Bad Boy R&B group 112 think their third album the aptly titled Part III, released Tuesday (March 20) signifies a quantum leap to manhood.
With their current single, "It's Over Now," topping the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart (it's at #7 on the magazine's Hot 100) and a cross-country promotional tour on the horizon, the members of the Atlanta-bred quartet Q (born Quinnes Parker), Mike (Michael Keith), Slim (Marvin Scandrick) and Daron (Daron Jones) say they are feeling a new maturity, even though they've already had two platinum-plus albums, a string of hit singles and a guest spot on the history-making No Way Out tour.
"This [album] is like a rebirth," Slim said. "This signifies the growth from boys to men," Mike added.
For 112, evolving into manhood meant taking creative control. The group served as co-executive producers of Part III and wrote most of the album's lyrics. Daron, who has produced for Notorious B.I.G. and Toni Braxton, produced half of the tracks.
The group members have been through the ups and downs of looking for love, judging from the album. They touch on the spectrum of relationships, from breaking up on the R. Kelly-produced "Do What You Gotta Do," to the art of oral stimulation on one of their most erotic songs ever, "Peaches and Cream," produced by Puff Daddy and Mario "Yellow Man" Winans.
"We wanted a song that was fun, and at the same time, gave us a little sex appeal," Mike said about that the song, which soon will get a video shoot. "We're older now, so we can talk about subjects of this nature. Basically, 'Peaches and Cream' talks about pleasing your woman, but you have to use your imagination. It's kind of like D'Angelo's 'Brown Sugar,' where he was talking about one thing but made you think he was talking about something else."
Their tentative third single, the sultry ballad "Player," finds the onetime "Gentlemen of Bad Boy" pledging to sow their wild oats.
"It's really just redefining what a player is," Daron said. "A lot of times, [when] people think of a player, they think of somebody that might have 50 girls, but to 112, a player is someone who just plays the game correctly. Being honest basically. It's not about having one woman, and then having five girls on the side, but having six women and letting them all know that you're not ready to settle down."
Twista and the production duo Tim and Bob also appear on the album, but 112 say the contribution that means most to them comes from their deceased labelmate the Notorious B.I.G.
"We try to keep Big alive as much as we can," Mike said, noting they sampled two of the late rapper's songs on Part III. "Every album we do, we try to [put] Big on there and keep him alive," Mike continued. "He put our names on the map with that phrase 'Room 112, where the players dwell.' I know he's up there, nodding his head."