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New Boyz

New Boyz crashed the Top 40 near the end of the 2000s with "You're a Jerk," a lean, booming, and casually dismissive track that helped popularize jerkin' -- a style of street dance -- far beyond the rap duo's Southern California region. No mere novelty act, New Boyz repeated the success with three additional singles from Skinny Jeanz and a Mic (2009) and Too Cool to Care (2011), their first two albums. After a decade apart, they returned in 2022 with a sequel to their breakthrough hit. Dominic Thomas and Earl Benjamin, respectively known as Legacy and Ben J, became friends at Hesperia High School in California's Inland Empire. Using equipment bought with combined birthday money, they started recording in 2008 under the name Swagger Boyz, and uploaded music to their MySpace page. They changed their name to New Boyz and with the Legacy-produced "You're a Jerk," enjoyed viral success that attracted a deal with the Warner-distributed Asylum label. Issued commercially, "You're a Jerk" cracked the Top 40, peaked at number 24, and went platinum. For the follow-up single, Legacy and Ben J teamed with Ray J for "Tie Me Down," a more R&B-oriented track that did slightly better by reaching number 22. The two singles, both of which went platinum, were contained on Skinny Jeanz and a Mic, the rappers' gold-certified first album. In 2011, Too Cool to Care, the second and more collaborative full-length, entered Billboard's R&B/hip-hop chart at number nine, three slots higher than the debut. It yielded its own pair of Top 40 platinum singles: "Backseat," featuring the Cataracs and Dev, and "Better with the Lights Off," assisted by Chris Brown. New Boyz charted again in 2012 with "FM$," taken from the commercial mixtape Foolie Tape, and worked on a third album, but in 2013 announced their breakup to pursue solo careers. Legacy and Ben J got back together the next decade and released "You're a Jerk 2" independently in 2022.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo


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