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.

__

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.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Premiere: YFN Lucci Has A Bad Break-Up In "Ride For Me" Video

Earlier this year, ATL's YFN Lucci released his Gangsta Grillz mixtape 650Luc. One of the many standouts on the 17-song effort is the lovelorn track titled, "Ride for Me" featuring Yungeen Ace.

Today (Oct. 25), the "Everyday We Lit" rapper linked with VIBE to premiere the song's visuals. In the video, Lucci is hurt by the fact that his girl isn't the ride-or-die woman she claimed to be. After having a disagreement with his significant other, the former lovers part ways.

"This song is a message to let women know that as men we need a ride-or-die and not a nagger," Lucci says to VIBE. Other standouts on 650Luc include "I'm Gone," "Backend," "Pull Up With A 100," and the Trey Songz-assisted radio banger, "All Night Long."

Last year, Lucci spoke to VIBE about waxing poetic about his trials and tribulations.

"I’m rapping about true stories. I’m talking about sh*t that matters, sh*t people are going to feel," Lucci said. "On this project (Ray Ray from Summerhill) it’s more on that Wish Me Well feel. I’m rapping—I’ve always rapped, but I’m singing on my hooks. But you have to listen to what I’m saying. I’m telling you about my life, my past. I made it rapping. I’m from Summerhill. We don’t make it out of there."

Watch the video for "Ride for Me" above.

Continue Reading

Premiere: Sareem Poems Dissects Impact Of Social Media In 'No Fly Zone' Video

People of all ages have succumbed to the power of social media, and in his new music video for "No Fly Zone," Sareem Poems looks for a way out.

The Travis Hayward-directed video depicts Sareem Poems alone in a woodsy, railroaded area, dropping rhymes about our needs to keep up with each other's false self depictions, the trauma from seeing violence on our screens, and fears how things may become worse. Fans of thoughtful, laid back hip-hop from acts like A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots will be right at home with this record.

"'No Fly Zone' is a song about the pressure social media puts on people. What we look like when we leave the house, what we listen to, etc. Is based around a highlight reel published for likes," Sareem Poems told VIBE. "For most, it’s hard to enjoy a peaceful moment. Checking the phone, taking a picture of yourself, food, etc. is all done in the company of friends and alone. Putting your phone on silent is cool. But, you can still see it light up.

"I think more Desperate measures are needed," he continued. "Put your phone on airplane mode. Take the time to rediscover the things that make you, you. Writing this was for me too. I fall in line with everything I said in the song. I've been missing out on special moments, all because I had my eyes focused on my phone instead of the people and events right in front of me."

"No Fly Zone" appears on 88 To Now, the new album by Sareem Poems and producer Newselph. Stream or buy it on your preferred services.

Continue Reading

Premiere: ALA.NI Enlists Lakeith Stanfield For Wistful 'VanP'

On her new single with actor/rapper Lakeith Stanfield, ALA.NI is fed up with a love interest who won't get their shit together – and she's ready to move on for greener pastures instead of continuing to waste her time.

"Got no patience with this masquerade / I'm not falling till you catch my wave / and there's beauty only steps away / all these silly games you want to play," ALA.NI laments, before Lakeith Stanfield (known for his roles in Get Out and Atlanta) delivers a frustrated, fearful verse about losing something special.

But part of what makes "VanP" special is the instrumental. ALA.NI initially planned for upcoming record ACCA to be an acapella album, so much of the album is made up of human voices. ALA.NI's arrangement is rooted in a moody beatbox by Dave Crowe and supplemented with a bass guitar by Phil Simmonds, lending to a sparse, spacious soundbed that leaves space for ALA.NI's breathy vocals to shine.

"The session took place in LA on a hot summer's day at Stone Throw's studio," ALA.NI told VIBE, referring to the iconic indie label that's been home to acts like Madlib, J Dilla and more. "Super cool. With posters all over the walls of MF DOOM and of course J Dilla...legend!!! So the pressure was on to stand in the home of these hip hop gods."

ACCA is ALA.NI's sophomore album, the follow-up to the Paris-based artist's 2017 debut You & I, and scheduled for a January 24, 2020 release date.

Continue Reading

Top Stories