Cozmo D (Ben Cenac)
Lady E (Yvette Cook)
Chilly B (Bob Crafton) (d. 2/23/10)
Tracey G (Tracey Greene)
The group actually went through 3 incarnations.
Formed in 1979, this group got started from a group of deejays called Jam-On Productions.
In the early 80’s the group began to move into the world of electronic sound and began recording a demo tape. With time to spare on the tape, the group recorded one of hip hop’s classics- “Jam-On’s Revenge” also known as “The Wikki-Wikki Song.” This track featured vocals that were sped up to make the voices sound like The Chipmunks.
This song impressed record producer Joe Webb who released the song on Mayhew Records in 1983 where it eventually made the R&B charts.
Their next single, “Jam on It,” was even more popular including landing them on the pop charts.
“I Wanna be a B-Boy” in 1985 was also a respectable hit.
Their last notable single was “Computer Age (Push the Button)”, but unfortunately their full album was not as successful.
This first lineup was the one everybody knows. They recorded the first two albums, “Jam On Revenge” and “Space Is The Place” on Sunnyview Records.
Every song that was a major hit for the group was done by this lineup. Cozmo D and Chilly B did all the tracks and lead vocals (except “I Wanna Be A B-Boy”, which featured the group’s breakdancers/rappers Kid Fresh and Lil’-O-Me; and “Where’s The Beat”, which featured drummer Tracey G)
The second incarnation of the group was formed when most of the original group members quit because of problems with their management, record company and producers, all of which were run by the same two people; Joe Webb and Frank Fair. The label still owned the name Newcleus and the “Space Is The Place” album had just dropped, so they decided to replace the members and keep the group alive. The only original members to stay were Kid Fresh (who was one of the producers son) and Lil’-O-Me. Added to the group were rapper Dynamike and turntabilist Johnny Juice, who were two-thirds of a group called Total Control. Total Control was also signed to Sunnyview Records and had recorded the song “Dynamic (Total Control)” with the Dynamic Breakers. Also added was drummer/bassist/vocalist Reggie Reg, (who was a cousin of original drummer Tracey G) and vocalist Cool Jason from yet another Sunnyview group, Tuga, who dropped “Drunk Driving”.
This line up dropped the songs “Huxtable House Party”, “She’s Bad”, and “We’re So Hyped” on Super Power/Hot Records. They also released a song called “Champagne” under the name Coming Attractions for the major label, Cotillion.
The third lineup came about for the same reasons as the second. Problems with management caused Dynamike, Johnny Juice and Reggie Reg to quit, leaving only Kid Fresh (who started going by the name P-Webb) and Cool Jason (O-Me had inexplicably just disappeared sometime earlier). Added to the group was rapper Mike G, who grew up in Brooklyn with Cozmo D. and is actually the person who wrote the Superman verse from “Jam On It”. He had originally been signed with the same management team as part of a group called O.G.C. (NOT the Boot Camp Clik cats) who dropped the song “We’re Buggin'” on Webb Records. There was also a 4th new member that was only around for a couple of songs, but I don’t remember his name.
This unit dropped the songs “I Am On A Roll (Baby, I Love You)”, “Trigger”, “She’s So Fine”, “50 Ways To Get Funky”, “I Ain’t The One”, “Bogul Dance”, and “Freaks In The House”.
Additional info submitted by Ed Roberts and EyeGetzRaw
Check out a great documentary on Newcleus from Bundy Films
Check out a (rough) Clip from Jam On It