Around this time 10 years ago, Marcus Cooper aka Pleasure P was in the studio crafting his first solo album, The Introduction Of Marcus Cooper, alongside a gang of revered producers — including Tank, Static Major, and Rico Love. The LP, which was released in 2009, contains his most successful single thus far “Boyfriend #2” and was nominated for ‘Best Contemporary R&B Album’ while the LP’s other single “Under” received two nominations for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. Now he’s out to prove that he can do it all over again.
After spending the last decade dropping a handful of singles and teasing the official Pretty Ricky reunion, Cooper is aiming to outdo himself in 2018 with new music, and a major role in VH1’s trending TV series Love & Hip-Hop: Miami. Before the show made its official debut, we caught up with Pleasure P at his favorite restaurant on South Beach, Prime 112. Before he set out to complete his long to-do list, Cooper sat at the bar next to his go-to producer Rico Love as he devoured delectable seabass and collard greens for lunch.
“You got the Miami legends on the show, and they all cool,” Pleasure P tells VIBE. “The great thing is we’re going to have Khaled on TV, we’re all going to be on TV. Miami is going to be everywhere, and there’s going to be so much opportunity to come from it.”
The opportunity for his unique R&B group to make a full comeback is ripe for the taking. Cooper left the group in 2007 to focus on his solo career. In response, the group did the most to replace P several times with singers like Lingerie, 4Play, and Mowet. Despite their self-titled third studio album falling short of expected sales in 2009, Pretty Ricky has two certified Gold albums, Bluestars and Late Night Special, under their belt plus an immense fanbase that has remained stable throughout the years on social media. As one of the main subjects of LHHMIA, Pleasure P believes the group’s comeback couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Dade County version of the popular VH1 show features untold storylines from Trick Daddy, Trina, Amara La Negra, and of course, Pretty Ricky. The lead vocalist of the Broward based rapping quartet is spearheading the reunion with Baby Blue, Spectacular, and Slick ‘Em while his skeptical girlfriend Shay Johnson supports her man while throwing shade at his crew every step of the way.
“I feel like they’ve never given us our props, but they got to give it to us now. It’s time to start recognizing,” Cooper said. “You’re going to see us rekindling our chemistry as a group, and we’re putting this album together with Rico Love as the executive producer. I think we’re going to give people a bit of old but a lot more new, you know what I mean?”
Rico Love is not only working on Pretty Ricky’s fourth studio album, but he’s also curating the vibes for Cooper’s sophomore LP. Unlike Cooper, the Grammy Award-winning producer does not have a major, reoccurring role in Love & Hip-Hop: Miami. Instead of getting caught up in the hype of the first season based in Miami, Love is laser focused on developing the group’s more mature sound.
“I think when you’re 19-20 years old all you thinking about is f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ck,” Rico said. “Yet as you get older and start being in relationships and maturing, we go from “f*ck” to “make love” to sometimes we still f*ck to sometimes we go through a breakup. Life is just about living and experiencing things and it’s about how you regurgitate that back to the public.”
Based on Love’s take, it seems as though we need to prepare for a grown-and-sexy project from the group. Since 2009, Pretty Ricky has dropped a couple of singles like “Personal Freak” and “Topless” without Cooper. When they first sparked excitement for their reunion in 2015, Pretty Ricky dropped their first single with Cooper called “Puddles,” which is an ode to their classic sound fused with a touch of old school R&B melodies.
While he throws down on Pretty Ricky’s comeback album, Pleasure P is diligently working on his upcoming solo effort, which will also be executively produced by Love. In the past, PLeasure P has jumped on records with Yung Joc, Plies, and Tyga. Yet, unlike other R&B singers who have integrated rap collaborations in their music, Cooper is somewhat scorned by the past and isn’t focused on inviting trending names on his solo album.
“In the past, every time I tried to feature a rapper or something, it just didn’t work out,” Cooper said. “I just don’t like betting on other people, especially when you got money on the line. I can’t play with you. I’ve been in a couple of situations like that where people didn’t commit and had to spend money so it was bad. I just like to make my music and that’s it.”
In the series premiere of ‘Love & Hip-Hop: Miami,’ it’s obvious that his girlfriend, Shay, isn’t here to sit back and watch Pleasure P do all the work required to make Pretty Ricky’s reunion a success. After their first live performance as a group, the drama unfolds as the other members of Pretty Ricky seem to shun the non-believer. Before the end of our lunch, Pleasure P assured us that he’s not planning to capitalize off the drama in order to achieve his fresh goals. In fact, it has no true effect on his hustle, which makes his job a lot easier to do no matter what occurs on the show.
“It’s been work man, but the energy is great,” Cooper said. “We’re good at what we do. That’s not going to change. We’ve got great direction, and a great executive producer so it’s easy to show up to work.”