The Force M.D.’s originally called themselves the L.D.s, then the Force MCs, but ultimately preferred MD, which is short for Musical Diversity. Though the group was not quite always as recognizable as other New York R&B acts when it first started, the Force M.D.’s were among the first R&B vocal groups to intermix doo-wop-affected consonances with hip-hop beats.
When the group began performing as the L.D.s on Times Square street corners and the Staten Island ferry, the group was composed of brothers Stevie D., Antoine “T.C.D.” Lundy (February 3, 1964 – January 21, 1998), Rodney “Khalil” Lundy, their uncle Jessie Lee Daniels, and later friends Trisco Pearson and Charles “Mercury” Nelson (December 19, 1964 – March 9, 1995). After the L.D.s connected with DJ Dr. Rock (Roger Daniels) they also performed as Dr. Rock & the Force MCs. In collaboration with Dr. Rock, the group continued to perfect their unique sound- a fusion of doo-wop harmonies and hip-hop that involved singing, rapping and group member’s “human beatbox” melodies at underground hip hop shows. The Force M.D.’s gained even more credibility and respect from local fans after competing in an emcee lyrical battle against the well known Cold Crush Brothers from the Bronx.
By the time the Force M.D.s got a record deal, signing with Tommy Boy Records in 1984, the group had already developed into a pure quiet storm/contemporary R&B group, with its top-ten R&B hit “Tears” from the Love Letters album. With the exception of their first album, the group was the first act on Tommy Boy to have major-label distribution through its then-parent Warner Bros. Records. The group produced a collection of R&B hits throughout the 1980s, and received overwhelming commercial success from the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-penned love song “Tender Love” from their second album, Chillin’ (1985). “Tender Love” was featured in the 1985 feature film and soundtrack Krush Groove. The single proved to be a huge success, peaking at #10 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming an instant R&B classic after it stayed on the chart for 19 weeks. “Tender Love” was also one of the tracks that helped Jam & Lewis garner a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year. The song was sampled in the 1996 Bone Thugs N Harmony hit “Dayz Of Our Lives” and a number of current musicians that include Alicia Keys, the Backstreet Boys, Kelly Rowland, Marques Houston and Marsha Ambrosius have also included “Tender Love” in their stage shows in some way.
The Force M.D.’s finally scored its first R&B #1 hit in 1987, “Love is a House,” from the group’s third album, Touch & Go. However, the group’s popularity began to wane the following year. A fourth album, Step to Me, was released in 1990, which featured production was by Full Force, Marley Marl, Monte Moir (of the Time), and others. Mercury and Trisco then left, and were replaced by original member Rodney “Khalil” Lundy and new member Shawn Waters. The group then released the album Moments in Time in 1994.
Tragedy struck the group three times with the passing of three of its members: Charles “Mercury” Nelson suffered a fatal heart attack in 1995; Antoine “T.C.D.” Lundy died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1998; and DJ Dr. Rock died under unknown circumstances. The Remaining MDs returned with a comeback album titled The Reunion in 2000. In an interview in 2009 President Obama highlighted the Force M.D.s among other artists included in his Air Force One iPod playlist. On April 8, 2010, the Force M.D.’s made its first national television appearance in over a decade on B.E.T.’s Monique Show.
A documentary film on the group titled The Force
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