Starting today (Jan. 20), The Juice will bring to you "The Squeeze," a Q&A series posted every week on Thursdays in which I will, er, squeeze information from artists about relevant issues, gossip, etc.
The first installment kicks off with none-other-than former B2K member Raz B, who had some interesting things to say about his recent Twitter beef with Chris Brown, Marques Houston's order of protection against him, forgiving former manager Chris Stokes and embarking on a three-month-long headlining tour in China.
The Juice: First off, tell your followers what you've been working on lately?
Raz B: Well, I put out a single in 2007 -- the first single off my independent project that's out now. The album, 'Raz B: Follow My Lead,' dropped this last fall digitally and it's doing well. It also dropped physically with distribution through 101 in conjunction with my own B2K Records.
Why did you choose to name your label after the now defunct group?
I own a percentage of that name and want to keep the brand going.
Now that you're a solo artist, what do you hope to do with your music?
There is a lot of misleading music out there, but I want to make my music more cautious. When you send a different message or a different vibration it makes people think in a not-so-productive way. There are a few songs out there, and I would never want to take jabs at anyone, but there are records I listen to and think, 'this is so contrary and against the message of what good music is.' It's not brotherly and I'm against that. It's a blessing to be able to speak to the masses so, don't mislead anyone if you get the opportunity.
What advice would you give to a young artist trying to break into the game?
With ten years in, I consider myself a young veteran in the game -- I have a lot of wisdom to share. In any industry there are negative forces but there are ways to go about it so you aren't corrupted and so that you can accomplish your goal.
What is your relationship now with the members of B2K?
My relationship is everyone has a right to go about their business their own way. When people are going about victimizing me and talking about me... it was childish on my part even to address those things because I'm operating from a standpoint of wisdom.
What exactly are you talking about? The situation with your former manager Chris Stokes?
For so long I was manipulated to think everything was ok, but it wasn't alright. But I speak on what I've seen and what I know. The world is a very cruel place but when you see me out here dying, swimming, falling, where is the brotherly love? Where is the support? They [the members of B2K] left me with no choice. You guys would rather hide this information and allow for someone else to hurt and then at the same time put me in a position to try to discredit my story. I chose to walk in the light. I'm not ashamed of what I went through.
So you're saying the members of B2K didn't support you when you accused Stokes of molesting you? Why do you think that is? Do you think they are hiding something?
A lot of people around me carry the same testament and I personally believe it. Omarion wants to sweep the story under the rug. He doesn't want to talk about the fact that his mom had sex with J-Boog from B2K.