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

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.

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)

Tags: Tank