The O’Jays are an R&B music group that originated in Canton, Ohio in 1958. The group originally consisted of members Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey, and Bill Isles, who at the time called themselves The Triumphs. They later were known as The Mascots. They began gaining popularity in the Cleveland area in 1961 when they began recording. In 1963, the group became known as “ The O’Jays ”. In the same year, they released “ Lonely Drifter”, Their first national hit which peaked at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1972,the group became a trio leaving only Eddie Levert, William Powell, and Walter Williams. In 1977 Powell died and was replaced by Sammy Strain, who was later replaced by Nathaniel Best. However, Best was also later replaced by Eric Grant .
The O’Jays’ prime recordings epitomize the Philly soul sound: smooth, rich harmonies backed by elaborate arrangements, lush strings, and a touch of contemporary funk.
The O’jays’ songs have been sample by artists such as Drake, Nas, Angie Stone, 2pac, Gucci Mane, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, Erykah Badu, Chrisette Michele, Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, and many more.