Where My 702 At? Girls Back With 'Pootie Tangin'

After hiatus, female R&B trio return with lineup change, title song to Chris Rock movie.

NEW YORK — Two years ago, it looked as though 702 were right at the point where a burgeoning act blossoms into superstars.

While TLC were dissing scrubs and holding on to their crowns as the baddest female-singers collective in the land, you could see the potential in both Destiny's Child and 702 to take the reins and run when it was time for a change. Both had equally hot girl-power anthems, DC with "Bills, Bills, Bills" and the trio of Kameelah and sisters Irish and Lemisha with "Where My Girls At?"

Destiny's Child lived up to their potential, delivering a string of even bigger hits and selling more than 10 million albums in the United States, while 702 have been — well, nobody really knows where the girls have been at.

"We disappeared after 'Where My Girls At?'" Irish conceded with a smile. "We went through a whole lot of changes. It took us like a year and a half to get back on our feet. But we're back now."

She isn't exaggerating those changes. 702 left Motown Records, changed management, and lead vocalist Kameelah ankled to pursue a solo career.

"We grew apart," Lemisha said of Kameelah's defection. "Everybody wanted different things for the group."

"I talked to Meelah like three weekends ago," continued Irish. "She called me for my birthday. We still love each other, but we got to a point where all our directions were different, and she wanted to go solo."

The siblings didn't have to look far to find a new member. Irish simply called a Las Vegas homie, 22-year-old Cree Lamore.

"When Meelah decided to go solo," Irish recalled, "I wanted to find a friend, somebody I'm close with already. Cree was perfect for the group." It doesn't hurt that she can sing, too.

The girls, who are shopping for a new record deal, said that unlike the first two 702 albums, crooning duties would be equally distributed on their next record.

"This time around, we'll all sing, which is a major difference," said Irish, who mainly sang backup with her sister. "The biggest problem we had when Meelah left the group is that people didn't believe my sister and I could sing. We had to come back and prove ourselves."

"These girls can saaang," confirmed Cree.

Their first chance to silence doubters comes courtesy of Pootie Tang. The trio have the first single, "Pootie Tangin'," from the soundtrack (due July 17) to the upcoming film based on the character popularized on "The Chris Rock Show."

"It's a club song," Misha said. "A guy is pootie tangin' when he's doing his thing, when he's macking. Pootie Tang is a ladies' man. The men hate him but the women love him."

702 apparently could have used Pootie's charms to calm them down in the studio while they recorded his theme.

"Let me tell you," Irish vented. "We found out we were doing this song for the soundtrack like four days before we had to shoot the video. We hadn't even written the song, much less recorded it. We were in the studio from like nine in the morning until noon the next day. We went through every hormonal change."

"We screamed," Misha added. "We were like, 'We can't take this anymore!'"

The atmosphere is much more relaxed as they work on their next album with the Co-Stars production team, the girls said. Misha has become their main songwriter, and fans can look forward to hearing them personify "ghetto fabulousness" on the project.

"Even though we took a long break, we still have something to give the public," Irish concluded.

Pootie Tang track list, according to Hollywood Records:

  • 702 - "Pootie Tangin'"

  • Magic featuring Master P - "Dirty Dee"

  • E-40 and Suga T. - "Comin' Up on Somp'n"

  • Bell Biv Devoe - "Poison"

  • Master P - "Make 'Em Say Ugh"

  • Erykah Badu featuring Rahzel - "Southern Girl"

  • Ideal - "I Should've Told You"

  • Zapp & Roger - "I Want to Be Your Man"

  • K.K. - "A Woman Needs to Be Loved"

  • Shaquille O'Neal - "You Know How We Do"

  • Lil' J - "You Know What"

  • Roscoe and Nate Dogg - "Yesterday"

  • Karl Clanton -"Why Pootie Why?"

  • Tara Jeffers, Qiana Drew and Lorria Richards - "Ode to Pootie"