At the tender age of 11, rapper Lil' Romeo has already achieved something many more-seasoned artists are still hoping for: a No. 1 record.
At the tender age of 11, rapper Lil' Romeo has already achieved something many more-seasoned artists are still hoping for: a No. 1 record. His debut single "My Baby" -- produced by Mike Diesel and flavored by a loop of the Jackson 5's own 1969 No. 1 "I Want You Back" -- reached that hallowed position on Billboard?s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart after only six weeks. It currently stands at No. 2 on the chart.
Coming July 3 is Lil' Romeo's eponymous album on SME/Priority Records. Oh, and by the way, he's also the son of rapper/entrepreneur Master P, who says of his son's first charting record, "We knew we had something good with this single."
Lil' Romeo (aka Percy Romeo Miller) wrote most of the songs on the 16-track album, which is a gumbo of sounds. There's the bounce flavor of the South on such cuts as "Where They At," featuring his dad; "CP3"; and "That's Kool," a remix featuring Romeo's uncle, Silkk the Shocker. Other songs, such as "The Girlies," "Little Star," and "Make You Dance," are hip-hop/R&B/pop-oriented.
In addition to his dad -- who says, "I kind of oversee Romeo when he writes to make sure he's going in the right direction" -- Lil' Romeo uses other family members as a sounding board for his music.
"I know it's a hot track when my cousins like it and start bouncing to the music," explains the fifth grader, who's a straight-A student. "If nobody bounces to the music, it's not a beat for me."
He's also very clear on who his audience is. "I write for the kids," says the New Orleans native. "One of my songs is called 'Your ABCs.' If the little kids can sing my song, then they can learn their ABCs."
No Limit VP Barbara Pescosolido thinks Lil' Romeo's album will attract a broad demographic. "He's made a record that people of all ages can appreciate," she says. "Not only is he invading the teen market, he's also reaching younger kids who can relate to his music and understand the subjects he's talking about."
Lil' Romeo has been making the radio and retail rounds, winning the hearts of more than just the young girls. "Romeo is well on his way to stardom," says Violet Brown, director of urban music for Wherehouse Entertainment. "He has it all-looks, personality, intellect, and talent. This is an album parents can feel good about buying for their kids."
With that in mind, Pescosolido says that Lil' Romeo will attend roller-skating parties in major markets to promote the album. Those markets include New York , Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. This fall the back-to-school crowd will have the opportunity to sport Lil' Romeo backpacks, book covers, and pencils.
In addition to doing some spot dates on the current 'N Sync tour, as well as some shows with teen singer Aaron Carter in June, Lil' Romeo will be featured in a half-hour special on Nickelodeon's Teen Nick concert series. It bows July 1, with repeat broadcasts throughout the summer.
The "My Baby" video, directed by Nick Quested, has been serviced to MTV and the Disney Channel, with it notching No. 1 on BET's 106 & Park and Nickelodeon's Slimetime Live. Lil' Romeo has also made appearances on TV's Jenny Jones, Rap City, and Soul Train.