While recording his fourth album, The Senior, in Miami, Ginuwine was given added inspiration to make hits — he had a class reunion with some of his musical peers.
"I got down there [and ran into] Method Man, Puff, Missy, Timbaland, Cash Money. Man, it was crazy down there," he said with a smile. "And the [Hit Factory] studio was in a ghetto neighborhood, so everybody was outside every day to see who was coming in. It was fun. A lot of us wanted to do things with each other; that's how me and Meth hooked up. Baby went down there, too, so we hooked up."
The Birdman rhymes on The Senior's first single, "Hell Yeah," which was written and produced by R. Kelly.
"It was not your average collaboration," Ginuwine said of his work with the R. "I wasn't there when he did it. I met him afterward and we kicked it. He's a good dude. A genius. I was just happy to do something that he created. Everything he seems to do is just ridiculous."
Ginuwine said he wanted to kick off his album with a club banger to follow up the momentum he created with his collaborations in 2002. "It's a club song," the singer said of "Hell Yeah." "I had Puff's 'I Need a Girl,' then I did Fat Joe's ['Crush Tonight,'] and I was loving that one, so I did one for myself. Everybody was expecting a slow joint first. So I wanted to catch people off guard. Hopefully it will work."
The dancing won't stop with "Hell Yeah" — Ginuwine armed himself with a few more party-flavored cuts. "The song with Meth is an up-tempo one called 'Big Plans' and it's basically telling a woman 'If you're down for me, if you'll wait for me, I have big plans for us, but you have to stick by my side, stand by your man.' Of course, Meth is killing it. 'Sex' with Solé is basically like a 2003 'Pony.' It's like a stripper's anthem. Trust me, I'm serious. I'm hoping it comes out [as a single], but it might be too rough for radio right now. I would love to break that barrier down and say, 'You can play this.' But I promise you they're going to put it into strip clubs."
The gyrating singer's mirth comes with getting over the loss of both his parents a couple of years ago. His misery affected the recording of his last LP, 2001's The Life.
"I was depressed," he said. "A lot of people wouldn't understand what it's like not to have certain [loved] ones around that you can confide in and ask questions and get that consoling. This [album] is back to basics. I'm more happy, I'm more focused."
For Ginuwine, focusing meant taking control of his project. He wrote more, and he picked out new producers to work with, including Scott Storch. Gone are the days when he waited around for Timbaland to give him tracks. Though Timbo helmed some of Ginuwine's biggest hits, he's nowhere to be found on The Senior.
"I want everyone to know that I have no beef with my man," Ginuwine explained. "Tim has a lot going on, to a point to which I can't wait. I guess it's not fair to ask him to drop what he's doing, but we did come in this thing together and I thought that he would. But it was no big thing. I just had to move on, do things myself. I'm getting into producing now, I'm getting into my writing, and I don't want to depend on nobody."
If the D.C. native wants to stick to his plan and put out two other albums this year, he'll have to keep that independent way of thinking. A remake album called Giving Back — featuring covers of Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince and Nat King Cole songs — is in the works. To close out the year, he wants to go the route of labelmates B2K and do a holiday album.
The Senior is due April 8, and the video for "Hell Yeah" has just hit airwaves. A remix of the track featuring the Clipse will be released in the next few weeks.