After packing out concert arenas around the country and achieving unprecedented success as members of the history-making quartet B2K, J Boog and Lil Fizz are back as a duo. These days they go by “Fizz and Boog” and after a controversial break-up and a five-year hiatus from the industry they are back, closer than ever, and more tactful than before. They started their own label “Popular Entertainment” and their EP, released this week, will give fans a preview of their album entitled “Nightlife” which hits stores in November. The two are putting the past behind them, and moving forward with a more filtered vision of the music industry. They took a break to speak with us about life, music, and relationships.
How does it feel to be back?
Fizz: It feels good. I mean we’re just working, so it’s good to be back on the road but most importantly it feels totally overwhelming seeing that the fans really do still support us—showing up to autograph signings, coming to take a picture or, just being curious to know when the record is coming out… it’s all overwhelming.
It’s been five years since you two have been in the forefront of the music scene, how have you changed since then?
Boog: It’s been five years, a lot has changed in our lives. We got a chance to take a step back and get with our lawyers and get with our accountants and just learn what that whole game is about—stopped being lazy, like not wanting to read things, you know. And then on the music side, we tried to take what was going on in our lives currently and put that into the project. That’s why we titled it “Nightlife” because we’re 23 and 24 years old and it’s kind of like what we’re doing, we’re just having fun right now, living our lives, going out, partying with our friends—living it up.
Do you talk about really personal issues on this album?
Fizz: Definitely, on this album, we really took our time putting it together. So it’s not just party records, you know. It’s more that goes into the nightlife than just the club. So you’ll be able to listen to it from the time you’re walking out the door, to the time you’re walking back in the door from your long night. We have substance records in there. We have a record called “Empty Bottles” which is about getting over a girl that you just lost and, you really don’t know how else to do it, but to drink. And you wake up to empty bottles all over the floor. We got some deep records, and we slow it down a little for the ladies of course. We have this crazy nasty record on there called “Bite the Pillow.”
What is something you’ve learned since the last time you had an album out?
Fizz: Paying attention to the songs you’re recording before you record them so the album still has a concept. I learned that this time where I put the album together with Boog rather than the label [where you’re] putting it together and spending time in the studio recording songs which never were completed or made the album. So this time it was a bit different.
Boog: Make sure you speak up on the things you do not really care for as far as things you have recorded, because once they’re out you cant really take them back. This time we were more conscious of that.
When you were out before you had a lot of younger fans and some that were the same age as you but you two have obviously grown up, and those fans you spoke to before have grown, so who is your audience now?
Fizz: I would say definitely a younger audience, but at the same time a more mature side. We’re not trying to grow up too fast. We’re just trying to do us. All the fans that were B2K fans that are now our age will be able to really take heed to this album.
Boog: I think that with the songs that we put on the album and the things we have been through, it will come across in interviews that we have evolved…we’ve been through a lot. This album captures more than the party aspect of [the nightlife], it captures the more mature side of us and things we’ve been through in our relationships that create empty bottles. I know I been through it where I had to take a couple drinks so I wouldn’t have to think—and not call.
Was there ever a point where you thought maybe you wouldn’t put out another album?
Fizz: I think during those years we have been putting this project together there was never a worry or a thought in our head as to when this project was going to come out. It was always a focus of, “Let’s make sure this is right,” so that when we do present it to the world, there won’t be any second guessing.
Did you have more creative freedom with this project?
Fizz: Oh yea definitely, we started our own label, Popular Entertainment, and that’s how this whole project came out about. We wanted to be business men. We wanted to take the backseat and see what was going on in the business field so we started our label. We have a duo act and a kid rapper as well. After putting them through artist development, seeing how it was going and how much time it was really taking we thought, “Man, we gotta launch this label now so we thought what better than to put ourselves out first.
Boog: We did a joint venture with Arsenal Records, which is an independent company and its backed by some really powerful people in the industry, so we figured if we we’re going to go independent, we need to combine our heads with some brains that’s been doing this for a while.
How did you come up with the name Popular Entertainment and what impression do you want people to get from it?
Fizz: We have a really good friend his name is Taj Standsberry, he actually directed our video. When we first started this label which was two years ago, we were sitting down with Taj doing some other business and we were like, “Man, you know what, with everything we got going on together we should start just one big company and put our heads together to see what we come up with.” We have our branding manager who is like really big right now. We have the best internet web designers right now, so Taj just pointed out that we’re like those popular kids that everybody comes to for certain things in those fields, so we should just call ourselves “Popular.” So Taj took Popular Kid, which is the film side of the company and me and Boog got Popular Entertainment which is the music side.
Boog: We want everyone to think when they hear Popular Entertainment not just about the music but know that there’s a film side to it, its total entertainment. We manage actors, actresses everything, photographers, writers screen writers, so when you hear Popular entertainment we want you to think of a company you can come get service from. We’re resourceful, we could help you out with pretty much anything that you need.
Did you two write a majority of the album?
Fizz: Yea, definitely. We collabed with a few artists and producers – 1500 or Nothin, another producer by the name of Jade-O, and another producer Frank E. We have a couple more producers we worked with too but those are the ones we pretty much collabed with.
You two seem to have your hands in quite a few different areas so what can we expect from you in the next year?
Boog: In the next year, we’re putting together a big tour, a US and also a UK tour. So we’re really really just trying to get back on the road so we can get back to hugging our fans and let everybody know that it’s real. That Fizz and Boog are really back. On the flipside though we’re putting together something with MTV like somewhat of a reality show. I can’t go too much into that.
You mentioned on 106 and park, some kind of project that was coming out in reference to the allegations and all the questions the public has, is this connected with that?
Fizz: That’s a secret popular project that’s in the works.
You two have pretty much grown up in show business and were always being watched, how has that affected your ability to grow as an artist and as a person?
Fizz: I think the five year break was good because it gave us a chance to go home and just get a grasp of reality. Being able to grow up again and stay in contact with friends and just be home for a minute. Get a dose of what real life is like. I think that had a lot to do with it.
Boog: It just gave us a chance to get a sense of reality. Bring us back down to earth. Not that we were cocky or arrogant or anything like that but you know how the world of entertainment can be. It can be a tornado or hurricane where you just got so much going on you really can’t get a hold of who you really are. So going back home and being able to kick it with your mom, your dad, your grand parents, your cousins, your friends, it just helps let you know what’s going on in the world because in entertainment you kind of lose sight of what’s really going on in the streets and what people are really feeling and what they’re not feeling. It gave us good research time.
You mentioned that it gave you a chance to get a grasp of reality, what is your reality like?
Fizz: Our reality is pretty much average. When we’re at home that’s what its about its about home, family, our friends our relatives spending time with them but at the same time getting them to understand what it is we have to do in order to support everybody. Within those years we got a chance to experience what its like to be home and give up certain aspects of the business in order to get that relationship back that we needed with our family.
What is something that really shaped your experience being away from the spotlight?
Boog: I could tell a story, about every month–not even every month, like every 3 weeks, you got the mortgage you got the car note, you got the house bills, and that’s the reminder of what it is you need to be doing. Because like Fizz said sometimes our family gets the availability mixed up and we still have to go out there and work. And that reminder on the first is that this is what you need to be doing you gotta get back to work. You gotta keep it going you gotta keep it moving because everything else is going to continue to move and if you don’t keep moving you’re going to get left behind.
True. Now there is so much out there on you, and on B2K and there are so many rumors it’s hard to differentiate fact from fiction. I know your fans must be equally confused and they want to support and defend you but they don’t know what is going on or what happened or what the truth is. How do you respond to all the “stuff” that’s out there, what would you like to clear up?
Fizz: Fizz and Boog is Fizz and Boog and if you aint hear it from us then it’s not true.
Boog: We also want to send a message to all the B2K fans that want to see a reunion happen and see us go on tour like the four of us, Fizz and Boog are totally with it, we’re not against it. There’s no beef going on with the members of B2K so just keep your eyes open and your ears listening because you just might get what you’re looking for.
Have you spoke with Omarion or Raz-B recently?
Fizz: We keep everything cordial but we aren’t in touch everyday or anything.
Why don’t you two work with Raz-B anymore?
Fizz: We tried and it just didn’t work. Me and Boog been best friends since we were like 12 years old so we are on the same page with everything that we do. Even when we aren’t doing music we’re doing the same thing, running Popular Entertainment, or playing basketball whatever it is. We’re doing it together.
And so the reality show that surfaced a few months back on YouTube is not happening anymore?
Fizz: No, it just didn’t work. But, we have 6 webisodes we are putting out on Myspace two every week. So if you go on the Myspace music page there will be webisodes every week of Me and Boog making this comeback.
If you could go back would you do anything differently?
Boog: I don’t think I would have done anything differently besides having my legal side taken care of a little bit more. I wouldn’t change it at all, sold out venues, black community out supporting something they love, I loved it.
Are there any crazy stories we haven’t heard about from the B2K days?
Fizz: B2K almost went to jail one time. Right after 9/11 we decided to ride the conveyer belt at the airport. And the FDA manager was right on the other side. We had to go through a lot our parents had to write letters to the judge, letters to them. It was crazy. You live and you learn.
Coming back, what are your thoughts on the current state of music and the new artists that have come out since your hiatus?
Boog: I love what’s happening to music. I can’t say that I love the system but I love the artists that are coming out. The artists are more colorful they’re more outspoken, they’re more of themselves than so much of this product that has been packaged to be promoted. I love the Soulja Boys, I love Kanye west, I love Jay-Z. Those are more of the outspoken artists that are just saying how they feel. I believe that that’s where the twitter and the myspace and the facebook come because you can be a little more personal than just screaming at them or catching them at a meet and greet. I feel like with the way we’re all this is going the next thing you know were just going to all be looking at each other. There’s not going to be any texting or typing or anything, its going to be just straight EYE chat. Its crazy but I think its dope I think its good because its giving the fans the opportunity to really decide who they like and who they don’t care for. You get to see people that are genuine and who they say you are and those trying to promote something they are really not.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in music?
Fizz: Definitely stay humble. If it’s your passion, keep at it, don’t ever give up. I tell people all the time, it’s just like sports, like basketball, if you love basketball and you want to go to the NBA you’re going to go outside and shoot the ball and dribble every day. And music is the same, if you love music go in the studio write a song every day keep coming up with concepts keep thinking about who you are and how you can brand yourself. The business is large but there’s a lot of empty space. Its all about branding and getting yourself out there any way you can.
Okay, outside of music, I am sure the females are dying to know, are you single? As they say, the winter time also known as “cuffin’ season” is approaching.
Fizz: I’m single, I don’t know about anybody cuffin’ me but I would like to have a couple of dinners on Thanksgiving.
Boog: We’re married to the music, and always out to mingle, we love the ladies. But the album is entitled Nightlife so how could we resist. Right now I’m looking I’m trying my hardest to stay focused but performing in these clubs performing every night its crazy right now. Its difficult. But I’m available to date. You want to take me out lets go.
Check out their video “Bounce” featured on the Bring it On soundtrack and their upcoming album.
Do you feel like “pretty boys” get a bad wrap?
Fizz: Well I mean you have the people who stereotype who judge but that’s not what you should do. I never judge a book by it’s cover. I definitely get the people that come up to me saying oh I’m sure you talk to a million girls that does happen but you cant really judge.
What qualities do you look for in a female?
Fizz: Intelligence, definitely good hygiene—keep her nails and feet done, her hair done, pretty smile, somebody who can cook, gets along with the family.
Boog: My biggest qualities first is hygiene, and the second is just being able to hold a conversation. I’ve met a lot of women in my life so beautiful is not always the first thing that catces my eye or big butt or big breasts. So that’s what plays the biggest part for me, the brain, like can you sit down and really talk to me.
What’s your biggest turn off?
Fizz: You know what I can’t stand. I hate when people don’t ask and they just snatch my ponytail to see if its real. My hair is real.
Boog: My biggest turn off is when a woman throws herself at me, I’m not really a fan of that because I kind of like to stalk and chase a little bit that’s my biggest turn off. Its cool to approach me and just have general conversation but to throw yourself at me and ask me what I’m doing tonight and can you get my number, stuff like that doesn’t really catch my eye. Because it makes me feel like, ok is that what you do? Like to know who I am and be like—you know what I’d do to you, I’d eat you alive, its like whoa! And your name is!? There’s some guys who look at it like an easy night but for me its like okay is this what you do, I’m not the only celeb that comes in town. I’m a little more conscious of what I do.
What are your thoughts on family?
Fizz: I love my family, my family is hilarious. They never treat me different because of what I do. Especially my mom, I was raised in a single mother household, so she’s been my number one supporter from day one.
Boog: I love my family, my family is who I am, when you see me laughing you see me joking, they’re just where my strength comes from.
Boog, there’s been a bit of speculation out there about whether or not you are a father. Do you have kids?
Boog: Yea, I put in a little work when I got out the group. My daughter is three and my son is two.
How does it feel being a dad and being out in the limelight again?
Boog: Its hard, and that’s why I said when I go back home I get my strength. I get to look in their eyes and you know see what they want to do the things they ask me to do the places they ask me to take them. And that’s what fuels me to come back and get on the road and dance my little legs off. But it’s hard leaving them.
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