Fronted by founding members "RL" (RL Huggar), brothers "T-Low" (Terry Brown) and "Tweet" (Raphael Brown). The group was founded together by the Brown family's uncle, who was a local gospel choir director and they began performing under the name "Straight4ward" with a 4th member Shilo Benjamin, who left the group before the fame. For commercial appeal, the name "Straight4ward" was changed to "Next" with the assistance of producer Lance "LA" Alexander and stands for "Nobody Ever eXpected This". The group trained under and was managed for a time by Ann Nesby from the gospel group Sounds of Blackness. Next was later introduced in their home town of Minneapolis, Minnesota to producer and DJ artist KayGee from Naughty By Nature. They subsequently signed with KayGee's newly formed Divine Mill record label, which at the time was distributed through Arista Records.