This interview originally appeared on EARSTYLE February 26th, 2010
Before there was Pretty Ricky there was H-Town. Known for their bedroom banger “Knockin’ Da Boots”, the duo lost a member in 2003 and now they are back and ready to Knock off the ladies heels with their new single “Knockin’ Your Heels Off” featuring Jodeci and Pretty Ricky. Find out what the group have been up to and what’s the inspiration behind the name of their new album, ‘Child Support’.
How are you doing?
I’m doing alright!
It’s great that we have H-Town speaking with us, today, because one of our favorites songs is actually “Knockin’ Da Boots.” You all have had a long journey to the point where you are, today. In 2003 you all had lost a brother and a group mate. How did that tragedy effect the music and where you are standing, today?
Well, you know, man, it put us kind of in a bad place and you know we didn’t really want to sing, anymore. We went through a stage where we wasn’t sure if it was something we wanted to continue to do without our brother being with us. So, it effected us a lot, man, just mentally and emotionally. So, the fans kind of reached out to us and just let us know they wanted to keep hearing our music. We decided to start back doing shows and we started selling out shows and then people showed us so much love and told us to keep our head up and kind of just gave us the strength to come and continue to perform and record music, again.
What sealed the deal for you all to get back into music and finally decide to get back into the spotlight and work on the new music that’s currently circulating, right now?
Man, seriously, I really give all my credit to my fans, man! They kind of really inspired us…it’s like the legacy of “H-Town,” you know what I’m saying. They just didn’t want to see the legacy of “H-Town” and all the things that me and my brother… you know, that we should not let that legacy die. So, it’s the fans, man.
During the time you all have been gone, many male groups have come and gone. Why do you think it’s so hard for boy bands to have longevity in the industry?
Mainly, because the industry has just changed, man, you know what I’m saying? It’s not really about singing, anymore. The industry is more political, now. A lot of boy bands and a lot of bands from our era, they were considered real singers and, today, we don’t have a lot of real singers, out there. And now-a-days, anybody can cut a record and they don’t even have to know how to sing. That’s what the problem is, today. That’s how the industry changed.
Elaborate on that.
It changed, but it’s just harder for artist, man! Back then, though, it was more about the music. If you had a good record and programs thought the record was good, they had stuff on the radio like, would you “kiss it or diss it,” they would let the public decide more on what they wanted to hear on the radio. And if it was a good record it’s gonna be good, but today you can have a horrible record and if the political side is right, it’s more of a money thing. There’s like a political side, you know what I’m saying? So, I just think that when we were coming along it was just more about the music and the music was good that the programmers were gonna play and they were gonna get it out there ’cause they see that it was somethin’ that the world needs to hear, but now, today, they can have a song that’s not even good and they’ll force it down a throat, know what I’m saying? I just think it’s more like that, to me, now, y’know?
Yeah. It’s definitely harder, right now. So, what are some of your other favorite bands that have hit the scene, whether it was the past, or bands that are currently out, right now, doing their thing?
I like a lot of groups, from my era. A lot of groups like Silk, Jodeci, SWV, Xscape, Boyz II Men, you know, Shai, people like that. That was some of the people that I kind of favored. I’m always giving credit to people like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Prince. People like that. That’s kind of the everyone I pretty much liked and you know what I’m sayin’? It’s not that “feel good” like we did when our era or when Stevie Wonder and all those kind of people was hot, you know what I’m sayin’?
There is a single circulating, right now, “Knockin’ Your Heel’s Off,” which actually features your long time friends, Jodeci, and there is a remix which features Pretty Ricky. Who’s idea was it to get both bands together on that one record?
We decided, you know we, right now, H-Town we’re kind of like a movement, right now. And we’re more of a movement of trying to bring real R&B back. So, we thought maybe what better group to go team up with and do that would be Jodeci, ’cause those were all considered real singers. So, we kind of want to bring the ’90s feel back, on purpose, to give the industry more of a take on the real singing without all of the auto-tuning of the voice, you know what I’m saying? And then we decided to do it with Pretty Ricky ’cause Pretty Ricky was a group that looked up to us and a lot of people say that their dance moves and how they perform on stage reminds them of H-Town. So, we were like maybe that would be a great idea to hook the old with the new, you know what I’m sayin’? So, that’s why we did the remix and we kind of combined the two generations together.
Tell us a little bit about the current project that H-Town is about to promote and are currently going on tour for. What can you tell us about that project?
Well, the name of the project is called, “Child Support” and it’s basically a album that’s taking it back to the bedroom, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s going to be a lot of “taking it back to the bedroom” and we also got some new stuff that we’re experimenting with that people aren’t really used to hearing and we’re kind of taking H-Town to another level, you know what I’m sayin’? And the album is basically– our fans kind of named our album because a lot of females said they need their child support because they made a lot of their babies off of our music such as the “Knockin’ Da Boots” song. They are like, you know, we decided to call the album “Child Support” because so many people were like, “Man! Y’all owe me child support!” We could of started all over, again, we could of put this baby-making music back into the market, but there would be a lot of child support owed, all over again!
(laughs) Alright, so whose some people that you worked with, on the album, producers or any collaborations?
Well, like I said, we worked with Jodeci, Pretty Ricky- and we also have a cut with Lil’ Flip, a rapper out of Houston; and there’s many more to come. Me and my production partner, AFLAK?, we produced most of the whole record, y’know, we started the music and wrote all of the songs, ’cause that’s what H-Town has always done, we always were writers and producers, even on all of the other stuff, “Knockin’ Da Boots” and all of that, we were writers and producers. Me, myself, and my production partner, wrote and produced majority– maybe like 85 to 90% of the album, you know what I’m sayin’? Collaborations, as of now, are Jodeci, Pretty Ricky, we are going to have some with
Lil’ Flip, but we have a couple other things that we are going to pull out the bag before the album is over with that we are trying to lock down.
Okay. So, what’s the date the album should be hitting stores?
You know what, we’re looking at, maybe, the 2nd quarter of March.
The 2nd quarter in March!
What’s going on with touring?
We’re doing spot dates, right now, but we are also working on doing a full out tour. We’re doing a lot of dates, like, you know our schedule is pretty booked up for this month and for next month so we’re doing a lot of dates and planning to do a tour, we’re putting together a tour, right now, and it’s looking like it maybe H-Town and Jodeci and, possibly, Pretty Ricky.
That would be dope! So, if there was one female group that you all could collab with, what female group would that be?
I probably would say TLC.
I think that would be more of a good collaboration!
You did say that the R&B scene has changed– what we hear on the radio is definitely not traditional R&B, like, it’s definitely watered down and has a lot of pop influence, too, actually. So, what artists, right now, are you currently listening to to get that R&B that the H-Town fans are used to? Who are those artists that you think are still holding down R&B and keeping it alive?
Well, really, we don’t have any artists out like that, really, right now, you know what I’m sayin’? There is no Jodeci’s, well there are Jodeci’s, but there aren’t no Silk’s and the SWV’s and Xscape’s. Those are absolutely, not really out. Towards the R&B, now, it’s just hard to say– I think R.Kelly is still holding it down. He’s one of the greatest that’s still holding it down and Trey Songz is not bad, he’s pretty good and he’s doing his thing. So, between them two– and Usher is still doing his thing– so I can say it’s between Usher, Trey Songz, and R.Kelly.
Are there any other projects that H-Town is currently working on? That the fans should know about?
Right now, we’re just, currently, working on getting the album out and getting back on tour. We’re also working on the “Greatest Hits” that we’re putting together featuring unreleased cuts from the last H-Town album that we never did and stuff like that. We are also, currently, working on a few artists from our label that we are trying to get up, right now. So, it’s just stuff like that we’re working on.
Speaking of “Greatest Hits,” what’s one of your favorite H-Town songs? Well, if you have a favorite, what’s your favorite H-Town song or if you have a few what’s some of your favorite tracks?
Some of my favorites are “Emotions,” “Thin Line Between Love And Hate,” “Part-time Lover,” of course “Knockin’ Da Boots”.
If you could change it all for H-Town what would you do differently?
You know, H-Town was never really structured to be with a major company, but then again we’re really considered one of the biggest independent R&B artists in the world and I just think if we had a chance to be with a major label that really, like, you know– we never got a chance to be with a “Columbia Records,” or a “Arista,” or a lot of major companies that were out there, “Jive–” we were always with a small, independent so I feel we didn’t really get a chance to really pick the ?, but we still sold millions of records. If we would had the chance to be with a bigger and more better machine to back us I think we could of been a much bigger group, but so far, it’s all good. I’m satisfied with what we have accomplished throughout our careers.