The Squeeze: Q&A With Raz B
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.
Yikes. You recently engaged in a Twitter fight with R&B singer Chris Brown, sparked by your comments about him physically abusing ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Why do you think that got out of control?
Well, it was an interesting situation. First of all, I want to say I'm changing my environment and the people in my camp. I said something in the privacy of my own home along those lines and someone that used to be in camp up to that point took it upon themselves to tweet my message to the world. By the time I got back, there was a big mess to clean up.
So you didn't tweet those messages to Chris Brown?
No. If I had a camera I can show the world which tweets I really tweeted. I read all of Chris' tweets and I feel it got out of line, but I'm glad we're both mature and that we put that behind us. The whole thing could've been avoided.
Why do you think that person in your camp betrayed you that way?
People are always in search of instant gratification. They do whatever they have to do to make themselves look good. You just have to be cautious with the people you keep in your camp. Now I have the right people handling my business. I'll be in China doing exciting things. I'm just getting prepared for 2011 and putting all that other stuff behind me.
So is the beef squashed, as far as you're concerned?
I would love to do a song with Chris Brown. I would love to go on tour with him, too. He's really dope. That's how I feel.
A few weekends ago, a press release stating that former B2K member Omarion was bisexual hit the net and a lot of people were speculating that you might've had something to do with it. What do you say to that?
I am B2K. I am the power of the Universe. The group B2K was a complete mess. There was nothing but lies and intimidation. In order for the group to come back together it would have to be on truth. I have nothing to hide or anything to be ashamed of. People can make up lies all day. I did not make any press release on Omarion, but that's all I will say about that. I will be commenting further on this in a major way soon.
R&B singer Marques Houston has a restraining order against you because he deems you dangerous and thinks you can hurt him and/or Chris Stokes. What do you think about this?
It's sad because he's just trying to discredit my story. Maybe he's scared or feeling guilty because God is rattling his soul about what Marques Houston and Chris Stokes did to me. I can have you guys [Marques Houston and Chris Stokes] put in jail. I don't wan to be around you or Chris anyway. I'll die trying to tell the truth. I am B2K.
What is your goal at this point in terms of that situation?
The whole world needs to understand the world is evil. I forgave my cousin numerous times. I forgave Marques Houston. My intentions aren't to try to get money or get anybody in jail, my mission is to get closer to God. I'm the only person telling the truth. I don't have any support. But you know what? The only support I need is Jesus Christ.