****EXCLUSIVE RAZ INTERVIEW BY O1LT.COM AND CLIK MAGAZINE******
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The Real R.A.Z.
Written by L.T. Dinwiddie
Go ahead and admit it. I won’t tell anyone, but I know you have at least one B2K album in your collection. It’s probably right next to the Spice Girls which is in between Celine Dion, and Ricky Martin. If you don’t want to admit it, even to yourself, then I will be the first one to “come out of the closet”. Ok I was a B2K fan back in the day, how could you not be?? They were everywhere.
No matter if you were fan or not you can’t take away the success B2K had as a group. We all saw them explode on the scene with hits like "Bump, Bump Bump" featuring Sean "Puffy" Combs, "Girlfriend" and "Gots Ta Be.", but as they were selling millions of CD’s and selling out concert venues, there was a private rift developing between three members, Jay Boog, Lil Fizz, and Raz-B that sparked them to get their own management, and inevitably walk away.
Since then one has had a baby(J boog), the other has wrapped production working on a project with Chris Brown, and Ne-Yo (Lil Fizz), and the other has taken a bold step with his new found solo singing career, and is taking an even bolder step acting on the hit show Noah’s Arc.
As I was sharpening my claws getting prepared for the interview with Raz-B, I thought all was going to be good. My mission for this interview was simple. I wanted to get all the rumors, suspicion, and allegations addressed, and hopefully answered. I wanted to know everything from where he lives, to what he’s actively doing with his career, and of course inquire about his new controversial, guest starting role on the hit scripted series Noah’s Arc.
When word broke out that Raz-B was going to play “gay” for Noah’s second season, tongues were wagging, and blogs where filling up with comments questioning his sexuality, his sexuality, and did I mention his sexuality? But “Raz”, (which is what he wants to be called now) isn’t scared, nervous, or even phased by the speculation. “Controversy, I am controversy, everything I say is controversial”, he says when I inquired about how he feels on making his acting debut on the first all gay network Logo.
Raz’s celebrity status has admittedly descended over these past three years, but he is climbing the ladder again under new management, a new image, a fresh new sound, and is taking a brave step into acting with his new role playing a young HIV+ gay guy on the hit television show Noah’s Arc. He has also taken to the stage performing at gay events, and is encouraging, and welcoming all his gay fans to come out and support him.
On one hand it’s fantastic that there is someone from main stream media, and a male who wants to perform at gay functions, and be respected as an actor, no matter what the part. But on the other I know some of you are looking at him with your head cocked to the side thinking “Umm Hmm”, at his sudden openness and dubious career choices.
This interview was going to be the perfect time to reflect, inquire, and set the record “straight” for the artist formally known as Raz-B. One word that best describes Raz from my interview would be an “anomaly”. But a forced “anomaly” if that’s even the proper way to put it. Raz tried to be evasive and mysterious throughout the entire interview but I wasn’t falling for it.
I had questions that needed to be answered, and I was bringing the heat from the beginning…..
CM: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today
Raz: No Problem
CM: How are you financially since leaving B2K?
Raz: Financially I’m cool, my money is starting to grow, I have it invested in
stocks and bonds, and I’m starting to be a proud investor. I’m looking at
CM: So what do you drive now?
Raz: I drive a Mercedes C 32, my business partner “Sugar Bear” surprised me with one.
CM: Who is “SugarBear”
Raz: He’s my business partner, and owner of ‘Sugar Bear Records’.
CM: Omarion has seemed to have had steady success since the demise of B2K. How do \
you feel about that?
Raz: Me and Omarion are cool, believe it or not we are. He also addressed that in a
Jet magazine telling them how he came out to one of my shows, and we’ve talked,
and our relationship is strong. I actually just recently talked to him, he just
finished up the video for his new song Entourage. That’s my boy, and its weird
but its tight.
CM: So why did B2K break up?
Raz: It was a combination of a lot of things. I could say that off the bat that
business and money wasn’t being handled properly. We all we’re all in one accord
with that, but in this business you have people who sell there souls for money,
and let that lead their life. That wasn’t the case with me, so I just took a
CM: Who was the first person to take the stand, and initiate management changes?
Raz: Divide and conquer came into reality. So the three of us (J. Boog, Lil Fizz)
decided to Take a stand as a one for what we believed was right.
CM: Since you broke away from T.U.G. are you now affiliated with them in anyway?
Raz: Not currently, No. This is all me my creative mind, and for a lot of people who
dont know I was the creative person in B2K. I came up with the name of the
album Pandemonium, and I was behind the marketing campaigns for that album.
CM: Do you still make a profit from B2K’s music, publishing, or merchandising?
Raz: There is money out there to still that needs to be collected. Money that is just
sitting there. The accounting practices were really bad, and as of right now I
haven’t really received anything. My biggest check that I received was from ‘You
Got Served’, but as far as my music career goes, there are supposedly mechanic
royalties just sitting there. If I didn’t collect them then the business company
that we worked for did. My theme is “over it”!!!
CM: How many songs did you write for the B2K?
Raz: Um….well spiritually I contributed a lot, but I only put my heart soul and
spirit in one song.
CM: Which one?
CM: I remember watching MTV one day and B2K were on the show living in lavish homes,
and driving…well leaning on nice cars. Was that authentic? Did you guys really
own the homes and cars you claimed?
Raz: That was the main reason for me stepping out and wanting to be my own face. I
wanted to have something that wasn’t build on sin, because there were so many
loop holes in that situation that I really didn’t know because it wasn’t mine.
However we spent, and put a lot of money into those homes hundreds of thousands
of dollars, but one day we got a call saying that our stuff was put in
storage.So no we didn’t own those homes or cars.
CM: What goes on behind the scenes with creating and marketing a group like B2K?
What we see more often then not are the praises of female fans, but not
necessarily the male fans, particularly the male gay fans. How is a group
marketed to gay fans?
Raz: Well at that time I wasn’t involved with the marketing side, so I can’t speak on
that,but when the second album came around we were very open to all
demographics. We were never racist to any gender or sexual orientation. There
were many times when
we had young guys in the back for a meet and greet, and they were jealous or
timid of the situation because the girls were showing us a lot of love. And we
would go out of
our way and spark conversations, give them “daps”, and just trying to show them
CM: So for those who don’t know where did the name Raz-B come from?
Raz: Well I got the name because I have a Raspy voice; it was given to me by my
former Manager Dave Scott, which was also a choreographer on ‘You got Served’.
It stuck with me when I was younger, but I now go by Raz. I got it from the
bible which means “Revealer of Secrets”
CM: With the exception of Noah’s Arc what have you been up to since leaving B2K?
Raz: I did an independent film called Pieces of a Dream, and this year I’m working on
a film called “Rythym” which is being produced by the same producers of “You Got
Served” with an all star cast such as Genuine, J-Boog, and Whoopi Gholdberg ,
And working on my solo album. I was up in Seattle for about a year, working on
some rock & roll, and cutting up, as well as working with the Winans. Mike W
Winans Junior, making some records, taking my time working on my solo record
CM: I had heard that your album was slated for release this summer, is that still
Raz: With the success of “Rythym” my new album wont come out now until the first of
next year. We probably release a single more towards fourth quarter of this
CM: There are rumors that Marques Houston and Omarion are working on ‘You Got
Served II’. Are you aware of that project, and are you going to be apart of it?
Raz: I heard those rumors as well, but no one has contacted me about it.
CM: What can you tell me about your role on Noah’s Arc?
Raz: My episode premiers on August 16th , the title is “It Aint Ova until it’s Ova”
and its centered around a young black gay guy named Tashi who is sending a
message positive message about HIV and AIDS. I appear on one episode, and it was
fun. I am exploring myself, and myself as an actor, so I thought it was good
step towards my acting career.
CM: You just filmed one episode? Are there talks of it being a recurring role?
Raz: I only shot one episode, but if I were asked to return I would. Absolutely!
CM: Who approached you with this idea?
Raz: Elaine Rivers, and Patrick Smith who are affiliates of mine
CM: Did you enjoy playing the role?
Raz: Yea I enjoyed playing the role as an actor. It wasn’t challenging at all, it was
CM: Tell me the vibe of the set?
Raz: It was really peaceful, everyone was great. We shot over in Vancouver, and it
was nice and different.
CM: How long was shooting?
Raz: Just one day.
CM: What can we expect from your character? Is he masculine or feminine?
Raz: He’s masculine,