In 2001, the Epic recording duo known as Ruff Endz burst out of the mean streets of Baltimore, Maryland and onto the national music scene. With the #1 R&B smash "No More", Davinch and Chi demonstrated beyond doubt that they possessed timeless talent.
Ruff Endz' acclaimed debut album, Love Crimes, further confirmed this judgment. Love Crimes was a quintessential collection of modern soul songs, including such future classics as "Missing You," "I Apologize," "Are You Messing Around," and "Please Don't Forget About Me" (the latter reprised from its first appearance on the Blue Streak soundtrack). It was also the album that put Ruff Endz on the road, appearing as both club headliners and support to superstars like Mary J. Blige.
Now Davinch and Chi are consolidating their impressive gains and expanding their musical horizons on a new 14-song collection entitled Someone To Love You. The title single, produced by Corey Rooney and Troy Oliver, is a stirring declaration of a man's devotion to a determined young woman struggling through hard times, one who simply needs someone to love her. "Love of All Time (Will You Be Mine," "You Mean The World To Me," and "You" all strike similar chords of sincerity and male vulnerability.
These passionate ballads are complemented by such sharply contrasting songs as "Shake It," an up-tempo anthem of raw sexuality; and "Cash, Money, Cars, Clothes," a bouncing, bare-bones club track laced by the lyrical stylings of rapper Memphis Bleek. Another high point of Someone To Love You is a moving song of loss and hope, "Look to the Hills," written by Davinch after the death of his father in 2001 and recorded with additional lyrics by Chi.
Ruff Endz spent nearly 18 months recording their first album-in Davinch's words, "finding the right sound, finding our place in music." But in the creation of Someone To Love You, the duo felt more certain of their footing and more capable of flexing creative control over the project.
In addition to "Look to the Hills," Davinch and Chi had a direct hand in either writing or producing five cuts: "Would U Leave Me" and "Kamasutra"; "Threesome" and "Love Of All Time (Will You Be Mine)" with Nate and Michael Clemons; and "Cash, Money, Cars, Clothes" with Memphis Bleek. Ruff Endz also worked with such gifted production teams as Nite & Day ("Bigger") and Troy Taylor and Charles Farrar a/k/a The Characters ("You").
The two singers grew up together on the same block of Baltimore's tough West Side, also home to Dru Hill. "We've known each other since we were little, though we didn't hang out then," Chi recalls. "When we got to high school, we sang with different groups. Eventually we got together and realized that just the two of us, singing together, was the best move to make."
Now, in addition to promoting and performing behind their own album, Ruff Endz are expanding into songwriting and production for other artists. Both men see these pursuits as essential to their longevity in a fickle and fast-changing music industry. As Davinch wisely points out: "We've seen too many artists have it all one day and lose it all the next."
"Since we're in this for the long run," adds Chi, "we're making sure that our business and creative aspects are properly taken care of. I'd hate to look back years from now and know we threw it all away because we didn't handle our business."
"Growing up in our part of Baltimore," Davinch recalls, "we heard not just contemporary R&B and Hip-Hop, but also the great blues and jazz artists that came before us-people like B.B. King and Miles Davis. When those artists made music, they really made you feel something. They transformed the pain and hardship of those times in their art."
"Well, Chi and I, we've also seen some hard times growing up on the West Side. Now we're trying to use those experiences to put that kind of deep feeling into our music. The sound of our souls-that's what people are going to hear on Someone To Love You."