Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

From Passing the Hat to the Big Time. Ex-Rappers Now Range from Ballads to `Hiphop'. THE FORCE M.D.S

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

From Passing the Hat to the Big Time. Ex-Rappers Now Range from Ballads to `Hiphop'. THE FORCE M.D.S

Article excerpt

AT the Apollo Theater in Harlem, four young men are high- stepping and singing "Love is a house/ You've got the key...," and the audience is on its feet, waving house and car keys in the air, swaying, singing, clapping, and cheering this lively foursome known as the Force M.D.s.

Just a few years ago, this quartet was singing on the Staten Island Ferry and passing the hat. The group got its first big break when it signed with Tommy Boy Records, a New York-based independent label. The group's third LP, "Touch and Go," scored high on the Billboard-magazine charts. Then, after a successful European tour, where the group opened for Madonna, the Force M.D.s toured the United States on their own.

Now, after several months outside the spotlight, the Force M.D.s are about to return with a new stage show and a new album, due later this spring. Word has it that they'll be adding a tougher "street" edge to the smooth harmonies that have become their trademark.

The Force M.D.s - Mercury and Trisco, and brothers T.C.D. and Stevie D. - grew up on Staten Island and have been singing together since they were children. They say that "Force" stands for their struggles coming up as young singers, and "M.D.s" stands for "musical diversity." In an interview at Tommy Boy, T.C.D., whose smooth falsetto has been compared to Smokey Robinson's, explained how the group got started.

"My mother used to go to church a lot and come back home singing gospel hymns and stuff like that, and we used to join in with her. We started listening to the Jackson Five - that was the first group that caught our eye. I said, `Steve, look at the way they're dancin'!' He said, 'Oh, wow, I'm checkin' it out."'

The Force M.D.s do some fancy foot-work in their stage show, and Stevie D. does a great imitation of Michael Jackson.

When the group started, it went by the name Force MC's, and it was mainly a rap group. …

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