702 Ready For 'Star'-dom

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

The "girls" are back-and they're all grown up. The ladies of 702 -- Kameelah Williams and sisters Misha and Irish Grimstead -- are returning after a four-year hiatus with a more mature attitude and look on their latest Motown set, "Star," due Nov. 19.

The Las Vegas trio is eyeing another chart tenure with its Neptunes-produced current single, the album's title track, which features Clipse.

"Pharrell [Williams of the Neptunes] came up with the idea for the song in the studio," Irish Grimstead says. "He was coming up with ideas as we were all getting a feel for each other and figuring out what direction we wanted to go in. It was a blessing working with Pharrell. We learned a lot, from watching him [play] the drums live to all the other instruments."

702 is no stranger to the charts. The group's 1999 smash, "Where My Girls At?" (written by Missy Elliott), peaked at No. 4 on The Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The group's eponymous sophomore set, also released in 1999, peaked at No. 7 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 34 on The Billboard 200.

Following the success of 702, the group decided to take a break. It left Motown and changed management, and Williams ventured out for a solo career. While she was briefly replaced by Cree Lamore last year, before long the original trio reunited and was back at it in the studio crafting "Star."

"We not only missed each other but also making music for our fans," Williams says. "This is our passion. We had taken time off, and it was a much-needed break. Now we're much stronger as a group than we've ever been. This is the most fun we've ever had making an album."

In other news, look for a 702 appearance on the soundtrack to the upcoming John Leguizamo film "Empire," due in December. The act is also among the spokespersons for Rush Communications' Rap the Vote Campaign. Also on the group's schedule is an appearance on MTV's "Taildaters" -- one of the cable net's highest-rated shows -- in December.

Excerpted from the Nov. 16, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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