NEW YORK — The question surrounding B2K now is, if there's so much love in the air, why did they part ways?
The trio of J-Boog, Raz-B and Lil Fizz have publicly professed that they still have love for estranged frontman Omarion, and on Thursday (January 8) Omarion spoke publicly for the first time and said he felt the same way about his guys.
"The fellas know I love them," he said in the "TRL" green room, trying to keep a happy face. "I love them dudes. Those been my boys, my partners in crime for five years."
Despite the group's public profession of affection, O said there had been friction in the group for the past three or four months and that there were even times when fights almost broke out.
"It wasn't something recent," O explained. "It wasn't an all-out fistfight but it was different things they wanted to do. With the breakup situation, it wasn't something that just sprung up and happened. When we was like, 'The group is over,' it was definitely a series of things. Plus Fizz was doing a solo album, I was getting prepared for mine, Raz was getting prepared for his. So everybody was kinda on their own agenda, trying to find their own self. The breakup wasn't based on anything but us growing up and wanting to go in our own direction."
According to the other three members of B2K, however, the split was over money. Boog, Raz and Fizz have said they were financially "raped" and claim they never received payment for their stints on the successful Scream tour series.
Omarion, however, disputed that. "They've been basically putting it out in the public that it was a management issue [why we broke up]. That it was money stolen from us and all these false allegations. I'm a businessman. Me, my mother and my attorney, we went up to [our management and production company] T.U.G to check the finances, and there was not one penny stolen from us."
He said people must be in his friends' ears and he urged them to go over the books themselves. Omarion said he decided to stick with B2K manager Chris Stokes because he's been a father figure and hadn't committed any wrongdoing.
"It really hurts," the singer continued. "It's hard to keep my spirits up and keep going because I'm by myself now. I have to basically hold my own, which I'm not used to."
The last time O saw or spoke to his former bandmates, he said, was right before 2004 started. They had to perform two shows at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and O was physically not up to the task. He had to be carted off to the hospital.
"After the second show I was so fatigued," the braided singer said. "It was two shows, I wasn't ready for that. Two hours after the show we went to the hospital. I had to get from D.C. to L.A. because they thought they would have to do some major procedures. They checked everything and I'm all good."
In the few days it took for Omarion to heal, the rest of the tour was postponed and the group's breakup was announced (see "Are B2K Breaking Up?").
"After I got back home, we was trying to get in touch with them but numbers were changed. I didn't receive as much as a call when I was in the hospital," O said. "That kind of reassured me like, 'Oh, it's all over.' "
As for whether B2K can be salvaged, O replied, "I don't think so, but at this point I don't even know. I haven't talked to them. It's a real sad situation. I apologize to all my fans. It's something right now that's being blown so far out of proportion, [we have to do] more than just sit down and talk as men. The situation is way bigger than what it could have been."
A few minutes later he felt more optimistic and suggested, "Over time, wounds will heal."
O won't have much time to let the melancholy linger. B2K's movie, "You Got Served," opens in theaters January 30, and Omarion's solo album is slated for March (see "Omarion's First Post-B2K Album Due In March"). Among the people he wants to work with are R. Kelly, the Neptunes and Missy Elliott.