Other veteran R&B acts may be struggling for attention, but not the Isley Brothers. The act's current single, "What Would You Do?," is nestled at No. 18 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. With an accompanying video that reprises Ronnie Isley's Mr. Biggs persona, it is the lead cut from the Isleys' 28th studio album, "Body Kiss." The DreamWorks set arrives at retail this week and follows the pair's history-making 2001 album, "Eternal." With sales at 1.2 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the disc peaked at No. 3 on The Billboard 200. That was the Isleys' highest-charting project since their 1975 No. 1 album "The Heat Is On."
How does a 50-year-old act maintain commercial appeal? "Most of the other acts couldn't get with rap and new technology like drum machines," Ronnie Isley says. "That's never been a problem for us. We accept and adapt to change. That's the strength of the Isleys."
That modus operandi shaped "Eternal," which featured collaborations with such currently successful talents as Raphael Saadiq, Jill Scott, and R. Kelly. That same contemporary yet classically soulful thrust is behind "Body Kiss." Kelly is back, but with a twist. He produced, wrote, and arranged 11 of the 12 tracks. Other guest acts include Snoop Dogg, Lil' Kim on the title track, and JS, a new female duo on DreamWorks that is managed by Ronnie.