B2K? Broken up. 112? Broken up. Dru Hill? Broken up. New Edition, Boyz II Men, Jodeci? No new music in years. With Jagged Edge and the fairly new Pretty Ricky and B5 seemingly the only male R&B groups left standing, the days when fans had an endless array of acts to choose from — such as Troop, Silk, Guy, Today and Intro — have been long gone. But now there’s a trio that want to give the game a “jolt.”
Singers Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank have formed a trio called TGT — which stands for Tyrese Ginuwine Tank, of course — and have an album and tour in the planning stages.
“Imagine us putting all three of our worlds together for the ultimate R&B fan experience,” Tyrese said Tuesday via phone from his house in L.A. “Me, Tank and Ginuwine been talking about this forever. The reason why this makes sense is that besides all of us being R&B singers, we’re all good friends. In this industry, you can’t have a real conversation with a lot of people. It almost feels like you’re having a conversation with somebody famous, instead of having a real conversation. Every time I see Tank, every time I see Ginuwine, we all had good energy regardless.”
Ginuwine and Tank revealed that the three have roots that go back deeper than just politicking at industry functions.
“We’ve all known each other for over 10-plus years, so it wasn’t heavy on the brain,” Tank weighed in on Wednesday (May 23). “It was like, ‘Cool, let’s do it.’ ”
“Tyrese is my boy,” G said. “Tank is my boy. I’m the first artist he’s ever been on the road with. We go all the way back to ‘Pony.’ He was my background singer on my tour. Tyrese was my best man at my wedding. Needless to say, we are all close. I always wanted to experience the group thing.
“There’s a void,” he continued, referring to the lack of male R&B groups. “This is the perfect time for Tank, Tyrese and myself to give that jolt. You have a lot of solo artists out here. … R&B is at a downfall, it needs something to shock it. I think this is just the thing. So I brought it to them and said, ‘Are y’all up to it? It’s gonna be a whole lot of work, but let’s get it done.’ They both said, ‘Yeah.’ We figure we can handle it. Now the particulars have to get sorted out.”
As G puts it, the biggest obstacle concerning the project is choosing which label to release an LP through. After over a decade on Sony Music, Ginuwine recently made the move to upstart independent label King Music. Tyrese is signed to Clive Davis’ J Records and Tank is signed to Universal/Republic.
“Now you’re talking about three labels, three R&B artists, it’s gonna be situation,” Ginuwine predicted. “I’m the one in the group that’s trying to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s. If all goes well, we should be in the studio in September.”
“Everything can be worked out,” Ty optimistically declared. “That’s just the truth. How is it gonna happen? I don’t know. I think when anything makes sense, you figure out a way to work it out.”
That also applies to the three men trying to find time in their schedules to actually make the album. Tank’s Sex Love & Pain just debuted at #2 on the Billboard albums chart (see “Linkin Park Rule The Albums Chart: New LP Has Best First-Week Sales Of The Year” ), so he’s been all over the country promoting and doing concerts. Tyrese has a busy concert schedule as well, and he’s also promoting his July 4 flick, “Transformers” (see ” ‘Transformers,’ ‘Die Hard’ Sparking A Totally Rad ’80s Revival” ). Ginuwine has also been a fixture on the stage the past couple of years — but mostly in an acting capacity, in musicals such as “Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie,” “Men, Money & Gold Diggers” and, most recently, “The Bachelorette Party.” He begins work on his next LP, New Beginning, in July.
“It’ll take scheduling. Some things might not happen,” Tyrese admitted of the group’s agenda.
This isn’t the first time Ginuwine has tried his hand at making a supergroup. Ten years ago there was talk of him, Sisqó and Usher joining forces, but that never panned out. R&B hasn’t seen a project like TGT take shape since the late Gerald LeVert teamed with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill to form LSG in the ’90s. They released two albums as a collective.
“Most of the things that people who have tried to do supergroups have done wrong in the past has ended up in the papers, so you learn from that,” Tyrese said.
“I think when someone doesn’t know their lane, when someone doesn’t understand what they bringing to the table,” he added about why supergroups sometime run into problems. “I’m bringing R&B and hip-hop R&B and the Hollywood side to the table. Ginuwine is bringing most of the #1 records to the table. Tank is fairly new, but he’s on fire. What Tank hasn’t done for himself, he’s done for other people. He has the respect of everyone in the game with all of [the] #1 hits [he's written] as well as how big his record ['Please Don't Go'] is. So he’s bringing that weight up, which is a lot of weight.”
All three artists have an idea about who they want to work with. Producers and songwriters such as R. Kelly, Timbaland, Scott Storch, Tim & Bob, the Underdogs, Rodney Jerkins and Bryan-Michael Cox come up unanimously.
“Anybody that has hits, man,” G said. “We’re not gonna turn down no hits. We’re looking at 10-12 songs on the album. I believe we can have at least eight songs that are smashes, that are able to be first singles. Whoever wants to be a part of this history-making CD, that’s who we’re gonna go at. It ain’t about no check. It’s about wanting to win. Changing the game and wanting to win.”
TGT’s first song together will be the remix to Tank’s “Please Don’t Go.” Tyrese recorded his part Tuesday and Ginuwine is supposed to lay down his vocals within the next couple of days.
“The remix is gonna be crazy,” Tank asserted. “I think we’re gonna get a visual for it too, with a video. It’s gonna kick off the movement and make the demand for TGT. … They’re gonna want us a lot sooner than maybe we were ready for. Once people see us together, it’s gonna make some waves.
“Sonically, I’m putting the Jodeci edge on it,” he continued. ” ‘Please Don’t Go’ already has a slight edge on it, but I kinda twisted the track. I dug into my DeVante [Swing] crates and put a nice edge to it. The kind of edge where you expect us to be wearing all black in the video, some leather pants and boots. That kind of sound.
” ‘Please Don’t Go’ relates to a subject matter but I wanted to create a situation in the remix where we’re interacting, not just singing a song. Like we’re having a conversation where people are gonna be, like, ‘Did you hear what Tyrese said to Tank? Did you hear what Tank said to Ginuwine? They’re not beefing, are they?’ ”
Once the remix is complete, the group is hoping to hit the studio in September and launch a trek — which already has a name, the Shirts Off Tour — in November.
“As far as when it comes out, realistically, I would say next year,” Ginuwine said about the album. “The tour hasn’t really been set to where we wanna set it at. We want to meet Tank on a lot of the dates he’s doing and give [audiences] a taste. Once we meet him on the road, we’ll see what the reaction is to that. We’re gonna try to change what he’s doing into a Shirts Off-type thing.
“It’s gonna be unfair, I think,” Tank said, predicting that the trio will cause a big stir onstage. “When I did my album release party in D.C., it was crazy because Raheem DeVaughn performed. Akon performed. Avant performed. Morris Chestnut came out onstage. He got some ‘Boyz N the Hood’ love. Me and Ginuwine got onstage together and rocked ‘Freek’N You.’ The audience looked at us like, ‘What is going on?’ They were stunned. Me and G were like, ‘If this is how it’s gonna be, we’re gonna have a problem. More security. Lock down the hotel floors. It’s gonna be crazy.’
“I want this thing to be like how it was when the Beatles were out,” Tank continued. “It was 1,000 people at the airport with signs and taking pictures. I want it to be an event. Pandemonium.”
“I want the ladies in the audience to forget about the men in their lives that night and make it do what it do,” Tyrese added about the tour. “We gonna go out and do records from TGT first. Then the individual records they all love. It don’t get no better than that.”
Well, “better than that” might be a high-debuting album. Tank knows a thing or two about that after the SoundScan results came in.
“I don’t think going against Linkin Park for #1 is fair,” he smiled. “It’s a celebration right now. It’s been a long road, but [I'm] back. I’ll just say my fans haven’t went anywhere. They’ve done me a great service by waiting patiently. I don’t know who’s gonna come out after five years and debut like this and have a [single] climb the charts like this. It’s all basically due to the fans that stayed down.”
[This story was originally published on 5.23.2007 at 2:30 p.m. E.T.]