*Happy 61st birthday to Mark DeBarge, the fifth eldest of the 10 DeBarge siblings and member of the family’s singing group, DeBarge.
With El getting all the attention as the lead singer, James famous as Janet Jackson’s one-time husband, Bunny standing out as the band’s lone sister and Bobby having found pre-DeBarge fame along with their brother Tommy in the group Switch, Mark often got lost in the shuffle.
But his contribution as lead writer on a track from DeBarge’s third album – a song that was never even released as a single – kept his specter hovering in music well into the 90s and 2000s, even if very few were aware. Can you guess the track?
Below are hints, in chronological order of appearance:
One More Chance Remix – The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
Don’t Go – Mary J. Blige (1994)
MVP – Big L (1995)
Foolish – Ashanti (2002)
I’ll Be Loving You Long Time – Mariah Carey (2008)
In 1982, Mark DeBarge got with his siblings El and Bunny to pen lyrics about a young guy who asks his girlfriend to stay despite trouble in the relationship. The writing session was for their upcoming third studio release, “In a Special Way.”
With lyrics completed, the siblings went into the studio in Los Angeles (either Kendun Records in Burbank or Westlake Audio in West Hollywood) and laid down vocals, with El on lead as well as in the production booth. The song, titled “Stay With Me,” became track No. 2 on the album, which had its official release on September 24, 1983.
Nine years after “Stay With Me” was birthed, DJ Kid Capri would be the first to take it out of the house for a spin. He sampled it for “Billy,” a track off of his February 19, 1991 album “The Tape.”
While underground heads rocked “The Tape” in ’91 the album was unable to gain traction with a mainstream audience. It would take another three years for “Stay With Me” to be resurrected — ironically for an album titled “Ready to Die.”
Rashad Smith of Trackmasters (under the direction of producer Sean “Puffy” Combs) chose to sample “Stay With Me” for the remix of Biggie’s “One More Chance,” with El’s part sung by Mary J. Blige and Faith Evans adding her own written hook. Not only was this remix a hit, it became an instant hip hop classic and made “Stay With Me” one of the hottest go-to samples in the urban genre.
Below, Mary J. recalls how she had always loved “Stay With Me” and jumped at the chance to sing the hook. Also, Smith explains how Diddy put the pressure on him to come up with a sample for the remix, and how Faze-O’s “Riding High” was thisclose to being used instead.