112 made a name for themselves as one of the first groups to emerge from Puff Daddy's Bad Boy roster, and with their third album, Part III, they've stepped out of their mentor's shadow.
Oh, they're still on Bad Boy, and Puffy shows up on the album. But the Atlanta vocal quartet Mike (Michael Keith), Slim (Marvin Scandrick), Daron (Daron Jones) and Q (Quinnes Parker) took more creative control than ever, writing and producing nine of the disc's tracks.
"Not trying to dis Bad Boy or Puffy or whatever, but ... a lot of music that came out on Bad Boy in '96, '97, it was 112 writing it," Mike said. "It's our time to shine now."
They also drew from their own experiences for many of the songs, including the R&B #1 "It's Over Now," in which a man comes home from the road and finds out his woman has been cheating on him. And they've long left behind the clean-cut image that helped romantic ballads like 1996's "Only You" and "Come See Me" find success on the pop and R&B charts.
This time out, they get nasty on "Peaches & Cream," and they face up to heartbreak on the R. Kelly-produced "Do What You Gotta Do." The group hopes their new direction will let them top even the platinum success of their first two albums.
112 recently sat down with Curtis Waller to talk about their emerging maturity, the meaning behind their songs and partying off the hook at Atlanta's Waffle House.