K-Ci & JoJo Discuss 'Freaky' Collaboration '2 Minute Warning' For Big Sean & Jhene Aiko's 'Twenty88' Project

K-Ci & JoJo
Loogan Alexander

K-Ci & JoJo photographed in 2016.

"We are Jodeci, we're the ones who came out with 'Freek'N You' and 'Feenin'' so that [song was] right up our alley.'

Big Sean and Jhene Aiko’s conceptual project Twenty88 not only serves up bedroom-ready smashes as well as relationship deep cuts, the eight-track set includes a special appearance from veteran R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo.

Known for a freaky catalog from their Jodeci days, the real-life brothers Cedric and Joel Hailey got their falsetto on for the X-rated slow jam "2 Minute Warning," produced by Detail (the beatsmith also responsible for Beyonce and Jay Z's intoxicating love song, 2013’s "Drunk In Love").

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Twenty-four hours before Twenty88’s official release, K-Ci and JoJo hopped on the line with Billboard to discuss how they channeled Jodeci for the body roll-ready track.

Billboard: How did the collaboration with Big Sean and Jhene Aiko come together?

K-Ci: I live in North Carolina and JoJo lives in L.A. so we had some business [in L.A.] to take care of for Jodeci and K-Ci & JoJo but I was on my way out of town. At the last moment, right before I was about to head to the airport, our manager Damon Jones calls me like, 'Yo, K, Big Sean wants y'all to do a song. Can you stay an extra day?' And I was like, 'Of course, man. It's Big Sean. No problem.' It's just weird how it just happened like that and it worked out perfectly.

JoJo: The way it happened a couple of months ago was just incredible. K almost missed his flight because of a snowstorm. When Damon called and he was like, "How do you feel about doing a song with Big Sean?" I was like, "Big Sean? Okay, who's that?" So I asked my daughters and they were like, "We love him!" Big Sean’s A&R guy Tou said [about the track], "This sounds like K-Ci and JoJo on the background [vocals]." And then Big Sean was like, "This sounds like a track for them." His A&R guy was like, "How will I find them? It's three o'clock in the morning." He went through a whole lotta stuff to find us but when he found me, I said "Well, K's going to the airport and I don't know if we could do it." Then the flight got canceled and we said, "We definitely want to do it." We was in the studio that night and recorded [the song] in one night. Thank God for Mother Nature. It was literally a "two-minute warning." [Laughs]

What was the vibe like in the studio?

K-Ci: The vibe was perfect. This isn't the first collaboration me and JoJo did with rappers. We did [songs] with Tupac, Guru, E-40, Too Short, Biggie, Snoop. There's one thing I can say about K-Ci and JoJo -- people accept us because we sing love songs but we let other people see the other side of us. We love the street credibility and our rap fans too. It's a good feeling that people know we have some versatility to our talent. 

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How did the concept for "2 Minute Warning" come about?

JoJo: Once we got in the studio [with Sean], I was like, 'What is this song really talking about?' He started saying some of the raps and I was like, 'Okay, this is one of them freaky songs right here!' Everything happened so fast. We didn't know what we were stepping into. After he broke it down that what [he and Jhene] were talking about was a sexual type [of song], I was like, 'Hey I’m down!'

K-Ci: You gotta look at K-Ci and JoJo's history. We are Jodeci, we're the ones who came out with "Freek'N You" and "Feenin'" so that [song was] right up our alley.

Did it feel like a throwback joint when you first heard the song?

K-Ci: Very much. It took me way back. I knew about Big Sean. [Sings "I don’t give a blank about you"] So that's right up our alley 'cause our image -- we do sing love songs and we love singin' 'em, but we love to let people know there is an edge to our music.

JoJo: Everybody loves to have sex so what's the problem? [Laughs]

K-Ci: Yup! That's how we got here. [Laughs] Every freakin' day and every freakin' night.?

Did you both know that the track would be for a conceptual project between Big Sean and Jhene Aiko?

JoJo: I'm like a hermit. Once I'm home, I'm home and when I ride in the car, I don't really listen to the radio as much. I didn't even know who [Jhene] was. I heard her name but not her material. My daughters put me up on game with her. I was looking forward to meeting her but she didn't come [to the studio] that night, but from what I hear she's incredible. Our manager played us a little bit of the mix and she has a wonderful voice.

K-Ci: Good combination. When they got the song, it was just the track -- nobody was on there. They gave 'em a reference. That was a God-sent track.

JoJo: [The producer] Detail was great.

K-Ci: The best part about working with him was he took me and JoJo back to the old days. He had us singing like the first time Jodeci ever came out. He actually got us singing the way we used to sing. Who does that? [Detail] nailed that. I was like, "Oh wow, I still got it!"


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