It’s been five years since Lloyd last appeared on the R&B charts. That’s when his fourth studio album, King of Hearts, debuted and peaked at No. 5 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Now the singer/songwriter has returned with “Tru,” a searing ballad that claimed No. 16 on Hot R&B Songs. But don’t call Lloyd’s five-year absence a comeback.
“I’m simply picking up where I left off,” says Lloyd. “It’s not a comeback. I’m just making up for some lost time.”
And he’s doing so with the most introspective and honest material he’s ever presented, as fans will learn on the forthcoming Tru EP. Beyond the single and its remix featuring 2 Chainz, the Dec. 9 EP is comprised of the tracks “Heavenly Body” featuring Rick Ross, “Holding” and “Excited.” The EP is available for pre-order now. Coming next year is Lloyd’s first album since 2011, Out My Window, via the singer’s Empire-distributed label Young Goldie Music.
“I’ve never attacked the content of my life like this,” says Lloyd, who recently made a cameo appearance on friend Donald Glover’s acclaimed Atlanta series. “The EP and album were inspired by all kinds of biographical storylines of the past few years. And the bottom line message is that there’s nothing wrong with being who you are. I really enjoy the fact that no one is perfect or imperfect. That’s the message I’m sharing.”
The Atlanta-based Lloyd got his start as a member of the boy group N-Toon before going solo in 2003. Like King, his first three albums —Southside, Street Love and Lessons In Love — all debuted in the top five of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with Lessons notching No. 1 (Street, Lessons and King also bowed and peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard 200). Over the course of his career, Lloyd has racked up 22 entries on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, including four top 10s and one No. 1 (“You,” featuring Lil Wayne, spent one week atop the chart in 2007). He’s also posted seven entries on the Billboard Hot 100, including two top 10s: “You” reached No. 9 and “Bedrock” (Young Money featuring Lloyd) reached No. 2 in 2010.
Career success aside, Lloyd says his five-year recording hiatus was more about simply living life than anything else. During that period, he helped his sister graduate from medical school (“a big moment,” says Lloyd), watched his niece being born, earned his GED (“which I wouldn’t have considered before”) and also learned to play the guitar. And out of that sojourn came something else he hadn’t initially anticipated: a renewed openness to experiment musically and lyrically.
“The only thing that can get in the way is yourself,” says Lloyd with a laugh. “And now here was the chance to work on more intimate and experimental material. I didn’t expect to put ‘Tru’ out. I wasn’t even shopping it so I didn’t imagine it would mean any kind of a resurgence. But a friend through a friend through a friend heard it and found me.”
As for his provocative photo on the Tru EP cover taken in north Georgia, Lloyd says its another offshoot of his “way more fearless” outlook. “The same kid fans met before is still deep in me,” he explains. “But this Lloyd is more comfortable in his skin, having eliminated so many fears like how you might look to someone or what someone else may think of you. That’s what I’ve tried to tackle with this photo—and my new music.”