“Unsung,” TV One’s award-winning docu-series, continues with an episode tracing the triumph and turmoil of ’80s R&B group, Troop, airing at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Comprised of childhood friends Rodney Benford, John Herreld, Allen McNeil, Steven Russell and Reggie Warren, Troop, the high-steppin’, high-energy, Jheri-curled quintet from Pasadena, Calif., began as a teen group that won $1,000 on “Puttin’ on the Hits,” a nationally televised contest, by dancing and lip-synching to New Edition’s “Cool It Now.” According to Allmusic.com, the group was signed to Atlantic Records, and their 1988 debut single, the Levert-produced “Mamacita,” taken from their self-titled album, reached number two on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart.
Their second album, 1989’s “Attitude,” featured two number one Hot Soul singles — including the Chuckii Booker collaboration “Spread My Wings” as well as their dead-on cover of the Jackson Five’s “All I Do is Think of You” — and earned an RIAA gold certification. They returned to the top of the Hot Soul chart with “Sweet November” from their 1992 release titled “Deepa.”
However, after three albums and three number one hits, Troop, falling victim to youthful naiveté and bad business deals, “disappeared as abruptly as they arrived,” falling apart over internal conflicts that “haunt them to this day.” The members parted ways to work on individual projects and Steven Russell, a gifted songwriter and producer, became a member of the successful production team The Underdogs, working on projects for artists including Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Brian McKnight, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Ruben Studdard, Tank and Tyrese. TV One states that in this revealing episode of “Unsung,” Troop’s members along with friends, family and musical associates that include Bobby Brown and Chuckii Booker, help trace the story of a group whose success “laid the seeds of their unfortunate self-destruction.”
Contact staff writer Kimberly C. Roberts at (215) 893-5753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.