112: The Timeless Legacy of the Grammy Award Winning Group

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They are one of the most successful R&B groups in music history. Their self-titled debut album skyrocketed up the Billboard music chart, peaking at the number two spot. Out of six released albums, they’ve had one reach gold status, and the others went platinum and double platinum. They have been touring the world for nearly three decades, performing before sold-out crowds and still going strong.

The Fleet Mag reporter Becky Gaston, AKA DJ Pynk Dyamond, caught up with Grammy Award winning group 112 for an in-depth interview. They discussed the group’s lengthy music career, future projects, and what drives them to be one of the most profound groups in the music industry.

112 was formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in the early 90s. They met in high school and discovered they each shared a passion for singing and music. They decided to combine their talents, form a group, and name themselves Forte. Each time Forte performed, they wowed audiences with their perfect pitch harmonies and impressive vocal range. They became a prominent group throughout Atlanta and surrounding areas. Their manager at the time, Kevin Wales, was able to set up an audition for the group with Sean Combs outside of Atlanta’s Club 112. When Combs saw the guys perform, he knew they were something special. He signed them to a contract with Bad Boys Records, changed their name, and 112 was born.

During the interview, Slim gave us the backstory of the group and their success. In 2003, they left Bad Boy Records and joined Def Jam. Under their new label, they dropped the album “Hot & Wet,” which reached gold status, and followed up with the platinum selling album “Pleasure and Pain.” After releasing the two successful projects 112 took a hiatus from music but reunited in 2012, dropped another album, and went on tour. During this period, two members decided to leave the group, but Slim and Mike continued to make music together as 112, now as a duo.

When asked about upcoming tours, Mike told us they were heading to Germany to perform, and when they arrive back in the U.S., they will gear up for The Kings of R&B Tour. “We are excited about the opportunity to still be out here touring 28 years later, still doing what we do,” Mike said.

112 has always strived to be a group that releases timeless music, and they have surpassed that goal. Today, we still hear their past hit songs on the radio, online, and on TV. Some of the songs include “Peaches & Cream,” “Anywhere,” “Cupid,” and “U Already Know.” They are extremely proud to know people are still singing and listening to their music that was released decades ago.

Slim stated, “We are blessed and very humble that we can go anywhere in the world, and they might not be able to speak English, but they know all of our records word for word, and that part right there makes us feel like mission accomplished.”

112’s style and music is simply amazing, and I’m sure their worldwide fanbase will totally agree. We asked who did they listen to growing up that influenced them to be the elite artists that they are today.

“For me, it was always the big tenor/baritone singing gospel dudes that influenced me like Marvin Winans, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, K-Ci from Jodeci, Otis Redding, David Ruffin, and Sam Cooke,” Mike said.

Slim gravitated to a slightly different type of recording artist, he favored singers that, in his words, have a “signature voice.” His influences include Babyface, El Debarge, Smokie Robinson, Ron Isley, and Raphael Saadiq. He admired these artists because the moment you hear their voice, you know exactly who they are. Many of us can also agree, Slim definitely falls within the “signature voice” category with his unique tone.

112 has achieved something that many recording artists can only dream of doing: staying relevant in a saturated industry for nearly three decades. But what is their biggest reward?

“Our biggest reward is longevity because when we are dead and gone people will still be able to listen to our music. We’ll always live forever in our music. The fact that we created something that the world appreciated and we will always have a fanbase. Our fans listen to our music with their kids and it goes on and on. It’s generational,” said Mike.

With all of this success and hit records, we asked the one question that fans around the world want to know: when will more music be released? Slim had a perfectly good response to that.

“We are not a group to put out 10 to 12 albums and only 3 of them do good. For us its more like quality over quantity. Around pandemic time we noticed a lot of social issues going on in the African American community and that inspired us to drop a record called ‘For Us”. It drew a lot of attention and we were nominated for a Grammy for it and that was a blessing, but we have to be inspired.”

When 112 is not touring, Slim works with a lot of young recording artists, guiding them and providing advice on how to create great music and avoid industry pitfalls. He encourages young artists to use real instruments in their music, not an abundance of plugins. He also explains the importance of harmonizing, which was a key factor in making great music in the “Golden Era” of 90s music.

Slim also praised our Fleet DJs team for playing a role in the success of his solo project.

‘Big shoutout to the Fleet DJs, you were very instrumental in “So Fly” going top five and double platinum and I did that independently. I have this thing that I would say, DJs make the world go round. So I love and I am very familiar with your DJ conferences. Fleet DJs definitely played a strong part of my solo success. So I really appreciate that. “So Fly” and “Good Lovin”, you all really held me down. That was a top twenty record and a top five joint.”

112 is one of the greatest R&B groups of all time. Even as they transitioned from a quartet to a duo, Slim and Mike have gone above and beyond to keep the 112 legacy alive. They have been and will always be music icons in the world of music.

Follow 112 on social media to find out when they will drop more great music and perform in a city near you.

Interview: by DJ Pynk Dyamond / Article Written by: JP

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