Chico Debarge OR

Chico Debarge OR

Chico Debarge


When you ask a person for their name, their given name is almost always the first word they answer with. But what if we started asking for the last name?


This was the second time this year that Chico—born Jonathan Arthur DeBarge—was arrested for drug possession. On Jan. 13, the “Talk To Me” singer was charged with drug possession, a DUI, and even impersonation for pretending to be his older brother, James DeBarge. When he was pulled over at a Burbank, Calif. shopping center he had no identification on him and had two female passengers present. DeBarge made bond after spending nearly 10 days in jail.

On Saturday, Nov. 6, local authorities received a call about a disturbance inside a motorhome. Upon arriving on the scene, it was reportedly singer Chico DeBarge causing the disturbance. Authorities also learned that his RV had an expired registration more than six months old and thus impounded the vehicle. It was then they found drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine inside, subsequently arresting the R&B crooner. (Source: www.vibe.com)


After his release in the mid-1990s, DeBarge returned to Motown to continue his musical career under the auspices of Kedar Massenberg and his neo-soul pioneering label imprint Kedar Entertainment. His third album Long Time No See was released in November 18, 1997 to critical acclaim and was preceded by the single "Iggin' Me" which garnered considerable airplay. The album would spawn three additional singles: "Love Still Good," "No Guarantee" (a collaboration with Joe) (#18 R&B Airplay) and "Virgin" (#97 R&B). A non-album single "Superman" followed and was featured in the 1998 romantic comedy film Woo starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Tommy Davidson. "Superman" peaked at #55 on the R&B charts.

DeBarge would overcome this setback to his career, but in an interview with London's Independent newspaper, he expressed bitterness over his conviction. "I felt in court that I was a victim of racism," he said. "I definitely feel that had I not been the creed I am I would not have received the sentence I got." He came out of prison in 1994 with a knife scar above his left eye, but also with skills he had developed on several new musical instruments. He also had composed a notebook full of songs, which would find their way onto the albums he released after putting his career back together. When DeBarge was released, he told the New York Daily News that a prison guard sent him off with a taunt, "See you in a few months." That experience would find its way onto DeBarge's Long Time No See album, which opens with the sound of a cell door and a voice predicting the singer's return to prison. (Source: www.encyclopedia.com)


A member of a musical family that notched major successes in the R&B field in the 1980s and 1990s, Chico DeBarge went his own way stylistically. While the other DeBarges offered romantic harmony singing that recalled the 1960s heyday of their label Motown, Chico DeBarge was a full-throated soul singer whose lyrics tended toward raw sensuality and toward serious reflections on the temptations of the criminal life. DeBarge, composing much of his own material, drew on his experiences during a nearly six-year prison term he served after being convicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

His debut album, Chico DeBarge, was released in 1986. Even at this stage of his career, DeBarge's music differed from the sweet harmonies of DeBarge and their falsetto-specialist lead singer El; Chico's music had a funkier edge. The album's leadoff single "Talk To Me" ascended the charts rapidly, and the family seemed to have produced yet another musical sensation. Then, a month after the album's release, DeBarge's world came crashing down when he was arrested on drug conspiracy charges. Specifically, police alleged that he had introduced two cocaine dealers to each other. His prison term ended up being longer than those of either of the dealers themselves. (Source: www.encyclopedia.com)



Related Articles