Pretty Ricky originated from Miami, Florida, and initially consisted of Ala Diamond aka “Baby Blue” Smith, “Spectacular” Blue Smith, Corey “Slick em” Mathis and Marcus “Pleasure P” Cooper.
The name of the band was taken from a character in Martin Lawrence’s comedy series, Martin (1992-1997).
“We all used to dress alike, really different to everyone else. We wore fur in the summer when everyone else was in t-shirts,” Pleasure explained. “On the show was a character called ‘Pretty Ricky.’ He was slick and always dressed different to everyone else, so all the girls at school started calling us ‘Pretty Ricky’.”
They had great success with singles such as “Grind with Me” and “On the Hotline“, and also with their album releases such as “Late Night Special” and “Bluestars”.
Pleasure P left the group in 2007 to embark on a solo career, although it looks like that didn’t really take off very well, since the latest album he’s released was back in 2009 with the album titled “The Introduction of Marcus Cooper”. He has released individual tracks since then, but he returned to the Pretty Ricky group some time later, so it looks like going solo may have been an unwise career move.
While Pleasure P was away, Pretty Ricky replaced the lead singer numerous times with ex-members 4Play, Mowet, and Lingerie. In 2015, Pleasure P reunited with the group, and they released their latest single “Puddles“.
In 1997 while performing together in Miami, Florida, Pretty Ricky were also joined by their older brother, Joseph Smith Junior, and were set out to develop their music career under the name of “Pretty Rickie and The Maverix“.
According to a 1999 story in The Miami Herald, at first, it was Joseph Smith Junior who was called “Pretty Rickie” while the other four brothers were “The Maverix“. But upon his departure from the group, plus the objection issued by an American country band “The Mavericks” to change their name, they decided to apply their original idea of the band’s identity, bringing back the name “Pretty Ricky“, spelt Ricky with a y, to make it sound more masculine.
With the help from a producer named Jim Jonsin of the Unusual Suspects production team, Pretty Ricky began to gain desirable attention through their local performances. However, it was not until 2002 that the group encountered their initial success as their song, “Flossin’“, became a huge hit on a Miami radio station. They released their first single Flossin in 2002 & their second single So Fresh So Clean in June 2004. Both singles were set to be the first singles on their original debut studio “What They Call Me” which was scheduled for 2003. The album was never released.
In 2004, inspired by the writing and poetry of independent south Orange County, CA based rappers Yung Motif and Status Quo, Pretty Ricky released a single called “Grind With Me“, which went on to reach #7 on the Billboard Hot chart, as well as getting platinum certified by the RIAA. The single made its way to popularity on a Miami radio station shortly after it was first played. The station’s Program Director sent the single to Craig Kallman, the Co-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Atlantic Records. Upon his arrival in Florida by December, he was amazed by the commotion the band had ignited at a Martin Luther King, Junior. parade in Hallandale. “It was complete pandemonium, with Hundreds & hundreds of screaming, shrieking girls who basically stormed the stage and bum rushed the guys as they came off, chasing them down the field, jumping on the van, trying to climb on the van.“. Invited by Kallman to have an audition in his hotel room at Loew’s Miami Beach, Pretty Ricky was offered a record deal on the spot.
On May 17, 2005 Pretty Ricky released their debut album titled Bluestars, which debuted at #16 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Bluestars was certified Gold by RIAA. On June 15, 2005, Pretty Ricky released their second single from the album titled “Your Body”, which went on to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 at #12.
In the summer of 2005 the group toured with fellow artist Omarion, Bow Wow, Chris Brown, Bobby V, and other acts in the Scream Tour IV concert series.
For the next few years, Pretty Ricky released a few more albums, although they seemed to have stopped producing material in 2012. After a 3-year hiatus, on February 16, 2015, Pretty Ricky released a promotional reunion single titled “Puddles“. The single marked the return of former lead vocalist Pleasure P to the group. “Puddles” had been the most requested song on a South Florida major radio station, in the days following its release. On February 25, 2015, during an interview, Pretty Ricky announced that they were working on a new album and they would be releasing it on their newly founded record label Pretty Ricky Records. In November 2016, Rico Love announced he will be executive producing the new Pretty Ricky album titled “Good Girlz” scheduled to be released in 2017.