The guys of H-Town, Dino, Shazam and GI, made up my one and only boy band. I met them in 1993, after the release of their smash single “Knock the Boots.” Of course I’d heard their single and their first album, “Fever for da Flavor.” Both the album and the single were great. They were just about to go into the studio to record their second album, “Beggin after Dark,” when I got a call from the A&R guy of their record company. He had gotten my name and telephone number from their touring sound engineer. Once we had gotten past the niceties, we got down to business. The label wanted to develop their boys, and they were smart to do so. They had the number one hit in the nation, four weeks running. The girls were crazy for their testosterone-filled performances—the boys and their voices oozed teenage sex appeal. The guys and I got to work, resulting in new sounds and performances that sent their label over the moon. I was happy, and the guys were, as they put it, “on another level.” They had become men, and their singing had taken on the special quality they’d been searching for. I tightened up the harmonies, smoothed the sound out, and helped make them the Sam Cookes of R&B Hip Hop.
All their albums were celebrated with awards, but then tragedy struck. On January 28, 2003, Dino died in a terrible car crash on the way home from a long night at the recording studio. Happy, he had just sung the last note of their fourth album. Strangely, the song he’d sung, completing the recording process, was titled “Day I Die.” According to his twin brother, Soloman “Shazam” Conner, Dino had seen his own death in a dream and had—eerily—written the song about it.