Year in Music 2017

Lil' Mo Returns With New Label, Baby

Lil' Mo, the self-proclaimed "Mother of Hip-Hop," plans to unveil two significant projects in 2005: her first album for Cash Money/Universal, and her second daughter.

Lil' Mo, the self-proclaimed "Mother of Hip-Hop," plans to unveil two significant projects in 2005: her first album for Cash Money/Universal, and her second daughter. The diminutive singer's new baby is due at the end of February, but she won't have long to relax, as "Syndicated: The Lil' Mo Hour" is scheduled to follow on April 12.

The album has been preceded by the single "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah," featuring hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari and production by newcomer Amadeus. Mo says her pregnancy played a role in choosing the romantic track as the album's introduction.

"With me havin' a baby, I don't wanna come out singin' about my "Goodies'," she tells Billboard.com with a laugh, referencing the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit by R&B vocalist Ciara. "I'm still in love."

The Big Apple native and Baltimore resident says she wound up on Southern powerhouse Cash Money because "it's more hands-on. They're more passionate. Other companies...their rosters were so full, I was like, 'No, I don't wanna get lost in the shuffle.'"

"Sometimes you gotta swim in a different pond to be where you can shine," she continues. "I'm not the only female [on Cash Money], but I'm the only female like myself."

Known initially as Ja Rule's duet partner, Mo released two solo albums on Elektra that were certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for U.S. shipments of 500,000 units. But her contract expired last year while Elektra was being absorbed by Atlantic Records, and uncertainty over the reorganization led her to leave, she says.

"Syndicated" -- the title is a nod to Mo's days as a radio personality -- features an appearance by Cash Money star and co-founder Bryan "Baby" Williams, although Mo says the label's in-house super-producer Mannie Fresh was unavailable because he was completing his own solo album.

But she does team up with frequent collaborator Fabolous once again on the track "Hot Girls." "It's a female anthem," she says. "Cause I don't care how pretty or how ugly you are, females got an issue with themselves. On the intro I say, whether you're size 2, or 200 pounds, we can still get down."

Meanwhile, Mo is already making musical plans for her new baby and older daughter. "They might as well get their singin' voices together," she jokes, "cause they gonna be a group."