Tank-Chicago

R&B Royalty: Tank Woos Chicago Fans, Talks Career, Misconceptions and TGT

VIBE Vixen heads to Tank's Chicago show to find out what he's been up to.

Women flocked from all corners of the Windy City to witness R&B crooner Tank perform fan favorite hits over the weekend (Mar. 13). Melting the hearts of loyal fans, Tank - born Durrell Babbs - wooed a sea of shrieking women at The Shrine nightclub as he performed with his heart on his sleeve. R&B, a genre best served hot, was the night's special, and the Milwaukee native quenched the thirst of dozens. Cameras flashed atop fan's swaying arms as their bodies surrendered to every seductive note.

"Sex Music," the sexy ode to baby making, vexed the audience into a musical daze, catapulting them into a sultry playground of sensuous, timeless music. Answering his every beck and call while grooving in a sold-out crowd to Tank's orgasmic beats, fans rocked attentively, belting every lyric like a sing-a-long. The effortless runs during his 2001 breakout hit "Maybe I Deserve" accompanied only by gentle taps on a keyboard, blanketed the nightclub like clouds on a foggy night, satisfying yearning ears.

After the welcoming performance, a mix of Tank's hits followed, taking fans on an musical roller coaster, emotions in tow, from his signature R&B tunes to the club banger, "Shots Fired" featuring Chris Brown. Between the snippets of alluring bedroom tracks, like "Slowly" off his 2001 Force of Nature album, the 39-year-old playfully interacted with his devotees, even inviting a blushing fan on stage to hold his "mic" after dishing out Andrew Jacksons to ladies for their hair and nail expenses.

Ending in "Please Don't Go," the 2007 single that spent six weeks atop Billboard's Adult R&B chart, included the TGT vocalist taking off his shirt which, arguably to fans, was the highlight of the night. The visual teased hearts and tickled eye gates in a crowd full of screaming women yearning for a touch.

Vixen caught up with the "Stronger" singer and he shared how he got his stage name, his Instagram rant on the state of music and what the world doesn't know about him.

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On stage you had the ladies screaming and laughing, have you always been this funny?
Well, yeah actually, it all started when I was little. I got on the school bus for a field trip and there was this girl I liked in the fourth grade. I got on the bus and I was trying to sit close to her and one of her homegirls said, "Oooh, there go Durrell, don't you like him?" And she was like, "I don't like that square head boy!" So at that moment I figured the looks aren't going to do it so maybe if I'm funny, I can make the girls laugh and that can be my way into another cool conversation. That became my "game" trying to make it comfortable, easy to have a conversation and it kind of works.

How did you get your name?
I had a big head and a big stomach when I was a baby. I used to run around the house making a bunch of noise. My grandmother said, "Tell that tank head boy to sit down somewhere." And she shortened it to Tank and there it was, it just stuck. At first I didn't like the nickname, when my cousins would call me it I would beat them up.

What's going on with TGT?
Everybody is moving and doing their own thing. Tyrese has a new album. Ginuwine is still touring the earth. I'm working on a few projects; my rap artist Siya and my R&B group 12Til and my new album as well. We'll come back at the end of the year or top of 2016 with a new TGT album. Deal is done, papers signed, so we'll do it again.

You ranted on Instagram last year because you felt you didn't get much support. Have you changed your mind about quitting music?
It wasn't necessarily an idea of quitting music, it was an idea of getting everyone to understand the state of music period. Because there's so many closed door conversations, people have so many small round tables and everybody scared to speak up. There is an injustice in the music business, whether we want to accept it or not, even in business and even the world period as it pertains to race and culture. So when the first person addresses it, he's always going to look like the bad guy, who doesn't know what he's talking about. If I'm the scapegoat or have to be the bad guy for people to help initiate change that's fine, I'll be that.

What I did decide was I don't know how to do anything but good music. I would love to just sing about my money or cars and call women b*tches, but it just doesn't work for my gene pool or the way I was created. From my grandmother who's a pastor to my mother who's in the choir and head of many organizations at the church- I'm stuck doing it the way I know.

I was mad. I wasn't just mad for me but for all the R&B producers, singers, and songwriters who put their heart and soul in their music and don't get their just due. If we're going to give bullsh*t a shot, let's give the real sh*t a shot and see what happens and see who wins. But don't handicap us. Don't make our budget smaller. If love loses, then we'll take that. But I think love will win.

What's the biggest misconception about you?
I heard a couple things. I heard I'm too serious. I heard I'm too mean. People think I'm mean when they see me- they think I'm unapproachable because all the pictures are with the straight face, but I'm so far from that. Those are moments and pictures. I'm really a big kid who just likes to have fun. I'm the host who pours all the drinks. We're doing a couple things to try to change the perception.

What's something about you that can't be Goggled?
I'll tell you what can't be googled! What ain't Googleable is I average 7.8 yards a carry in high school. I set the record for longest touchdown from the line of scrimmage, 93 yards, I did that. What's not Googleable is that my first dunk was in a game in eighth grade. What they won't tell you is I won the dance contest at my eighth grade prom! Chris brown who? Ginuwine who? It was me first, okay?

I'm lactose intolerant. Don't bring milk or ice cream around me. I'm still going to eat it, but it's going to be a problem later. I also have really good hair. I cut it short to make you think I got waves on the top, but the sides- I don't know what happened, there was an accident somewhere and I got a tough grade on the sides, but on top, I got that Indian.

Mayweather or Pacquiao?
It's not even going to be close. Mayweather, Money Team.

Photo credit: Instagram(@Quayvo_shots)

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
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Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
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Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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