The Memphis rap duo 8Ball & MJG does not consider its forthcoming album "Ten Toes Down" to be a new beginning, even though it's the pair's first for T.I.'s Grand Hustle label. "It really just feels like another chapter in the book of 8Ball & MJG," 8Ball (ne Premro Smith) tells Billboard.com.
8Ball says he and MJG (Marlon Jermaine Goodwin) "just wanted to give (the album) a lot of wildness, a lot of truth about how we've been feeling about certain things these last three years" since the release of 2007's "Ridin' High," "and keep it crunk. That was the whole premise behind everything." The duo recorded in Memphis and Atlanta, where its Push Management is based, and worked with producers such as Drumma Boy, David Banner, Mo B. Dick, Nard & B and Frank Nitti of Nitti Beats.
8Ball says the three years between albums was a mostly positive time, "just livin' life" and releasing solo projects such as MJG's "Pimp Tight" and 8Ball's "Doin' It Big" collaboration with the Outlawz's E.D.I. He calls the Grand Hustle hook-up a natural move; "All the guys at Grand Hustle have always been with the Ball and G movement, of course, and our manager (Big Du) was real cool with Jason Geter over there at Grand Hustle, and they came together and put it on paper."
"Ten Toes Down" has been preceded by the first street single, "It's Goin' Down," as well as the first official single, "DJ Bring It Back" with Young Dro. 8Ball & MJG also filmed a video for the album's title track, which was written during the first sessions for the album nearly two years ago.
"We went real musical with this album -- a lot of guitars and a lot of live instrumentation," 8Ball notes. "We got live horns and a lot of DJ scratches and stuff like that. We've got a couple of almost blues-influenced songs, too...all the elements to make it a full, rounded project."
8Ball & MJG plan to "promote (the album) to the fullest, and have already started making appearances for "Ten Toes Down," with touring expected after its release. The duo also has some other projects in mind for the near future, though 8Ball says "it's too premature to talk about them right now."