"I think the challenge is to get back in the rankings," says vocalist Q about the group's goal for the new album. "Prior to the Hot & Wet album, we had come off of three consecutive double-platinum-selling albums with songs that were like the hottest each summer. We held you down from '96 to 2000 every summer with the hottest albums, just 112 mania, and I think we've got to get back to that."
Part of the problem with the Hot & Wet album was that the lead single, "Na Na Na Na," was one of its weakest cuts. But the group chalks that up to industry politics.
"When they think singles, they tend to overthink it," Mike says of today's music industry executives. "They tend to think 'OK, what's the format of radio right now? Oh, well, Lil Jon is hot, you guys need something that sounds like that,' or 'Oh, the format is changing, we got to switch it.'"
This time around, "U Already Know," the lead single from Pleasure & Pain, is slowly building momentum. It's not an explosive hit on the order of the group's previous jams such as "Cupid" and "Peaches & Cream," but it's off to a healthy start. The first single has even been remixed to feature rapper Foxy Brown to give it a bit of hip-hop edge.
For the album, 112 mined its hometown of Atlanta for collaborators. Sean Garrett, who co-wrote Usher's "Yeah" and Destiny's Child's "Lose My Breath," worked on several tracks, including "U Already Know." Usher even penned a few lyrics on the Mario Winans-produced "Last to Know." Surprisingly, Jermaine Dupri, who's associated with the rival Atlanta-based R&B foursome Jagged Edge, produces "Nowhere" with Bryan-Michael Cox. And on "If I Hit," T.I. shows up to offer some rhymes.
But despite all of that outside input, the group's primary creative director is member Daron Jones, who oversees most of the other cuts. He's behind some of the album's strongest moments: "What the Hell Do You Want," which has a soulful sound; and "God Knows," which features an abundance of 112's trademark harmonizing.
Overall, the new album has more of a group feel. It is no secret that P. Diddy favored Slim's high-pitched voice, so he dominated previous albums. But on the new album, Slim shares vocals with the other members, which sometimes provided a challenge in the studio. "With a song like ["That's How Close We Are"], it was easier for Daron and Mike to sing something soulful," he says. "I have a lot of feeling, but it's like a different instrument. You're not going to expect a cello to pull off what a trumpet's supposed to do."
All of these moves are made to return 112 to where they once were. "One of the things that we needed to do on this record was to get people back in love with 112," he says. But so far the jury is out on whether this album will be "pleasure" or "pain."
112's Pleasure & Pain is currently in stores.
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.
All 80s movies want you...