Brutha was an American R&Bmusic group composed of five brothers, namely Anthony Harrell, Cheyenne Harrell, Grady Harrell III, Jacob Harrell and Jared Overton. The group was formed in 2002 and Brian Mcknight first introduced them on the 2003 Soul Train Holiday Special. The brothers were subsequently signed to Def Jam Records, and their self-titled debut album Brutha, was released in December 2008. Their reality show, Brothers to Brutha, documented their rise to fame. In 2011, the three eldest brothers, Grady, Anthony and Jared, left the group to pursue solo careers, leaving the remaining brothers Jacob and Cheyenne to form the duo Jake & Papa.
The five brothers in the band are (eldest to youngest) Grady Harrell III, Anthony "Ant" Harrell, Jared "J.R." Overton, Cheyenne "Papa" Harrell and Jacob "Jake" Harrell. Four of the brothers' father is Grady Harrell Jr., a singer from Los Angeles who made his mark in music and encouraged his sons to follow in his footsteps, while Jared "J.R." Overton has a different father but the same mother as 2 of his brothers making him unrelated to Cheyenne Harrell and Jacob Harrell. Their father was a disciplinarian. He taught them how to sing, while the boys' uncle Donny (Drano) Harrell furthered their music careers. The boys, however, had different mothers. Papa and Jacob's mother is named Valerie. The mother of Jared, Anthony, and Grady Jr. is Nancy Lynn. Papa and Jacob were not raised by their father, as he had been convicted of fraud and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. The boys were raised on the music of their inspirations, which ranged from Sam Cooke to Stevie Wonder. Before hitting the "Big Time" they played graduation parties and bar mitzvahs.
The Harrell brothers came to the entertainment world at a young age out of a four-generations musical family. At 5 and 6 years old, Anthony Harrell and Grady Harrell III hooked up with their first cousin Canela Cox and formed the group Papa’s Results, being trained and taught by Grady Harrell II, who was then signed to MCA Records prior to a prison term. The children appeared in his R&B hit single “Sticks and Stone” and Anthony provided the singing voice of "Young Michael Jackson" played by Alex Burell in the 1992 TV mini series, The Jacksons: An American Dream. Papa's results lasted until Canela moved to Holland to follow her mother's musical career. The brothers filled her spot with family friend Jeff Lee and changed their name to Serenade. The trio quickly gained notice. They appeared on episodes of Saved by the Bell: The New Class in 1997, where Anthony played the regular role of Eric Little. As a duet comprising the two Harrell brothers Grady and Anthony, they recorded two independent albums, in 1999 and 2001.
In 2002, Grady and Anthony were joined by their brothers JR, Jake, and Papa and formed Brutha. The group was discovered by Brian Mcknight, who introduced them on the 2003 Soul Train Holiday Special. In 2008, their uncle Donny "Drano" Harrell, CEO of Goodfellas Entertainment, and the late Shakir Stewart, senior vice president of A&R at Island Def Jam, invited the group to Atlanta to do a filmed audition in front of Jermaine Dupri and a range of producers. The audition resulted in a one-hour special entitled Jermaine Dupri presents: Brutha, broadcast on March 24, 2008, on Peachtree TV. Dupri was impressed and signed the brothers to the Island Def Jam Music Group. In 2007, Brutha made a special guest appearance on the Discovery Kids TV show "Hip Hop Harry."