112 Team Up With Sean Paul, Hope To Work With Ghostface Killah

Group's new album, its first on Def Jam, will be out in August.

According to R&B group 112, the politically correct answer as to why they decided to part ways with P. Diddy and Bad Boy last year was the lack of money and attention.

But when talking to MTV News last week, Q, Mike, Slim and Daron said the real reason was because their contract was “doo-doo.” Needless to say, they’re happy to be signed to Def Jam.

“Just to get that feeling [that] somebody actually believes in you … [is great],” Mike said recently. “You could tell they feel that they really got something when they got 112. It was a great acquisition for them. The whole vibe is just different. It feels good to know you left one situation and got a better situation.”

The group has not entirely severed ties with Puff and Bad Boy, however. Earlier this year it was announced that Bad Boy and Def Jam would be working together to put out 112′s projects (see “P. Diddy, Def Jam CEO Lyor Cohen Kiss And Make Up, Go Into Business Together” ). For the last few months they’ve been working in Nashville at a studio owned by country music superstar Reba McIntire and should have an album in stores come August.

“I guess the way they split their money up is a joint venture, but as far as 112, [we're at] Def Jam,” Mike said of the deal brokered by Diddy and Island Def Jam head honcho Lyor Cohen. “We still work with [Diddy] as far as getting ideas. We got three joints from his camp. It’s no bad blood, it’s no love lost.”

In fact, the guys said Diddy will appear on their fourth album via a “sexy” and “freaky” cut called “Hot and Sexy” that gives off the same vibe as their popular hit “Peaches & Cream.” Atlanta MC T.I., who raps on Bone Crusher’s “Never Scared,” as well as Joe Budden, make cameos.

“Basically the recording since the first album pretty much has been the same,” Daron noted. “Most of the hits we either wrote or produced ourselves. If we did work with a producer ? OK, this guy would do a track, drop it in the studio with us and when we come out, it’s a hit. It’s pretty much the same. We went to Nashville, created a skeleton of the album and pulled in other producers around the end.”

“It’s just a variety of music,” Mike added. “We have songs that touch home and speak on what happened to us in the music industry, what happened with us at Bad Boy. We’re touching on real personal subjects, but we’re still keeping it fun, keeping it ghetto.

“The single is [out] in June,” he continued. “It’s called ‘Na, Na, Na.’ It features Sean Paul. It’s like an ATL [meets] reggae track. You won’t see it coming from 112. Even though we push the envelope with a lot of records like ‘Peaches & Cream’ and ‘Anywhere,’ this record is really to the left of 112. Not all the way to the left, but it feels like it can be a mesh between dancehall and that Southern feel we have.”

Given how hard the group reps ATL, recording in Nashville might have seemed like a bit of a departure. But this marks the second time the group has recorded in the Ville (their third LP, Part III, was recorded there), and the bandmembers felt that working outside of their hometown and Miami, a hangout spot, prevented them from having too many distractions.

“It was the closest to Atlanta without being in Atlanta,” Mike explained. “If [we] recorded in Atlanta, we would still be recording the album right now. We thought about Miami, but we knew we’d still be working on the album now. We wouldn’t have even finished a song yet. Our whole independence was established in Nashville, so we was like, ‘Let’s do it again.’ Nashville is like three and half hours from Atlanta, [so] we could still go home on weekends. But we had to get away from Atlanta. Plus, [there's] nothing to do [in Nashville] but record.”

Perhaps 112 shouldn’t speak too soon, as they may still have to go down to Miami to record. Ghostface Killah is held up down there working on his next soulful opus, and the bathrobe-wearing manipulator of rhyme has been in talks to get the group on his album.

“That would be hot,” Slim said, delighted. “[Wu-Tang Clan] are some of the pioneers in hip-hop. We’ve worked with the best of them, like Biggie, and now you talking about somebody in the Wu-Tang? That would be hot.”