A Short Convo With… Dawn & Kaleena of Dirty Money
Diddy’s Angels speak on repping for the fairer sex on Last Train to Paris…
VIBE: Diddy’s compared the group to B.B.D. and Prince and The Revolution. Do you have anyone that you’d liken yourselves to?
Kalenna: He says Jodeci, but I don’t think I could compare it to anything I’ve ever heard. It started off with a blueprint, Loose Ends, Soul II Soul and things like that. But then it kind of evolved into something that I haven’t heard before.
Last Train to Paris is a story of lost love. Can you describe it a little further?
Dawn: It’s the woman’s point of view. Puff had an idea of finding love, losing love and finding love again as a storyline, but he just didn’t want one perspective. We tell the opposite side and make the love story complete as narrators. We can relate to the story. If they split up, what is she thinking? So it’s through the eyes of both parties.
So you guys are doing everything from being affectionate to yelling at him?
Dawn: Oh yeah. And loving him. All of that. It’s our whole journey together.
Ladies, you two are professional singers. Diddy’s more of an entertainer. What’s it like to watch try to sing?
Dawn: It’s beautiful. His work ethic is amazing. He doesn’t stop until the note sounds how it’s supposed to sound. And it’s not like, “Oh, I’m going to make this note sound perfect.” It’s the emotion. The emotion has to be perfect and match to the vocals of the song. And I think he’s executed that so well. If anything, we’re learning from each other. We’ll do it 300 times. Just because we see how hard he works. People are going to be pleasantly surprised. Especially if you don’t look at him as a singer, but as an instrument, someone evoking an emotion and making it visual.
Everyone has a story about how much a hard worker Diddy is in the studio. Can you share one?
Kelenna: When I first started working with Puff, I was just writing. I came in to write “Strobe Lights.” I swear I wrote that 152 times. I knew what he was thinking in his head. Which was “I know you’re dope. But have other options to see if that dopeness is really what it is. See if this dopeness can eliminate this dopeness.” And I respected that. It was a new process for me just being a writer and being able to put what you want to put on the stove and cook it. He’s like, “No, no, no. We’ve got to go kill the cow, we’ve got to make the cowhide a rug…” [Laughs]
Are there any particular tracks that you are excited for people to hear?
Dawn: I’m a fan of the two records we have out right now. “Angels” is a very powerful record with Biggie on it. And I love “Love Come Down,” because it still has content, but it’s a big club record. But we fight every day about what records we want to keep. I’m a fan of this movement and what it represents and what mountains we’ll tear down with the dark-skinned girl. People wouldn’t have been able to conceive this two years ago, that two girls who don’t have a name, really, could stand next to Puff and he’d let us shine. And he’s allowing that, and going beyond. –Brad Wete