112 are one of the most well known groups in contemporary R&B. Having been part of the Bad Boy elite from 1996 until recently, 112 gained the world's attention with their work with the late Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy. Now on Def Soul, 112 are set to release their next album "Hot and Wet," on September 23rd.
MVRemix: In your biography, Daron is quoted as saying, "This album reunites a lot of the hit elements. Plus now without the stress of the past, we're a lot looser. We're not afraid to say and do what we want to do. That's why a lot of stuff on the album is real musical. We have the support, the freedom, the confidence and the unity to go all the way." What exactly did occur for 112 to leave Bad Boy for Def Soul?
Mike: Really what happened was we tried to renegotiate for something that benefited 112 a little more than what we had, and we couldn't come to an agreement. That was really the catalyst for us making a move. It wasn't like we were upset or bitter, it was quite the contrary. We were happy at Bad Boy, that was the home that we first started on. But we came to the table, tried to renegotiate - it didn't work out how we thought it would. So, we had to seek out a place that could facilitate 112.
MVRemix: If you had to compare your new album "Hot and Wet" to a designer clothing label or a particular luxury car, which would you choose and why?
Slim: If I was to compare "Hot and Wet" to a car or clothing designer. [pause] Hmmmm... I'd probably say "Hot and Wet" would be the Phantom Bentley 2004. Because one thing about our songs is or be it with 112 - our brand, is it's first class. Since we dropped in '96, everything was first class. We've always come out as hot and sexy. Trendsetters. It wasn't too blocky, and it wasn't as if people could say, "This audience couldn't feel it." Everybody could feel it. With this Phantom, that's out right now - it's first class. Everybody, even your great grandfather would love driving it to a young person like me. It's hot and sleek, hot and sexy. If you saw it, even in the rain, it feels like the sun is still shining.
As far as a clothing designer, that's kind of hard because we wear a lot of clothes. We be goin' shoppin'. But, if it's first class, hot, and high end. That's "Hot and Wet" right there. Its got to be young, its got to be useful and its got to be sexy at the same time.
MVRemix: Five years later... what's your fondest memory of Christopher Wallace (Biggie)?
Mike: Five years later... all of them!
Mike: We didn't have any bad times with B.I.G. Every step of the way he was always rooting for us. Times when the radio stations weren't gonna let us perform, he'd bug them and say "If they don't perform, we don't perform!" That's how we were as a family. One thing I do remember is the last thing he said to us before he passed. We were on the stage and this man wanted to leave LA because it was us rhyming along BIG. He said "What's up Cali?" and they started booing. The first thing he said was "Hey, lets get the hell out of here!" That's the most memorable thing that I can recall - how this man really wanted to leave. Like he'd almost foreseen what was about to go down. That's something we remember.
MVRemix: Tell me about the video you're going to be shooting for "Na Na Na" on the 21st.
Mike: Well, we can't divulge too much information on that joint because we want it to be a surprise. But, for the most part it's a reggae like, Atlanta-down-south feeling kind of vibe. So, anything pretty much that you can decipher from that... It's gonna have a Carribean feel to it, but it's still going to have that Miami feel to it (where it's being filmed). It's gonna be sexy, there's gonna be a lot of girls. The whole theme around all our videos intertwines around the whole theme around our album, which is "Hot and Wet." The first video is going to catapult "Hot and Wet," then the second single (the title track) is going to continue it. In September it's going to make so much sense to have the "Hot and Wet" record.
MVRemix: I recently interviewed Joe Budden and he told me he'd be on a remix for "Hot and Wet," aside from him and Supercat being featured on the album, what else can you tell me about it?
Mike: The album basically is 112, correct me if I'm wrong Slim. This is our best album ever. We put our hearts and souls into each record. But, this record is more in depth. We're saying more. We talk about specific things that have happened in 112's career. For example, we have this one record entitled "Every Day" which talks about our situations. Basically if you want to know what happened between us and Puffy... the whole music industry. That record basically tells all. It's not a dis record or anything like that but it does explain a couple of things that people are unsure about. 112, we've been quiet for almost seven years. We want people to know that we do exist on this plane. We're up here with the upper echelon. If we're not considered one of the best, at least one of the best - if not the best R&B group that's out right now. It's time that we say something. It's time that we let people know that without that recording, it wasn't just all the cream all the time. But, at the same time, it's the best job we've ever had. As individuals and as a group. We wouldn't change anything for the world. That's pretty much what you can expect from this record. It's from the heart, it's in depth. We're going to live or die by this record. If it succeeds, praise god. If it don't succeed, praise god still. At least it's because it came from 112. It came from Q, Mike, Slim and Daron in its entirety. We decided the singles, how it was gonna come out. We just decided everything together. So, it's our testimony to what we've been doing for the last seven years.
MVRemix: You say you consider 112 one of the best R&B groups, who else do you rate on your level?
[Slim cracks up laughing]
That's a very good answer. I like that.
Slim: [slowing down his laughter] Nah, but let me tell you. That was a very nice way to put it. I mean if you just look at our record, and what we stood for since '96. We've seen groups come and go. Since '96, we've been holdin' y'all down. We've got hits after hits after hits. Number one joints under our belt. I think that we're the most successful underrated group. As far as Hip Hop and R&B, cornering both of them and being able to run R&B and have the Hip Hop world's attention at the same time. [calmly] Oh we're the best that's doing it right now. I don't think nobody can do it better right now.
Yes, we're known for doing and talking about love. That's what 112 do. We know about love. Pleasure and pain. But, what artist do you know that can say they've worked with the best of the best of Hip Hop? The Notorious B.I.G. We did something with Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang. We've gotten with the most grimiest of grimiest of Hip Hop; Mobb Deep. I don't think nobody can too much... the list goes on and on. I'm in my plaque room right now and I'm looking at all the stuff we've done, collaborations and such like. We've been sheepish, but we were young. Sometimes we'd let other people take the credit, we were sheepish. We're young men now, it's time to open our mouths. It's time to let it be known. This is it. We're the icons, and we're setting the stakes.
MVRemix: On the level of being "Young men," and being able to be on the level to make specific decisions. I've got a few either/or choices for you, please try not to waiver. I'll state a person/product vs another and you state which you support above the other.
MVRemix: Sean John vs Armani
Mike: Sean John.
MVRemix: Foxy Brown vs Lil' Kim
Mike: Oooh, Lil' Kim.
MVRemix: XXL vs The Source
Slim: That's hard.
Mike: I would say XXL.
MVRemix: Ja Rule vs 50 Cent
Mike: 50 Cent baby.
MVRemix: Jay-Z vs Nas
Mike: Oh, you got us on that one! We can't really say on that one. It's a toss up with those guys.
MVRemix: Any last words or comments you'd like to put to your fans or potential fans that are going to be reading this?
Mike: We just wanna say to everyone around the world that we will be coming to a concert near you. Thanks for the love, we gonna make it hot for you. We're gonna make it "Hot and Wet." We've made a commitment to coming overseas and being over there, making people know that 112 isn't just a group that "Alright." We're making you know that we're the hotness. When you think of Hip Hop and R&B, you've got to think of 112. We're making a claim, we run this.
Slim: We run it.
Mike: We're making a claim to that, and with it you've got to either put up or shut up. So, right now, we finna (are going to) be overseas. We finna be everywhere.