It was party central at popular West Hollywood nightspot the Peppermint Club last night (Aug. 18) as hosts Tank and Jamie Foxx welcomed guests including singer-actress LeToya Luckett, producer/A&R executive Hitmaka and singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger to the R&B Money Jam Show. The one-night only event — dress code: “black and gold” — celebrated the release of Tank’s 10th and final album R&B Money on Friday (Aug. 19; R&B Money/Atlantic Records).
For some, “final’ might be a difficult concept to embrace. However, Tank tells Billboard he “feels good” about his career’s next chapter that was triggered in part by loss of hearing in his right ear in 2021.
“Earlier this year, it was like wow … this is going to be my last album,” says the singer-songwriter-producer from the backyard rec room at his L.A.-area home. “But now it’s like, yes! That’s because so many other cool, super-exciting things are happening between my podcast, finding and working with new artists for my R&B Money label with Atlantic, dedicating time to becoming the actor that I want to be and cultivating other ideas that I have. It’s not solely about waiting, auditioning or hoping for a phone call. It’s more about creating my own phone calls and hiring myself for projects I want to develop, direct and/or produce.”
But first things first as the promotion campaign for R&B Money gets underway. Tank, set to perform at DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine in Las Vegas on Sept. 3, describes the last album of his 25-year career as being “very much me; it channels the sex, love and pain that I’m known for.” Pointing out that three-quarters of the album is “almost like an uninterrupted sex tape” — in a nod to his R&B influences such as Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Keith Sweat and Al Green — Tank adds, “The feeling in their music is what inspired me.”
Tank wrote or co-wrote all of the album’s 17 tracks (“How can you beat the number 17, with 1 being the beginning and 7 the completion?” he explains). Standouts among the eight tracks he played for Billboard are the sensual “When You Dance,” sizzler “No Limit” featuring Alex Isley, the insightful “See Through Love” with Chris Brown and the moving “It’s Nothing” (his daughter’s favorite”). Despite the hearing loss, Tank’s emotive vocals and range are still commanding.
Additional guests include Rotimi, Vedo, Blaq Tuxedo, TVERSE, Feather and J. Valentine, who appears on the album’s latest single “Slow” — which has reached a No. 12 peak so far on the R&B Airplay chart. Reaching No. 1 on that same tally are R&B Money’s first two singles: “Can’t Let It Show” and “I Deserve.”
During his recording career, Tank has landed eight albums on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, including five No. 1s. Each of his first eight studio albums also reached the top 20 of the chart. He’s charted 15 songs on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, including a pair of top 10 hits (“Maybe I Deserve” in 2001 and “Please Don’t Go” in 2007). Some of his biggest achievements have come on the Adult R&B Airplay chart. He’s racked up 23 titles there — with six No. 1s and 12 overall top 10 hits. Tank scored his most recent top 10 this summer via a featured spot on J Brown’s “Don’t Rush,” which entered the top 10 in July and climbed to a No. 7 best (so far) in August.
In the midst of completing this last album, the five-time Grammy nominee and J. Valentine recently launched their R&B Money podcast via iHeartMedia and Charlamagne tha God’s Black Effect Podcast Network. Kicking off with actor/comedian/artist Foxx as its first guest, the weekly podcast spotlights the history and ongoing cultural influence of R&B through chats with artists and executives working in the genre.
Intent on furthering his move into acting, Tank co-starred in the Lifetime film Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Story and BET’s American Gangster Presents: Big Fifty — The Delronda Hood Story with Remy Ma. He recalls being bitten by the bug when he was asked to audition for the role of Effie White’s (Jennifer Hudson) younger brother C.C. in the 2006 film Dreamgirls. In the end, it came down to him and actor/singer Keith Robinson, who ultimately got the part.
“I’ve been acting a fool my whole life,” says Tank with a laugh. “Now I’m channeling that and putting it in the right space. The encouragement I’ve received since the Dreamgirls audition and other acting projects from Jamie [Foxx] and others means I’m going in the right direction, so I’ll keep learning and pushing.”
And while R&B Money is his final album, that doesn’t mean Tank won’t be back onstage. He’s been doing gigs as a stand-up comedian as well. “I can’t walk away from the stage,” he pledges. “Right now, however, I’m just rearranging my priorities.”