Behind the classic: “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd

Published March 20 2015

Color Me Badd

Color Me Badd – C.M.B. album

Ok, personally, I’m not quite sure if I would call this song a classic, but it goes without saying that this song is one many of us do remember. “I Wanna Sex You Up” was the breakthrough record for R&B group Color Me Badd in the 90s. The group was asked to sing on a track for the movie soundtrack “New Jack City”, but funny enough, it wasn’t “I Wanna Sex You Up”. Originally the group was asked to provide vocals to the track “I’m Dreaming”, also on the soundtrack, but now sung by Christopher Williams.

While hearing a few tracks producer Dr. Freeze had prepared for the album, one of their record company reps, told him to play the track and the rest is, as they say, history. The group went on to sell 6 million copies of their  debut album “C.M.B.” due to the success of this song.

The song is based on a sample taken from Betty Wright’s live performance of her song “Tonight Is The Night”. A very popular sample to use at the time, ‘cos it was also used in Candyman’s “Knockin’ Boots”. Color Me Badd’s song was also the first release for the record company Giant Records.

Even though now, compared to what’s out there, you would consider this song to be pretty clean already, there was also a clean version available called “I Wanna Love You Up”. Apparently there were some radio stations that preferred that, but most radio stations had no problems playing the original. It peaked at #2 in the Billboard Hot 100, but went to #1 in the Billboard R&B charts. The next two singles by Color Me Badd went to #1 in the Hot 100 too.

If you’re wondering whatever happened to Color Me Badd; Sam Watters went on to become a successful producer and VP A&R for Island Records. Original members Kevin Thornton and Mark Calderon are still performing as Color Me Badd with new member Martin Kember who replaced Bryan Abrams. Bryan is still pursuing a solo career.

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