Jermaine Dupri Boosting Grown-Up 3LW With Their Sexy Return

Female squad also teaming with Dre and Vidal, Mike City for long-awaited album.

It’s been so long since 3LW put out their last album, their group name no longer seems to apply. At 21 and 19, respectively, Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams are fully grown women; along with new member Jessica Benson, they’re preparing to go past The Point of No Return.

“Actually ‘Point of No Return’ is the name of one of the songs that Dre and Vidal produced [on our album],” Williams explained last week. “[In the song,] we’re talking to our man [and saying], ‘You’ve waited, you’ve been patient, and now you can get it.’ But the reason I thought it was a good idea for us to have that as the album title, it leaves room for us to do everything. We’ve been through so much as a group, as individuals, it’s time for our fans to see that we have reached the point of no return. There is no stopping us.”

Last year 3LW left Sony Music and signed to Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def imprint, which was then under Jive. Even though JD has since left Jive for Virgin (see “Virgin Records Snapping Up Jermaine Dupri And So So Def” ), leaving the ladies on Jive, the singers say he is still heavily involved in the album, planning to finish production during the first week of August. So far 3LW have also worked with Cool and Dre, Dre and Vidal, Mike City, Rich Harrison and others. Harrison produced a go-go-flavored record called “Do Ya” that has been leaked to radio, but the trio say it may not be their first single.

“We have so many options,” Williams said. “It’s definitely a blend of musical styles and it’s a matter of choosing what to come out with first.”

“We have a whole bunch of vibes on the album,” Bailon added. “We’re a lot older now than the last album. Is the whole album a sexy vibe? Definitely not. There’s some sexy songs, there’s some fun music on there, party stuff, even songs that have a beautiful message.”

One record they are particularly fond of is “It’s Not All About Me,” where they reflect on “the bigger picture.”

“It’s actually a song about someone who’s driving down the highway and sees a car accident on the road,” Bailon explained. “You may be like, ‘Wow, I’m struggling.’ You’re going through your things, but then you see there’s so much more going on around me, I’m just such a small part of such a huge world. Basically you realize there’s a bigger story.”

Bailon has more on her plate than music these days. She just finished “Rumble,” a coming-of-age volleyball movie with a who’s who cast of youngsters including Ciara.

“It was cool because it’s hard to find six girls who get along,” Bailon said of the film, due in 2006. “We had an amazing time on set. It was lots of fun. Ciara was amazing. She’s pretty athletic.”

Later this year, 3LW are rejoining Raven Symoné and Sabrina Bryan for a Cheetah Girls Christmas album. Point of No Return is scheduled for October.