Darkchild, Yeah: 10 Songs You Didn’t Know Rodney Jerkins Wrote
How many times have you heard the name “Darkchild” sung in time on one of your favorite songs? Quite a bit right? And though the man behind the moniker, Rodney Jerkins is most closely associated with R&B songstress Brandy, his career has been pretty expansive. Rodney has been in the game for years, with quite a few mega watt hits under his belt. And since he’s most known for his work with Brandy we’ll be detailing the other songs.
Note Rodney Jerkins and LaShawn Daniels have been writing and producing partners for some time and the songs that they worked on together were likely included in the story we wrote about LaShawn a few weeks back. Be sure to check it out when you’re finished with this one.
Déjá Vu – Beyoncé
With the exception of maybe her latest project, B Day is my favorite Beyoncé album. And Rodney Jerkins was a part of that albums lead single “Déjá Vu” back in 2006. Jerkins was a huge part of this song. It was he who came up with the concept of doing a retro type track with real horns and real bass. The song’s title is a nod to throwing back to that classic 70’s style. Jerkins wrote the lyrics with Makeba Riddick and presented it to Beyoncé, who of course approved. The story goes that Jay Z jumped on the track when Beyoncé caught him trying to sing along to one of the earlier recordings of it.
She told MTV, “When I recorded ‘Deja Vu’ … I knew that even before I started working on my album, I wanted to add live instruments to all of my songs,” she explained. “It’s such a balance [of music on the song], it has live congas, live horns, live bass. It’s still young, still new and fresh, but it has the old soul groove. The energy is incredible. It’s the summer anthem, I pray. I feel it. It’s already broken records. Rodney Jerkins is incredible, Jay of course is on it, he blessed the song, I’m happy with it.”
The song did indeed become a hit it peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
I Can Love You – Mary J Blige ft Lil Kim
Aye! You’ve got to love this song, right? Hot fire, even until today. “I Can Love” featuring Lil Kim was the second single from Mary’s Share My World, Mary’s third album. The song was written by Blige, Mary’s sister LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, Rodney Jerkins, Lil Kim, C. Brody, N. Myrick and C.Wallace. The song produced entirely by Rodney Jerkins sampled Lil Kim’s “Queen B*tch” and was one of Jerkins’ earliest hits. It peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop songs.
Jerkins also wrote and produced the title track from the Share My World album.
Years later, Jerkins and Blige would team up for her seventh studio album The Breakthrough where he wrote and produced the song “Enough Cryin.” Surprisingly enough, Jay Z also had a hand in writing this hit for Mary.
Girl – Destiny’s Child
It’s funny that when new of Kelly Rowland’s abusive relationship got out, fans were quick to point out that “Girl” must have been written about that time in her life. And while the ladies of D.C. wrote the 2005 song, so did a few other people including Rodney Jerkins, Bey’s cousin, Angela Beyice, Sean Garrett, and Patrick Douthit. The song was produced though by Beyoncé, Kelly and 9 the Wonder (Douthit). The third single from the Destiny Fulfilled album, it feared a sample from The Dramatics “Ocean of Thoughts” and peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Which was actually kind of low for D.C.) It was their lowest charting single since “Bug a Boo.”
Jerkins also wrote and produced “Cater 2 U” from that same album.
The Things You Do- Gina Thompson
Remember this jam? It was Gina Thompson’s song but can we just be honest and say that Missy Elliot stole the show with her “Hee-Hee-How” ad-lib? The 1996 song was written and produced by Jerkins and then Puffy signed on to produce the remix, which is the version that was released on radio. Along with Missy, Diddy, Biggie and Jerkins appear in the video. The song did pretty well and peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was number 12 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts.
You Don’t Know- Kierra Sheard
What you may not know is that Rodney Jerkins is a PK (preacher’s kid). His first recorded song was a gospel rap and he hasn’t forgotten his roots over the years. In 2004, he worked with Kierra Sheard, daughter of gospel great Karen Clark Sheard. It was the lead single for her debut project I Owe You. The song was written and produced entirely by Jerkins, specifically for Sheard. According to Wikipedia, the song came about when Kierra’s mother, Karen suffered a major health scare when a blood vessel burst during a hernia surgery. Doctors gave her a 2 percent chance of survival. Once the clot was removed Clark fell into a coma that last for weeks but made a miraculous recovery. That experience was the inspiration behind the song. It did well for a gospel song and charted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop charts at number 84. Later that year it won the Dove Award for Urban Recorded song of the year.
Can’t Get Enough- Tamia
This 2006 single from Tamia’s fourth studio album Between Friends was written by Rodney Jerkins along with his brother Fred Jerkins III. It was the lead single from that album and went on to become number 26 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop charts.
All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do) – Joe
Though Joe had an album before All That I Am, this one was considered his break out. And at least some of that success can be attributed to Rodney Jerkins. Two singles from the 1997 were written and produced by Jerkins. He wrote “All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do) in addition to “Don’t Wanna Be A Player.” “All the Things” reached number 2 on the US R&B charts and number 11 on the pop charts. It was also featured on the soundtrack for Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. And “Don’t Wanna Be A Player” was on the Booty Call soundtrack. Meanwhile get into Joe with hair in the video above.
When I Grow Up- The Pussycat Dolls
There aren’t many Pussycat Doll songs I know but “When I Grow Up” just so happens to be one of them.”When I Grow Up” was the lead single from their second album Domination. It was supposed to be used on Nicole Scherzinger’s first solo project. But once that was canceled, she realized it would work with the group as well. It was written by Jerkins, Theron Thomas, Timothy Thomas. Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith received co-writing credits because a sample of their song “He’s Always There” was used. The song was a hit and peaked at number nine of the Billboard Hot 100, making it the group’s highest performing single. The song also sold over two million digital copies, making the Pussycat Dolls the first female group in digital history to have three singles pass the two million mark in digital sales.
Shoulda Let You Go- Keyshia Cole
This 2007 Keyshia Cole song was featured on her second album Just likeYou. It was written by Cole along with Jerkins. And it featured Amina. It was produced entirely by Jerkins. The song enjoyed success on the charts. It peaked at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. And number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop songs.
Revolution – Kirk Franklin
Where the Nu Nation fans at? We all remember how people in the church didn’t quite know how to receive Kirk Franklin because his music sounded so mainstream. And that was very intentional. Which is why Franklin solicited the help of Rodney Jerkins to make the track hot with production and a nice little flow. All of the years I’ve ben listening to this song, I never realized this was Jerkins rapping. But today when I watched the video for the first time, there he was, all up in the video. And I must add this video is just…fascinating. I could not take my eyes off it. Jerkins also helped co produce the song with Franklin.