INTERVIEW: 112 Talks New Album And Opinions About The Current State Of R&B
By Isha Thorpe
November 3, 2017
112 is back like it never left! The R&B group first gained massive fame in the 1990s while signed to Bad Boy Records. Now, the quartet has gifted us brand new music to feed our rhythm and blues-flavored souls.
Since releasing its self-titled debut album in 1996, 112 has held a special place in millions of music fans' hearts. Over the course of years; group members Quinnes "Q" Parker, Daron Jones, Marvin "Slim" Scandrick and Michael "Mike" Keith blessed us with some of the smoothest R&B songs we've ever heard -- and they still bop to this very day.
From the 1990s to the early 2000s', 112 released singles like "Only You," "Anywhere," "Peaches & Cream" and so much more. The group's move from Bad Boy to Def Jam Records in 2002 only continued to supply us with hit and hit. Now, 12 years after its last studio album, Pleasure and Pain, 112 released its latest LP entitled Q Mike Slim Daron.
Dropped via Entertainment One, this new project consists of 15 tracks, including the group's latest single "Dangerous Games." iHeartRadio spoke with 112 about Q Mike Slim Daron, the quartet's classic sound, the current state of R&B and much more.
Check out our interview with 112 below. Buy Q Mike Slim Daron here.
Why did you come up with the name Q Mike Slim Daron for your album? Is it because it's personal?
Mike: That's good. But, that's not it (laughs). We decided to name this album Q Mike Slim Daron because we wanted to show the world that this was the epitome of each guy and what they bring to the table. Pretty much like what Q brings to the table, what Mike brings to the table, what Slim brings to the table, what Daron brings to the table. It's funny, even after 21 years of doing it, people are still trying to figure out which guy is what because the group was built on unity and just being this uber group, as opposed to the individual.
So, we decided now is the time for us to start branding ourselves individually within the group dynamic. So, that's the reason why we named the album Q Mike Slim Daron because we got tired of me being the short one and him being the tall one (laughs).
This is your first album in 12 years. Was that a coincidence or because your name is 112?
Q: Think about it. We came out in '96, so we're celebrating our 21 years. And I'm starting at 18 and just grinding and grinding. We just all agreed that let's just take a moment, take a breather and let everybody kinda explore their individuality. But, even in doing that, we remained on the road, [we] always have been a touring.
We decided like, 'Yo, it's about time.' The fans were speaking. They were jugging at us like, 'Hey guys, hey, we love you guys. Let me hear something.' And the time was just right. We got in the studio and six months later, here we are. Album number six, October 27th, Q Mike Slim and Daron.
Is there anything different about this album when you compare it to your last albums? Is your sound different?
Slim: This right here is just straight classic 112. It's just like us at our best, at our height of R&B. We're coming out at a time where music has definitely changed. And we know [with] our last album, R&B sounded a little bit different. Who would have thought that being true to ourselves would have brought a breath of fresh air? So, it's not old school. It feels retro.
You've been touring for years, especially with the Bad Boy Reunion Tour. How was that experience?
Daron: It was an incredible experience. Just being back with the family. Total, Carl Thomas, Mario Winans, Diddy; it was just really an amazing experience. And just to kinda know that the fans were still there, and we were doing arenas, and the production on the tour was incredible. One of my favorite tours to date that we've done, so far. I loved it and it was just good to see that the fans were still there.
What do you think are the key elements for good R&B music?
Mike: It's gotta touch your soul. It has to reach somewhere deep down inside you. We live in a world where everything is just so instantaneous. You gotta have the instant gratification right now. Whereas, when we came up, we sat down and we actually had time to experience things around it. I think that's where our music originates from. It's still from just that mindset of having the time to actually appreciate what's going on, and that's where our music really comes from.
So, R&B really, you have to understand where R&B originated from. From the time of slavery when it was a lot of call and response. And from call and response, it came gospel. From gospel, it became the blues. And from blues, R&B and rock and roll, and all of these things. You gotta understand, you're not just out here singing for the hell of it. You're doing it because it's touching somewhere deep inside your soul. And that's where R&B music originates from, as far as 112 is concerned.
How do you feel about today's R&B?
Daron: I love today's R&B. I really look at it like when we were young... things get easier for the next generation. So, the generation before us, they didn't have no Pro Tool, they didn't have no computers. So, they had to play live instruments. They had to do takes of songs. So, when the new cats like us came out and we had the beat machine, and we could play the beat on the beat machine, and make a loop out of it, and go and record as many times as we could until we got it right, then them old heads was like, 'Oh man, they ain't doing nothing.'
So, my thing is I don't wanna be that old head talking about the youngins ain't doing nothing because music has evolved. Music is basically still the same. They (new R&B artists) have a different way of expressing the same things that we were expressing in the '90s, and the same things that our forefathers were expressing in the '60s and '70s.
How would you describe your Q Mike Slim Daron album?
Q: The new album; it's fresh, it's vibrant, it's energetic. You really get to hear the true essence of Q, Mike, Slim, Daron from a production standpoint. That's one thing that we pride ourselves in, having an album that's very balanced, having an album of substance and not just throw away records. We've always wanted to make sure our career mirrored longevity, and that our records will live today, next year, five years, 10 years. And what you hear on the new Q Mike Slim Daron album is just a continuation of what we started in 1996. So, now just add this to the collection.
Photos: Rachel Kaplan for iHeartRadio