Girls-Club-Run-Up-2019
Courtesy of Project Girls Club

D. Woods And Shanell Share Details Behind Project Girls Club: Exclusive

Comprised of D. Woods, Shanell, Mika Means and Princess of Crime Mob, the ladies are taking a grassroots approach with their eclectic girl group. 

There's power in numbers, especially when it comes to black women. YMCMB songstress Shanell, former Danity Kane star D. Woods, Princess of Crime Mob and platinum-selling songwriter Mika Means have merged their talents together to form Project Girls Club, a group that not only boasts big female energy but also a sisterhood like no other.

The ladies' first single "Run Up" is all about the girl power while playing with boastful 808s. The video does the same with the ladies turning up industrial style as their colorful personalities bursts out on every verse.

The group's origins were planted in Atlanta over a decade ago with the women acting as supportive cheerleaders as they moved in their previous groups. After moving on to solo endeavors, the ladies decided to add a music component to the group which also includes mentorship of young girls.

Speaking to VIBE Tuesday (Jan. 22), Shanell and D.Woods, the sisters of the group, shared the creative process behind the first single.

"We put the track on and each girl just went in," Shanell explained. "We kind of feed off each other and that was the vibe. We are a little different than your normal girl group. We feel like power rangers and superheroes so we have that tough exterior. We're still women so we still have a softer side but the tough side is what you might get first."

The ladies know a little something about girl groups. At the start of their careers, three of them were apart of the biggest groups in hip-hop and R&B. Shanell was the sole female vocalist in Lil Wayne's Young Money group comprised of Nicki Minaj and Drake, D. Woods was famously in the platinum-selling girl group Danity Kane while as a teenager, Princess was apart of Atlanta's Crime Mob.

The ladies plan to hit the ground running with more new music and their upcoming album this year.

Check out the rest of the interview below.

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I love the fact that "Run Up" is a confident track as opposed to a love song. Was that a conscientious decision to make the first single more braggy than a love ballad?

D Woods: I think that is just how we are as people. We didn't really have to think about it or make any type of strategic decision of what kind of subject matter. It just came out of how we really talk in every day in conversation.

Shanell: We put the track on and each girl just went in," Shanell explained. "We kind of feed off each other and that was the vibe. We are a little different than your normal girl group. We feel like power rangers and superheroes so we have that tough exterior. We're still women so we still have a softer side but the tough side is what you might get first.

If you could label each woman as a superhero who would be what?

Shanel: I can kind of give you the personalities of each one of us. Like Minka is the party girl, myself, I am like more of like, "Here is the plan," D keeps everybody organized and on task. Princess is our hood spiritual advisor. She's gonna give us a crystal and try and throw you a shot of jack at the same time.

So how did this group come together?

Shanel: We created Project Girls Club years ago with myself D, and Mika. We were all doing shows and mobs of guys would be on stage and there wasn't enough feminine energy.

So we were like, "Let's band together and do all of our shows together. So when you have a show we are gonna come out on stage; if I have a show you're gonna come and support me," so we kind of built it like that.

Then everybody got their deal and started getting pulled away from doing stuff together so much, me signing to Young Money, D being with Danity Kane and Mika doing her solo project, it was hard for us to keep doing stuff together but now, we're wiser and we're experienced

What would you say is the biggest difference between this and other girl groups?

D Woods: For me personally, these are people that I've chosen to work with instead of being put together with that I didn't know. That's the biggest difference. Shanel of course, is my blood sister and Meeka we've known each other since high school, and Princess, we know we cross paths so many different times in the Atlanta music industry so this is like we're coming together because we want to (laughs). That's the difference between me and anyone else's group experience. I was put in a group with people I didn't know and had nothing in common with before–

Shanel: And they were pitted against each other.

D Woods: We were pitted against each other and then put into a group to act like we're all on the same page. Even during the time I was in Danity Kane, there was Project Girls Club. I wanted to include my group into that but we weren't on the same page.

This is a lot being on the same page because we want to be on the same page and seeing the benefits of being on the same page. A lot of times in groups, people are competing against each other and are pushing out one leader and everyone else has to be background singers or just the backup to that person's vision. With this group, we have a hard time explaining that because we see groups, especially those with females, it's like "Who's the leader? What's the look?"

Everyone in Project Girls Group has their own vibe and we don't make anyone else have to be on everyone else's vibe. We celebrate each other's vibe (laughs). I'm not going to make my dream be your dream. Let's figure how to coexist these dreams and push them to the next level.

Shanell: For me, being a part of Young Money it was mostly men. I had Nikki [Minaj] for a while but then she went and did her own thing. It was a lot of creative things I wanted to but there was no female energy. I felt like I was the black sheep. Everyone was super rap and I was doing rock and R&B so I just want to build a place where all of those parts of me can shine. We've all thrived, we've all seen success and we all get it. This is like a more comfortable, a better space for me to tap into every stream of talent I have.

Can you tell us anything about the upcoming album?

Shanel: That's our timeline so we have to set our set dates so that we work toward those dates the project is going to have our plan is to feature as many female artists as we can and leave enough room for us to be on the records.

Shawna reached out and was like, "I want to be a part of this." Sharaya J who was on The Four wants to be a part. We are going to feature a lot of black women in the game and some new girls and just make it a party, make it fun.

D. Woods: Right now we just see black women fighting on TV and talking about taking each other's men and bend it over, pop it open, buss it open for these real ni**as like okay well we are going to be that other thing, that fun thing.

Do you think that because all four of you have these massive hits in your catalogs already that you will revamp those to fit within the group that you are doing now?

D Woods: I mean, that's an idea. I mean we still perform some of those songs for the audience for the audience that is there that is like can we hear something from Young Money and Danity Kane and Crime Mob, like we tap in and give them a little bit of where we came from but right now my focus is in creating this new sound, this new feel, this new vibe, this new culture of women who aren't afraid of each other, who uplift each other, who congratulate each other. What we are hearing and seeing now.

Lastly, what have learned about each other and the process of Project Girls Club?

Shanel: That is a special thing. Of course, we are positive thinkers, we move positively but being that we are all from different walks of life, different experiences, just learning each other's strengths and weaknesses.

When you say women working together it's easier said than done, just people working together is easier said than done so we have to constantly know that that is what we stand for so when we are challenged.

We argue, we bicker and get upset about certain things but it's like okay so we are learning ourselves how sometimes you just gotta figure out how to make it work and understand somebody else's point of view or show them something they don't know and learn something they can teach you. There has been crying, there has been fighting there have been happy days of celebration but it's all apart of this journey.

D. Woods: I joke and say I know everything because she is my sister but you know when you are around people and have known people for as long as we have known each other you tend to generalize people because you are too close to them you can't see the trees through the forest.

In this new stage of Project Girls Club and us having come back together after we have gone out into the world and fought our own battles, we have relearned each other's passions again and then relearned each other's talents and seeing each other's hearts.

We are here to support each other's vision and execute it together so we are learning each other's hearts again and making each other's dreams come true.

Check out the video above and stream "Run Up" by Project Girls Club below.

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Premiere: Papoose Gets Suited And Explains How "Maturity" Focuses On New Album: Endangered Species

Amid these wild times of break-ups and no make-ups, we fortunately get to see more visions of #BlackLove with the likes of the happily married union of rap/tv stars Remy Ma and Papoose. Surviving some of the rough experiences that their early courting to locked-in relationship endured, Papoose in some ways, fell back from going super hard with his burgeoning rap career in supporting his wife and family from the sidelines. Let's be clear through, his rapid fire, high level bar game was and is always on deck and he proves this with the release of his newest single, "Maturity," from his long-awaited album, Endangered Species, dropping today (Oct. 9th).

Papoose explains what he feels is a true coming to terms with his current life status, as the video and song blend perfectly. "'Maturity,' is one of my favorite songs on the album! The time in a man's life when he matures is life changing," he states. "It is the moment that he treats his woman like a Queen, remains loyal, faithful...and puts his family first!"

Looking at the time period production of the video, you can tell this was a different experience for Pap, especially since the leading lady in it is his real life leading lady. "Shooting this maturity video was so much fun. The classical sound of the instruments played in this track reminded me of the 1920's/30's era," he continues with ampness. "My wife once gave me a 1920's themed birthday party. It was the best birthday of my life. I wanted to relive that moment. That's why I shot this video in black and white. 1920's style. Black love."

 

Although it's all love in his life, the troubling  times we are enduring as a people weighs heavy on Pap as well. Always one to lyrically depict the days and times, this new work does just that, but with Pap at his socially sharpest (especially on the heart wrenching track, "Tribute"). "Real artists are an endangered species! Due to police brutality, this pandemic and so much injustice. Our people are also an endangered species.  I didn't choose this album title, it chose me," he states strongly. "I used all live instruments because real musicians are also rare and [they are] endangered species these days. Brady Watt played all the live instruments. He's a true musician."

 

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NEW LP AT MIDNIGHT... "ENDANGERED SPECIES" @papoosepapoose and @bradywattbass have been plotting this album since THIS DAY in February... COVID tried to shut it down but they PUSHED THRU... ENTIRELY PRODUCED BY BRADY WATT...

A post shared by @ djpremier on Oct 8, 2020 at 3:01pm PDT

Getting to the main frame of rapping for the people again, Papoose's energy is in attack mode. You'll hear it on the album, but also see it in how he's active in the streets again. Check him tearing up Funk Flex's new freestyle format series, Block Work. He's still got a way with that alphabetical and numerical slaughter.

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Premiere: Chronixx's “Same Prayer” Music Video Feat. Kabaka Pyramid

Do not be deceived by the gorgeous vistas of Jamaican mountainscape displayed in the visuals for Chronixx's “Same Prayer.”

The subtly crafted song is more concerned with navigating the treacherous terrain of humanity's inner landscape than enjoying the view outside. And it's definitely not all zen, yoga, and spirulina. "There’s so much good in the world," Chronixx sings, "and still evil a lurk." The song finds him beseeching the Almighty (Jah) to protect him and his loved ones (I and I) "from the ones who nuh care 'bout the fact we share the same air / and the blood that we bleed is alike." In other words, it's a song for this exact moment—when people are dying every day and nobody seems to have the answers. A time when we all do what we need to do. Seen? By the end of the third verse, Chronixx is left crying a river of tears and hoping Jah Jah hears. Then it's time to touch the road—"Tuck it inna me waist and start up the bike." Today Boomshots and VIBE proudly premiere the official visuals for "Same Prayer."

This is the second song we've heard from Dela Splash, the follow-up to Chronixx’s Grammy-nominated debut Chronology. Where “Dela Move” explored fast-forward flows and trap-influenced drum patterns, the newly released Zion I Kings–produced track is grounded within the ancient traditions of the Niyabinghi order.

Judging by the first fruits of Chronixx's labor, the sonic palette of the new album will be diverse and the mindset noticeably hardened. Sorta like when 3 Feet High & Rising gave way to De La Soul Is Dead. While any similarities between the Long Island rap trio De La Soul and Jamar McNaughton’s beloved De La Vega City may be coincidental, both artists are attuned to Da Inner Sound Y'all.

“‘Same Prayer’ is, in part, a prayer for the younger generation to reflect on internally," Chronixx explains to Boomshots. "It’s also a reminder that there is a greater power directing things in the physical space." On the timeless tune "Exodus," Bob Marley challenged listeners to "open your eyes and look within." Chronixx approaches his latest release with similar introspection: "Instead of looking for solutions in our material lives," he advises, "we can both reach out to this higher power and look deep within ourselves.”

The Chron Dada is joined on this one by longtime sparring partner Kabaka Pyramid. “It seems only a divine Power can help humanity at this point," says Kabaka. "This song is a call to reach deeply within oneself to find that Power, and ask It to guide and protect against the unknown elements along the way. So many things happening in realms that we are not yet able to perceive with our limited senses. Until we reach that stage we must trust the process with faith and determination."

The creative chemistry between these two artists is bubbling as usual, although Kabaka is better known for rattling off bar after bar of deadly wordplay, "Same Prayer" finds him in a more melodic mood. "Give thanks for this work of art Chronixx," he says, "I’m glad to lend some smooth vocals to it 😅” Don't get it misconstrued though, Kabaka's lyrics are as accurate as ever. When he declares himself to be "confident in the victory," he's quoting Haile Selassie I by way of Bob Marley's classic anti-racist anthem "War."

Kabaka first met Chronixx in April 2011 while celebrating his earthstrong (Rasta slang for "birthday") at Protoje's house in Kingston. "At the time I was recording my first reggae EP Rebel Music," Kabaka recalls, "and Protoje had given me some beats produced by Chronixx and Teflon (Zincfence). Our mutual respect was instant and still remains years later." Since then the pair have given us memorable musical moments like "Mi Alright" and "Blessed is the Man."

"It’s always a joy to collaborate with Chronman because he’s simply a genius in the studio," says Kabaka. "Everything he does somehow just works. On 'Same Prayer' I wrote my verse and he recorded and coached my vocals at Skyline Levels studio. You can give him a lot of the credit for the sweet vocals I delivered—haha.”

Art direction, Editing/VFX: Ivor McCray

Animation: Vo7can

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BH Releases “Code of the Streets” Music Video Feat. Lil Baby

“I love my haters, they my biggest fans,” stated BH on “1 of 1,” his collab with Nipsey Hussle off the landmark Crenshaw mixtape. Hussle encouraged BH—aka Boss Hussle—to focus on music after the young homie recovered from a damn-near fatal shooting sustained while running the streets of the Crenshaw district. “Nip was my mentor with this sh*t,” says the All Money In affiliate who joined Cobby Supreme and YG on stage for an emotional BET Awards tribute to Nipsey in June of 2019.

Over a year since Hussle’s tragic passing, BH has stayed in Marathon mode just like Nip taught him. Today he drops the official music video for “Code of the Streets,” a no-nonsense collaboration with Lil Baby. The visuals were shot in a Beverly Hills mansion with a few of the homies—Cobby, James Harden, Meek Mill, and Young Thug—counting stacks of crisp 100 bills amidst the old master paintings, chandeliers and lion skin rugs. But don’t assume that money is going to BH’s head. “You know how people get rich and they change?” he asks, rhetorically. “No matter how much money I get I’m still hood. I wouldn’t care if I had a billion dollars, bruh. I ain’t switchin’ up. I still come from this.”

BH and Baby’s chemistry on the track feels real because it is. Hussle’s always had strong Atlanta ties—Crenshaw was hosted by DJ Drama and Thugger featured on Victory Lap—and BH would often roll with Nip on trips to the A. “I would f**k with all the cool lil homies,” says BH. “And it just so happen that Baby, Gunna, all these ni**as lit now.”

The new track is taken from BH’s forthcoming project Blueprint, which he’s planning to drop sometime this summer. “I want the people to know no matter what you start with, that don’t mean that’s how you gotta end,” he says. “So I’m basically givin’ em the blueprint of how I did it. If y’all believe in me and what I stand for, this is my blueprint that took me from nothin’ to somethin’.”

BH was raised to abide by certain principles, hence the title “Code of the Streets,” a timely reminder of the rules he adheres to. “Look at Tekashi,” BH says as an example. “Nothin’ against his music—he dope. But that ain’t the f**kin’ code of the streets, man. What the f**k wrong with you, boy? You f**kin’ the code up. Get your bi**h a** outta here! Go raise your family and do whatever the f**k a snitch ni**a do. Don’t come back to music f**kin’ the game up where these kids thinkin’ it cool. Nah. You got ni**as you say you love life in jail. You knew what you was doin’. Don’t fold and give everybody else life and then come back out talkin’ all that sh*t—’I’m the king’ and all this. Ni**a, this is hip hop. This sh*t ain’t built on rats. How you the king? You the king of snitches.”

Speaking to VIBE amidst the wave of Black Lives Matter activism triggered by George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, BH shared his thoughts on the incident. “Man, they did him wrong! My thing is this: if you resisted and you fightin’ and you free, alright it’s one on one. Y’all could fight until whoever get it. But when you in handcuffs and you layin’ on the ground, you can’t even do nothin’. You couldn’t’ hurt the f**kin’ ground if you tried to. Man, why the f**k is he still bein’ choked out like that? He tellin’ you he can’t breathe. You see the man checkin’ out, bro. He can’t even move.”

BH has had enough experience with the LAPD over the years to know what he’s talking about. “The LAPD used to stop me every day,” he says matter of factly. But some days are worse than others. This past November he was pulled over in Beverly Hills by a small army of cops for driving a car that police claimed was stolen. After holding him a gunpoint, police cleared BH of any wrongdoing, but the trauma of the incident still remains.

“They said I fit the description of a stolen car or some bullsh*t,” he says. “My mind state was like ‘BH, I know you been through it. Don’t make them shoot you.’ When they realized it was not me they let me go.”

“Police feel like they can do that sh*t,” says BH, still angry from the experience. “Come on bro. Something got to give. It’s so much sh*t goin’ on that we let slide and go under the rug.” Nipsey may not be around to lead the resistance to the pandemic of racism and police brutality, but his All Money In team is definitely out here making sure The Marathon don’t stop.

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