Boyz II Men: Revenge of the Nerds
Too good to be true?
”People call us nerds and stuff,” admits Nathan Morris, 23. ”(But) the good thing about that is, they’re knocking us for what we are, not for a facade.”
Of course, exile in dorkdom is easier when it pays, and the clean-cut quartet-Morris; Michael McCary, 22; Shawn Stockman, 22; and Wanya Morris, 21 (no relation)—have followed a gold-brick road, from their impromptu audition for Bell Biv DeVoe’s Michael Bivins, which led to a Motown contract, to their Grammy-winning 1991 debut, Cooleyhighharmony, which sold more than 7 million copies.
Although that fairy-tale success spawned a slew of R-rated doo-hop pretenders-to-the-throne (Shai, Silk, etc.), the Boyz (who still live with their parents in Philadelphia) chose not to raunch up their sophomore disc, II, with an injection of new-jack machismo. As a result, the album debuted in the top 20 of Billboard’s pop chart, and their trademark mid-tempo ballad ”I’ll Make Love II You” has become 1994’s fastest-selling single. ”The way we would be with a woman is exactly the way we express it on the album,” says Nate. ”We don’t go out and say, ‘Okay, let me smack your booty and flip you,’ and all that crap.” Adds Wanya, ”I couldn’t see disrespecting a woman, then seeing someone disrespecting my mom.”
These guys are so nice, in fact, they can’t even sustain a moment of animosity. When asked if they ever get on each other’s nerves, Wanya offers, ”The only thing about Shawn that annoys me is that when he’s late, he just comes in with no reaction.” To which a contrite Shawn, falling to his knees and kissing his bandmate’s feet, responds, ”I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’ll try my best not to let it happen again.”