other and still hang out. Being even more of a family.

Goldee: I want to be writing, producing and maybe even have my own label.

P. Rowe: I hope for life, health and strength because if you don't have that, you can have success but you have to be able to enjoy it.