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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The Elixir Media

Exclusive: T3 of Slum Village Announces Solo EP 'Mr. Fantastic,' Shares Single 'Relax' with IIla J, Frank Nitt

In the mid-1990s the hip hop world was introduced to the Detroit trio of Baatin, Jay Dee (aka J. Dilla), and T3 known as Slum Village with the underground rumblings from their initial underground DIY project Fantastic (Volume 1) onto their first official album, Fantastic Vol. 2. When Slum Village appeared, they marked an important transition taking the vibe of 1990s hip-hop pioneers like Pete Rock, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest into the new millenium, while almost staking claim of the burgeoning sound coming from Detroit. Through the years, members would come and go, some would stay for longer than others, and others would leave us forever. It would be through the one constant of the group, T3, that the legacy would live on into a new generation of fans who would take Slum Village as-is, without the criticism from early enthusiasts that weren't always comfortable with the ever-changing aspects of the group they were passionate about.

After more than 20 years of keeping the Slum Village story alive, through all of its ups and downs, T3 feels like the name of Slum Village is in a good place to close that chapter on a positive note. Now, it’s time for T3 to step out on his own and deliver his solo project Mr. Fantastic, produced entirely by Teeko and Ruckazoid, due out on January 23 through Delicious Vinyl.

One of the aspects of the original Slum Village lineup that was overlooked at the time, but people started to understand long after, is that each member of the group contributed to the overall aesthetic of the group. With Mr. Fantastic, T3 aims to show how he specifically contributed to the sound of Slum Village while experimenting with styles we never seen from him before.

In anticipation for Mr. Fantastic, T3 has released the first single “Relax” featuring Illa J and Frank Nitt. He spoke to VIBE about taking a break from music, managing the personalities of his groupmates, and finally going solo.

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Let’s talk about this new solo project Mr. Fantastic.

This is an EP with Delicious Vinyl. I put it out through them because they have history and credibility for putting out quality products. This is my first solo EP. I did stuff, but this is the first official solo EP. I wanted to make sure it came out through the right situation. I think it’s long overdue. I dedicated 20 years to just Slum Village in all forms and fashion. I just don’t want anything that is on my bucket list before I walk away from music that I saw I didn’t do.

What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you first decided to do Mr. Fantastic?

About two years ago, I had the idea in my head that it was time for me to start doing music. I had stopped doing music and shows for a while. I was online searching for new producers. I was just searching for a new feel. I came across these guys Ruckazoid and Teeko. They inspired me to want to make music. Then I found out that Ruckazoid did one of Baatin’s albums that never came out, which was incredible. I didn’t even know that when I saw him on the Internet. That connection made my connection even greater. It was like a perfect fit. It was like they knew what I wanted to hear without me even knowing these guys at all.

From a personal standpoint, how was it working with Teeko and Ruckazoid?

Those guys are creative geniuses. We had fun. We did these records over a course of a year, but when we work, it was really fast. Working with them is like working with people that know you, but we are still newly friends. It’s just a dope connection. It’s almost like how is this possible?

The first single from Mr. Fantastic is “Relax” featuring Illa J and Frank Nitt. Talk about that record.

That’s a fun record. It’s like a warm up. The concept is as Detroiters, we always feel like we have a chip on our shoulder because they are always counting us out for some strange reason. At this point, we don’t even get offended by it anymore. That makes us extra cocky sometimes because of that. It’s one of those records of us having fun and just telling people that regardless of the doubt, that we’re coming through.

There’s also a song called “Mr. Fantastic” featuring a verse from Baatin. Talk about that song.

That is my favorite record on the album. Basically, it’s a dedication to Baatin and J. Dilla. I don’t think Baatin gets enough credit. I know Dilla gets credit, but I still like to put it all together. Everybody that was in Slum Village contributed to the sound, especially in the beginning days. Doing my solo thing, I have to reintroduce people to my legacy in a different way. That’s the reason why I did this song. I just had an epiphany that I should be doing music and it was time.

What was going on in your life when you weren’t doing music or shows?

I was at the crib very domesticated. I was newly married. You have to find your inner-mojo, which is tough to do sometimes. I tell this to a lot of artists. You can lose your craft and not be able to find it for a while. You have to continue to write and produce and be creative, or you will lose it. I literally had to cut myself off of that and go into my office and just work. Inspire myself. I was used to bouncing stuff off other people. I had to dig into myself and find myself to make these records. I’m happy I’m able to do this now because I don’t need to depend on having a bunch of people to be inspired from. I can go into myself and be inspired.

What inspired you during that time and did you learn anything about yourself?

What I learned about myself is how people may perceive me. I know who I am and I know what I’m capable of, but all my people know is what I show them. When I tell people I’m doing a record and then it never comes out, then people build up this perception about you. I took that time to reflect and I didn’t want to be that type of person anymore. I want to do the things I said I was going to do. That really sparked the inspiration to become a better me.

With all the members that have come and gone through Slum Village and everybody having their own personalities, how did you try to keep all that together throughout the years?

By being very diplomatic. I would try to be the guy that would always see your side, but let’s see if we can come to a compromise. It was different personalities. With Dilla, musically, you just have to wait for him to call upon you and give you that opportunity to provide feedback. Everybody was different. I always had a vision for Slum Village musically anyways because I was always producing and writing the hooks, contributing a lot to Slum Village. So even when other people were coming into the group, people were always wondering why the sound hasn’t changed that much.

What’s the meaning behind the title of the project Mr. Fantastic?

It’s a double meaning. Fantastic is the name of the lead album for Slum Village, period. That’s what got us in the game. I’m saying I’ve been there for the whole legacy and the whole situation, so I’m saying that without saying that. I’m reintroducing myself to people just in case you didn’t know who Slum Village was, who Dilla and Baatin was. I’m doing it in a fun way but still letting people know.

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Gerald Walker

Premiere: Gerald Walker Releases 'Can't Drive A Parked Car'

Rappers have shown entrepreneurial spirit for as long as many of us can remember, starting or buying into clothing lines, alcohol companies, and more. But Chicago rapper Gerald Walker is looking to pair his music with a different world: fragrances.

"In a noisy world where anxiety and stress run rampant I wanted to do something about it. While in Marseille, France this summer I had a⁣n idea of merging smooth, soothing music with fragrances," Walker told VIBE.

"Today that idea is a reality. I’m thrilled to introduce: the Ayọ Fragrance + Design Studio. 'Ayọ' means 'Joy' in Yoruba and every fragrance seeks to catalyze that very emotion through smell."

“Can’t Drive a Parked Car” is a slinky, synthy record that sees Walker prophesying about pursuing one's goals while avoiding procrastination and excuses. It appears on Ayọ Volume One, which will be released on January 3rd, 2020. To get scents that accompany the music, visit http://ayostudios.com.

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Courtesy of Crudo Means Raw

Premiere: Crudo Means Raw And Mabiland Reunite For Jazzy Single "La Titular"

R&B in Español isn't a new exploration, but rapper/producer Crudo Means Raw and vocalist Mabiland's latest collaboration makes it feel scared and fresh. The Colombian artists have joined forces once again for "La Titular," a thoughtful blend of dembow-funk and jazzy chords guaranteed to entice a body roll or two.

Crudo views the track as a moody rap number which makes sense given his inspirations like a Tribe Called Quest, CL Smooth and Sade. In addition to notes of love on "La Titular" it's also one of self-reflection. “La Titular" came at a time when we both found emotional stability and a couple of complicated queens," Mabiland tells VIBE VIVA. "It is also true that it emerged at a time of many changes where in progress; both changing as people, and somehow everything was also in a transition. I always enjoy being able to work with a man I am a fan of and who I call a friend." The two scored a hit last year in the Afro-Colombian fusion space and beyond with “La Mitad De La Mitad,” leading Crudo to collaborate with Juanes and former high school classmate J Balvin.

"All over the city, they were banging that track in nightclubs,” he told Rolling Stone about the track. “It would be the 2 a.m. part of the party where it gets really grimy and ratchet, and they would play my song.” If "La Mitad De La Mitad" is the turn-up, "La Titular" is definitely the futuristic Quiet Storm turn down. Other players on the track include guitarist Byron Sánchez and Las musas (Sandra Moore , Amuna y Alie) on the chorus.

 

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LA TITULAR @mabiland x @crudomeansraw de aleteo en Medellín el próximo 7 de diciembre. Boletería en: www.salallena.com @salallenacom @cooltoarteycalle @madradio.co Dj invitados: @tesheeee @tornall Visual x @ednadaism

A post shared by Mabiland (@mabiland) on Oct 30, 2019 at 11:03am PDT

Enjoy "La Titular" below.

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