They won't be getting chased around by Full Force, have Martin Lawrence spinning records for them, or even perform the famous foot-to-foot group dance, but the Young Gunz say they'll soon have people reminiscing back to the days when Kid 'N Play were ruling hip-hop and Hollywood.
"It's gonna be back in the clubs," Gunner MC Hanif "Neef" Muhammad said recently of the twosome's video for "Friday Night," from their debut album, Tough Luv. "A pajama jammy jam. A little like 'House Party.' Everybody does club videos, so I had to put a little twist on it with the pajama jammy jam."
Like the Gunz's last video, "No Better Love," Neef will be calling the shots as the clip's director.
"I give Roc-A-Fella a lot of credit," the 20-year-old said of the Gunz's label. "You get a little bit more space, a little bit more breathing room over there. But I argue a lot. I just don't go for anything. We know what we're talking about in the verses, so can't we show the visuals? Some people like movies more than albums, that's why I got into it. It's a piece of cake."
Neef was inspired for the premise of "No Better Love" after a vacation with some homies from Philly.
"Me and the gang, we went on a ski trip getaway and was wilding out," he said. "I always thought to bring some girls out — they would love it. Skiing, fireplace in the cabin, all of that."
Of course, Neef and the gang did plenty of traveling last summer on the Rock the Mic Tour. That was where producer Just Blaze first planted the seeds for "Friday Night."
"Just Blaze bought his tour bus [on the road]," Gunner Young Chris remembers. "He brought all his equipment and he was making beats on the bus. He was supposed to be making two beats for each artist while we was on the road. He came to me, Neef and Free[way] one day and played the beat. The record still wasn't done, he just had the drums."
"It was still crazy, though," Neef added.
Life on the road turned out to be not only a blessing for the Gunz's careers, it also sheltered them from some of the craziness going on at home. A few of their friends were killed in separate incidents.
"We lost a lot of homies during [the making of] the album, " Neef reflected stoically.
"We lost plenty of homies," Chris jumped in. "Every time we was on a promo tour or something, when we got home, we'd find out they're either locked up or dead or something. That was more inspiration; we knew we had to do it then. It made us work harder."
One of Tough Luv's standout cuts, "Never Take Me Alive," touches on some of their losses: The Gunz rap about the death of their friend L.A., while guest Jay-Z rhymes about late friend Notorious B.I.G. "Just lost another one, we'll always love you, dog," Chris raps on the record. "All that's left is your face on the picture, on the dresser in the frame/ ... Where do I go for advice?/ Man, it's shows every week/ But it's bodies every night." After they completed the song, the Gunners took a short vacation to St. Thomas to clear their minds.
Hopefully Chris and Neef have seen the last of their despair. Professionally, they have every reason to rejoice: Their album (which entered the charts at #3 early in March) is selling well, they just started a label called G.I.F.I. ("Get In Where You Fit In"), they're about to go on tour with Kanye West, and the two have prominent roles in State Property II, which stars Beanie Sigel as an incarcerated crime lord.
"[Our characters are] holding it down while Beans is locked up," Chris said. Beanie is filming his role while under house arrest for attempted murder and gun charges (see "Beanie Sigel Keeping It Regular While Recording Under House Arrest").
"[We're playing] what we was before we got into the rap: young, fly cats, driving Benzes, getting the ladies," added Neef, who admitted that neither he nor Chris had memorized their lines despite having to shoot a scene later in the day.