When Pretty Ricky made their debut in 2004 with their platinum-selling single “Grind With Me,” the group from the 305 were instant fan-favorites for their raunchy, sensual take on Hip Hop and R&B. The song led the group to ink a deal with Atlantic Records, and from there, Pretty Ricky exploded onto the mainstream, becoming regulars on music video countdowns like BET’s 106 & Park and MTV’s TRL.
Within three years, Pretty Ricky became Atlantic Records’ highest-grossing R&B act at the time, notched another platinum single with 2007’s “On The Hotline,” and topped the Billboard 200 chart with their sophomore album Late Night Special. Everything seemed to be going well, but just as quickly as they ascended the ranks, Pretty Ricky fell from the top just as fast.
After the success of Late Night Special, things got very dark within the group in the following years. Label and financial issues with Bluestars Entertainment, the company Pretty Ricky signed to in a deal with Atlantic Records, caused Pleasure P to exit the group and focus on his solo career. The remaining members scrambled to find a replacement but the results never came close to the original version of Pretty Ricky.
The group ultimately left Atlantic and Bluestars for the same reasons Pleasure P did, and their self-titled third studio album failed to gain any traction, staying on the Billboard 200 chart for only one week. Meanwhile, Pleasure found breakout success and earned three Grammy nominations with his debut album The Introduction of Marcus Cooper, but his moment would be short-lived as his solo career came to a screeching halt.
In 2010, the “Boyfriend #2” singer was hit with accusations of child molestation and sealed court documents from an alleged settlement from the case surfaced. Pleasure denied the accusations and deemed the court documents false while Blue and Spectacular confirmed they were real. The comments regarding the case caused a major rift amongst the group and signaled the possible end of the group, but despite their personal feelings, Pretty Ricky’s bond seemed stronger than anything that stood in their way.
“We never, ever thought anything was over,” Blue tells HipHopDX. “We just always understood that the group is more dynamic and more explosive with all four original members.” The group reunited for the first time in 2015 but again internal issues kept them from getting anything off the ground. Their recurring role on Love & Hip Hop: Miami in 2018 shed some light on those problems which revolved around tensions between Pleasure P and Baby Blue. Things seemed murky again until the following year when Pretty Ricky embarked on The Millenium Tour alongside B2K, Mario, Ying Yang Twins and more. The success of the tour pumped life into the group and led them to join it once more in 2020.
Today, the four original members of Pretty Ricky have their sights set on finishing what they started with an upcoming album and new single titled “Body.” “We got our whole brand on the table that we worked our asses off for,” Pleasure explained to HipHopDX. “Why not get back together, really focus and finish the work that we started?” As big as they were in the mid to late 2000s, Pretty Ricky is remembered more for their problems than the feats they achieved as a group. “Whatever it is that they said we couldn’t do, we did. And I just feel like we don’t get the respect we deserve,” says Pleasure. “We put R&B on our backs and we’re bringing it back. We’re here,” Blue added.
HipHopDX continued the conversation with Pretty Ricky over the phone about their comeback, the issues that plagued them for so long, how they’re bringing R&B back, wanting more respect and recognition, leaving Atlantic Records, their plans for their music moving forward and more.
HipHopDX: You guys were one of Atlantic Records’ biggest acts. What was that feeling like?
Spectacular: We wanted more. More success, more money, more fame. We wanted more videos, we wanted bigger budgets. We went to Atlantic and they increased our budget because they respected our grind and our hustle because they knew we gave them these hit records without much help from anybody else. I remember we did a video for “Push It Baby” in Prague and that was the million-dollar budget video. I think we were their second-highest urban grossing act, right under T.I. Pretty Ricky was number two underneath the whole Atlantic-Warner umbrella.
HipHopDX: With Late Night Special selling over 132,000 copies the first week and topping the Billboard 200, how did you guys even try to even process something so big like that coming from a place that was mostly known for Miami bass and southern rap?
Baby Blue: To get a number one slot on the charts and sell that many units the first week, definitely was an accolade for us. We definitely felt appreciated by the fans for going out and copping the record, especially in a time where people weren’t even buying albums no more, it was more digital downloads.
Spectacular: We were actually in two categories because they didn’t understand which category we fit in back then, whether it was Hip Hop or R&B. So, they put us in both and we were actually number one on the Billboard charts for five consecutive weeks on both of the charts. I don’t know if that ever got done before but it was remarkable for that to happen for us. It shows all work pays off man. We were doing ten cities, we were flying show to show. We were doing three cities in one day. Doing three shows in one day. Getting up, doing a show in the morning, doing a show in the afternoon and flying out and doing another show at night time. Three cities in one night. So, just seeing that grind pay off like that, man, it just felt really good.
HipHopDX: Everybody knows things got messy after Late Night Special. From the rumors and the arguments within the group, do you think all that mess could’ve been avoided?
Baby Blue: I think it was a transitional period where we were coming into our age and wanted to be more financially independent. We wanted to pull away from the record company and Pleasure was the first one to jump out there and really do it. Me and Spec are brothers, you know what I mean? So we stuck with each other. Pleasure was more willing to put himself on the line and take that blow for the group for us to gain independence before we were.
And it was also growing pains, man. We had to go through it in order to transition to adults and become the independent artists that we are today. That’s just the business, man and you go through it. Especially when you started as young as we did, you’re not as knowledgeable of contracts or even knowing what to ask for or whatever. Once you get a certain age and you reach a certain success, you’re going to do that. You’re going to make your situation better for you.
HipHopDX: Pleasure, as you were doing your thing on the solo tip, did you feel at all that you could go back to the group and finish what you all started?
Pleasure P: I did. I never wanted to leave the group to do a solo project anyway. It just happened like that. It really wasn’t my intention. To be honest, I was just trying to survive, man. My job every day was to provide for myself and my family and I had to do something. Simply because I don’t know what the future is going to hold. I didn’t know that my record was going to pop. I didn’t know anything, you know what I’m saying? So, for me, that’s all I really cared about. Just surviving.
HipHopDX: As a group, did you guys really feel you’d match the success from before with the new members?
Spectacular: I felt like, at the time we were trying to make stuff work. As Pleasure said, everybody was trying to survive at the time. My father was basically trying to figure out how to keep the money coming in the family so he just threw anybody in the group. I just felt like it wasn’t a match, it wasn’t a fit for any of the new members. We were just forcing it and just trying to make something happen. But it was always forced, in my opinion.
I felt like it should’ve just been us three until we figured things back out with Pleasure. We got a unique thing about us that you got to be a certain type of individual to deal with us. And the things that we go through and the dramas, the ups and downs and things like that make us family. So, it’s like you go through things and it’s like they brush off your shoulder and then you keep it moving. And I felt like that was the main thing for me with the other guys, it’s just, nothing against them, they just weren’t a match.
HipHopDX: It came to a point where people thought you guys would never fix the issues. Do you guys ever think that it was really over?
Baby Blue: We never ever, ever thought anything was over. We maintained communication with Pleasure the whole time even though the labels and shit were at odds. But amongst the group, we still always have respect and love for each other and always supported each other.
HipHopDX: What’s keeping the bond stronger between you guys this go around?
Baby Blue: I definitely feel like the camaraderie between the brothers, the family, and us wanting to come together was it. I feel like the conversation started with Pleasure. And I remember him making the rounds you know what I’m saying? Pulling up and we having the meetings with each member and then us going in the studio and cutting the records. We had the conversation and we understood that sometimes you get lost in the sauce. But the feud wasn’t between the group members. The feud was with the record labels. You know what I’m saying?
We didn’t have any problems with each other. There was still room for growth and then we hugged it out. We dapped it up and decided to get back to what we do and let’s do it for the fans. Let’s make sure that we continue on with our legacy and get the fans what they want. Because right now, in the market that we are in right now, there’s a void for the type of music that we do which is R&B Hip Hop. Like you said, you called it raunchy, we call it sensual, sexual or however you want to categorize it. There’s a void for that and we fill that void.
HipHopDX: Pleasure how’d you feel coming back to the group after all the drama went down?
Pleasure P: I just felt like we put so much work in. Like, just us. Three, four flights a day, no sleep, late-night studio sessions and everybody else made money from it but us. What would be the point of just not doing anything and you got a fan base there that’s just waiting for you because they grew up to you and nobody can ever duplicate what you’ve done. So, just why not get back together and just pass that out. I don’t want to leave no money on the table.
Spectacular: No money on the table. Everybody is talking about bringing R&B back, who better Pretty Ricky to bring it back? Young M.A said, “Man, R&B needs to come back.” We dropped the “Body” record and they’re saying R&B is back. Pretty Ricky brought R&B back. That’s what the headlines say bro. That’s what social media is saying bro. Pretty Ricky was trending, number one in the world the next day, soon as we dropped the record.
HipHopDX: With all this talk about bringing R&B back on social media how do you guys feel about that?
Pleasure P: In order to bring R&B back, more artists need to work together. And I think a good example is what we’re doing on the Millennium Tour. There’s strength in numbers. If acts like Trey Songz, Miguel or Ne-Yo jump on the tour and then the next set of artists, T-Pain and this one and that one jump on the tour. We just keep doing it yearly and keep doing records with each other. I think that’s the key to really bringing R&B back. Keep producing, just work together a lot more. I’m the king of “this and I’m this and I’m that.” It’s like, that doesn’t help.
Nobody’s winning. And me, just being an R&B singer, I noticed that it’s like a competition between everybody when it comes to this. R&B niggas are very, very competitive. And they got a lot of bitchy ways about them on the low. Don’t tell their managers some shit, and this, this and that. We can get rid of all those little egos and all that stuff and work together. Then I think that’s what will bring R&B back.
Baby Blue: We are bringing it back. Pretty Ricky will take the lashes, man. We don’t have any problems with that. Pretty Ricky bringing R&B back. Any R&B artist that’s reading this article, any manager that’s connected to a R&B artist, we want to fuck with you. It’s all about collaboration, camaraderie, like Pleasure said earlier, man. Let’s do these tours together. This Millennium Tour is a big wave right now because it’s all of us from that generation. We are all together, we all working together. I will pledge on that, man. Let’s all come together and let’s create a movement, an R&B movement.
HipHopDX: You guys dropped “Body” and your fans have been receiving it very well. Why was this the record you all felt was best to go with?
Baby Blue: We were trying to figure out which record to put out. This particular record, Big D produced and he produced “Grind On Me.” This record got the same essence as “Grind On Me.” Baby Blue, Spectacular, Slick’Em. It’s the same order. You feel me? The vibe, the tempo was the same. So, it’s like this record felt like “Grind On Me.” It’s like the same aura is in the air, man. It’s that baby making time man. Springtime or whatever, when the babies get made, man. That record, right there man, it got that fire, man.
— ME VKV DON DVDV ?? (@BlackDynamite91) March 10, 2020
Pleasure P: How the recording process goes now is I’ll go do the hooks and then Baby Blue will be there, he’ll do his part and then we got to go to L.A. or whatever to get Spec to do his part or he’ll fly down and then you got to find Slick’em. So, to try to get everybody on the same page, it’s the job. Obviously, it’s a low key job. So we have songs better than “Body” that just needed a verse or it needed one person to verse or whatever the case may be. So, that song was the strongest one that had everybody’s verse on. But I think we got way better songs than “Body,” just so that you know. But it’s a good song though.
HipHopDX: Tell us about the new material you’ve been working on.
Baby Blue: We got a whole album already cooked up for you all, man. We went in the studio with Rico Love, Big D and I’m talking about we cooked up bangers. I’m talking about bangers, right?
Pleasure P: Actually, we were supposed to go to the studio but everybody on this quarantine, isolation thing. So, we went in trying to wrap everything up. It’s like we are doing more original songs now because a lot of people are sampling and stuff. We got a few samples like really throwback samples we have to clear. Like an Aaliyah sample and an Usher sample.
HipHopDX: With this new album on the way is there any pressure in succeeding in this current era of Hip Hop and R&B?
Pleasure P: The reason I feel like there’s no pressure is because we make timeless music and a lot of people don’t have that. They make songs and they shit go away. You go to a club right now, they still play “On The Hotline,” they still play “Your Body.” So, that goes to show you our spot is in this game. The thing that I don’t respect about the OGs and the record executives, everybody just became this way. They’re like, “I don’t want to feel old and I got to change to do this.”And it’s like, some of that shit not even musically correct. I respect the time when you had JAY-Z with a record out, DMX with a record out, Nelly with a record out and everybody sounding different. Right now, everybody shit sounds the same in a sense.
I usually don’t promote songs I write or speak on them until they become hits but this one is DIFFERENT ! @prettyrickybsf got one! We bout to shake up the world! Thanks @darealbiggd @dareallamb for this amazing… https://t.co/G6ECzEeFJk
— Rico Love (@IamRicoLove) March 24, 2020
Baby Blue: The music that we make is what’s popular right now, which is a hybrid of Hip Hop and R&B. So, I think that’s why in today’s marketplace, we fit. But there’s no other group that makes the kind of music that we even make. So, we don’t even have competition. I feel like what we are doing right now and what we have been doing is something that was always needed. And I don’t feel like we compete with anybody because the stuff that we’re releasing, the music that we’re releasing, that’s the stuff that they’re craving for.
HipHopDX: What are you guys hoping for the future?
Pleasure P: What I’m hoping for is just to finally be respected. We don’t get the respect we deserve. Even when it comes to the top Miami artists. We’re the only group from Miami that did our thing and went platinum. So for me, years from now, that’s what I want. And whatever it takes to do that, more tours, more albums, whatever, I just want to do that.
Baby Blue: We want the accolades and the awards. The BET Awards, MTV Awards and the accolades man. A record like “Grind With Me,” “On The Hotline” or “Your Body.” We in the music business and we respect and love our peers that’s in this business and we would definitely appreciate a Grammy nomination or award or any respect coming from our peers because we know the amount of work and blood, sweat and tears that we put in just to be in this game. This music is still getting played 15 years from now in the club, how did that not get nominated for tons of awards, right? For each single, we didn’t get any of that, right?
So from that, I just like lost faith in people respecting us for the work that we put in because that just shows right there, it’s like damn, where’s the respect at? We were so underrated in my eyes because we never won anything. How did we not win the best R&B group at the time when there weren’t even any R&B groups? We haven’t even performed at an awards show before. We never even presented at awards before. I just felt like we just never got the respect that we deserve. But we’ve changed where we come from now man. We care about what the fans want and we’re going to feed the fans with content, music, videos, and merch because that’s who we really are doing it for anyway. We’re creating the soundtrack for their life and what they’re going through.
Follow Pretty Ricky on their Instagram page @prettyricky.