What Happened To The 90s Male R&B Group Hi-Five? From Topping The Charts To Tragedy
The ’90s gave us many famous boy bands. Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Dru Hill, and more. While everyone does not have the same enduring legacy as those acts, several others did score some timeless hits. Hi-Five is one of those acts, and their tragic story is the stuff of movies. Let’s take a look at their history and where they are now.
Hi-Five was an R&B group comprised of Tony Thompson, Roderick “Pooh” Clark, Marcus Sanders, Russell Neal, and Toriano Easley. The pair came together in Waco, TX, and scored a deal with Jive Records in 1989. Through this deal, they released their debut album Hi-Five in 1990, which was produced by Teddy Riley.
The project contained some of the group’s signature songs, including “I Just Can’t Handle It” (R&B No. 10), “I Can’t Wait Another Minute” (Pop No. 8, R&B No.1), and their biggest hit, “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game).” “Kissing Game” went to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts that year solidifying them as a group to watch. The song charted high in Australia and Europe as well.
After their debut was certified gold, the boys regrouped for a second project called Keep It Goin’ On. This album featured production from R. Kelly and Vincent Herbert and included the hit single “She’s Playing Hard to Get.” It peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. While he appears on the cover art for the song, group member Russell Neal did not appear in the video since he left before they filmed.
Shortly after the album was released, the group got into a car accident that left Roderick “Pooh” Clark disabled from the chest down. They would release their third studio album, Faithful, in 1993 with new members Shannon Gill and Terrence Murphy. Tragic has befallen the group ever since, with Jive dropping them shortly afterward. In 2007, Tony Thompson passed away after his body was discovered by security officers near an air-conditioning unit outside of his home in Texas. In 2014, former Hi-Five member Russell Neal was charged with the taking the life of his wife.
According to CBS News, Neal walked into the police station and reported he took his wife’s life. Eventually, the former band mate began displaying signs of being incompetent and was eventually sent to Rusk State Hospital, where he still is today. Russell’s wife, Catherine Martinez was a fitness instructor and aspiring boxer. To make matters more strange, Neal’s brother, Ronald Lamont was also locked up for taking his wife, Stovyne Magee’s life prior to him.
Last year the group lost another member. Roderick ‘Pooh’ Clark passed away at the age of 49. While his cause of passing was never revealed, he received an outpouring of love from people who recalled fond memories. His group paid homage to him on their official social media, saying, “OUR BROTHER OG RODERICK POOH CLARK 💐💐💐💐💐💔💔💔💔💔🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾😭😭😭😭😭 #officialhifive RIH.”
These days the group appears to still be touring. They joined 112, Soul 4 Real, Dru Hill, and Silk for a series of shows and even paid tribute to “Pooh” on the recent anniversary of his passing. The group reminded fans of their heyday recently by recirculating a Sprite Commercial they did in the ’90s.
“LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE ALL THE TRUE HI FIVE FANS OUT THERE, BRINGING YALL THE MUSIC YALL MADE #1 And top 10 SO YALL CAN REMEMBER THAT TIME WHEN U HEARD!” they said in the caption.