Tank is SAVAGE
What does savage mean to you as it relates to the naming of your album and promo tour?
Tank :We are going to compete. A lot of artists who come out say I do what I do and have done what I’ve done. I’ll be on the road making the money off of what I’ve done. For me I’ve always wanted to continue to compete. I want R&B music to continue to have a space, especially my style of R&B and the things that I like to talk about. The emotions and the sexuality that I like to put into records, I want to fight to keep that alive. Sometimes you have to package it in a way that is a lot more aggressive than what it normally is. You are fighting for position to stand next to things that are a lot more aggressive, a lot more savage than what R&B is known for. That’s why savage is that.
When we did the Sex Love & Pain 2 album, those moments stuck, and when I was in concert people would just go crazy. They enjoy the competition as well as me fighting for the space for R&B music. They enjoyed that energy, and I have dedicated this whole project for this R&B music. Let’s make it as aggressive, straight forward and competitive as we can make it, sonically, lyrically, visually, everything. That’s what savage is. The tour represents taking it back to the old school. When you actually did a promo tour, you went door to door and campaigned for an album. That’s what the Savage tour is.
Where were you taking the audience with the treatment of the video “When We?”
Tank: I wanted people to open their mind in terms of sexuality without being scared. [The video] could have easily been in the club or two people in the room having sex. It would have been obvious. Why not stir up a bunch of different emotions. Why not have a girl pleasuring herself and having a “cam” girl stimulating emotions that way. Why not have a gory scene with black water. It almost has an erotic kind of dangerous edge with some S&M (Sadism and Masochism). One girl is tied up and the other girl has her on a beach. She is dominating her. You have fire where you are like ‘okay we might really get burned in here.’ You have the vampire. It’s all meant to stimulate different parts of your sexuality, not just in a bedroom or in this conventional space. Let’s broaden our horizons and find a way to be adventurous in our sexuality. That’s what “When We,” the visual represented.
What more can we expect?
Tank: We are always going to do things that aren’t out there. Combining the classic with the current. We are just highlighting sexuality in that way, it’s not new. The last time we saw this is with Madonna. She was all over the place with her sexuality and it was such a ground breaking moment. It has yet to get back to that, so I was like let’s get back to that. Let’s make that happen right now today. If we go into the Savage video, how do we speak on the female savage? What does that look like for today? How do we highlight the different aspects of what everyone think savage is. Everyone thinks its wilding out with thoughtless and careless behaviors, but it can really be something different. If you think about a woman who was left by a man with two kids to raise on her own, she not only makes it happen, but she is flawless in it. It’s amazing how the kids want for nothing and become amazing people. Think about everything she had to go through to make that happen. That is savage behavior. Taking savage and put it in a completely different space to what people are used to. That’s our challenge. Those are the things that we are going to make happen visually to go along with this aggressive music that we have.
Have you witnessed an evolution in R&B music?
Tank: R&B for a lot of the young kids now, they are trying to compete as well. What happened with some of the levels of competition, because we have lost a lot of the emotion that goes with R&B music? We definitely lost some of the fluid tempo that used to go with R&B. Back in the day you could go number one with a ballad. You could go number one with a heartfelt record. You could sing a song called The End of the Road and just take over the world. Those type of days have passed us because with the domination of Hip Hop you have to fight against that sonic, against that message, and against that shock value or whatever that is. You have to package your R&B now the way kids are coming into it. In a very Hip Hop dominating era, they want to sit in that space, they want to be in the club, they want to be up the HOT 100 Charts, they want to be on the urban charts. The music kind of reflects that. My job is to maintain the essence of what R&B was intended to be and where R&B is now. I don’t knock new R&B, I actually enjoy it because I’ve been a part of the evolution. I’ve been able to maintain my space in what is current R&B and I’ve been able to get off my traditional R&B as well. I just feel like somebody has to maintain the history and I think it’s my job.
Tell us about your label R&B Money and developing artists.
Tank: My label is about empowering the young R&B artist. Dante, Dontay, Dontea is a kid we threw in a studio and said go figure it out. He is a producer, singer, songwriter and rapper. He is all of these things. I’m not the type of executive where I’m going to give you a blueprint. One of my blueprints that I’ve used. No, you need to develop. This is the old-school way of A&R and development. You need to get in the studio and you need to work out and grow. Grow your music muscles in terms of all of your gifts. You need to be able to articulate musically who you are and who you want to be. That was the mission for him and he’s figured it out. I’m like I’m not babysitting you. If you want this, you have to show me that you want it. And he has done just that. His music is the young kid’s R&B. It’s different. There are wavy moments. It has emotional moments. It has aggressive moments. It has everything. It’s all of his emotions.
We signed another kid George Morris from the UK. It was the same thing with him. I’m trying to sign individuals. I’m not trying to sign carbon copies of myself. So far it’s going well. You will see Donte on tour and you will hear from George Morris real soon.
Are we hearing wedding bells soon?
Tank: That’s savage right there. Getting engaged and locking it all down. Those are aggressive decisions. Being in a space where you have someone competing with you and wanting to have everything with you. We are both so like-minded, hungry and determined to be the best at what we are doing. That energy helps us to feed our professional career whether it’s what she is doing with beauty or what I am doing with music and acting. That relationship is helping to support, push, and give you good energy to be savage.
Can we please get a TGT reunion?
Tank: I always say we are just a conversation away from making it happen. Only time will tell. I’m moving in my savage direction so fast. Ginuwine is on the road. Lord knows what Tyrese is doing [laughter]. It’s just a matter of having that right conversation and getting back to doing it for the right reason. That’s what TGT is. TGT is inspirational, TGT is a culture driven selfless movement. TGT is a sacrifice. When we get everybody back to that state of mind then we will be in a place where it can happen again.