I Wanna Sex You Up – Color Me Badd | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#2) & R&B (#1 for 2 weeks); 1991

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Peak #1 R&B for 2 weeks and #2 Pop; 1991 Growing up in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of Oklahoma City, Bryan Abrams, Sam Watters, Mark Calderon, and Kevin Thornton loved the classic soul sound of Motown and Sam Cooke. Thus, when they started to sing together (as Take One), the four harmonized a cappella on their favorites. Their live style so impressed Robert “Kool” Bell of Kool & The Gang, that he spirited the boys off to Manhattan and (hopefully) the big time. They ended up living in a one bedroom apartment with their manager and his girlfriend. By night the boys slept on the floor; by day they worked toward their big break. That arrived with the film New Jack City, and a soundtrack featuring Color Me Badd’s I Wanna Sex You Up. When released as a single, Sex You Up – now sporting different lyrics – sold double platinum and received three Grammy award nominations.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Dr. Freeze

Lyrics Written by:

  • Elliot Straite
  • Color Me Badd


  • In 1992, “I Wanna Sex You Up” won the group a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Group, Band or Duo and Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Song of the Year