Ginuwine: Separate But Equal

On his new album, Ginuwine is trying hard to be the man he was on his first album. But a bachelor, he isn’t. Since his 2003 platinum album The Senior, the former single singer married JT Money protégé Sole and had two children, so getting women isn’t exactly what he wants to do again. What […]

On his new album, Ginuwine is trying hard to be the man he was on his first album. But a bachelor, he isn’t. Since his 2003 platinum album The Senior, the former single singer married JT Money protégé Sole and had two children, so getting women isn’t exactly what he wants to do again. What he is hoping is that his new album, Back II Da Basics, can revive the dancing, throbbing, sexy performer that made Ginuwine a household name. His newest effort features appearances by Jadakiss and producers Jazze Pha, Track Masters, Troy Oliver, and Timbaland associate Danger Handz.

The Washington D.C. native began as a member of a Hip-Hop group and was even a Michael Jackson impersonator at one time. After catching the eye of enigmatic producer DeVante Swing of Jodeci fame, he became a member of the Swing Mob crew with Missy Elliott and Timbaland. After the Swing Mob disbanded, Ginuwine stuck with Missy and Timbaland and the chemistry spawned a single-filled debut Ginuwine…The Bachelor in 1996.

With hits like “Pony”, “Tell Me Do You Wanna”, “So Anxious”, “Differences” and “In Those Jeans”, and four platinum albums under his belt, Ginuwine fully expects to bring it, despite of the recent influx of bare-chested, poppin’ and lockin’ R&B pretty boys.

Ginuwine tells Alternatives how he feels about the new fresh-faced singers on the scene, R&B thugs, and the separate but equal parts of being an entertainer and a family man. Alternatives: I saw your new video for the single ‘When We Make Love’. I thought it was real hot.

Ginuwine: Honestly, I was iffy about that song.

AHHA: What is it that you are iffy about?

Ginuwine: I haven’t been out in two years so to come back with a song like that, I was real iffy.

AHHA: A lot has happened in your life in the last two years, how has that affected your music?

Ginuwine: As far as what has happened in my life, I don’t think it affected my music. I think me growing up and maturing more so affects it. I always have felt that this is a job, and you have to stay true to your job and that’s what you do. When you’re not going to be true to your job, you need to get out. So I try to separate the two, stay true to the game and stay true to what I love to do.

AHHA: You’re no longer the bachelor…

Ginuwine: [Laughs] I knew you had to go there. That’s the number one question, that’s funny.

AHHA: So how do you balance being a husband and still being a sex symbol?

Ginuwine: Well, honestly like I said, I’ve been off for a long time, and I’ve balanced it by being mature and do what I do and do what I have been doing. When I go home, I go home. It’s not too hard to separate it. People think it’s so hard, but it’s not. When I’m home, I’m who I am at home with my kids. And when I’m on the road, I’m who [the fans] know. It’s Ginuwine. It’s two different hats.

AHHA: Your new album is called Back II Da Basics. What are the basics you felt you needed to get back to?

Ginuwine: The basics that I felt I had to get back to was going back to the first album, going back to how people know me and that being an all around entertainer and back to the stage period. Not so much of me losing it, but with these past few CDs…it’s me bringing it back to the public eye the way that I did in the beginning. I’ve been having constant reminders to myself of what I wanted to do with this album to bring it back to the basics, so I had to name it something like that. So when I hear it spoken or see the CD is reminds me, ‘Don’t sleep man, get up and do what you gotta do.’

AHHA: Do you look at any of the new crop of R&B singers out and see any of the things you do in them?

Ginuwine: [Laughs] Yeah, of course, you know that! I definitely see that. But it’s always a compliment. It’s not a situation where I’m mad because I’m not out the game. I’ve been successful so far. Every album I’ve put out has been platinum or platinum plus. I’ve been successful at it, and I’m just happy that I am able to put a mark on the industry and keep it moving. When I’m doing my CD, I don’t listen to the radio or anything because I don’t want to be like anyone else. But I do see a lot of artist and think what they’re doing is hot. I like Omarion, I love Usher, I love anybody who brings entertainment back. I love that. I like my boy Marques Houston. I love anybody who brings entertainment to the stage because that’s what it is about. It’s not about grabbing the mic and walking back and forth.

We’re entertainers, we’re in the entertaining business. So you have to entertain in our field. Rappers, well that’s another situation. When you’re a singer and you take the mic and walk back and forth, I’m not feeling you. When people come to your show, they want to see just that. They want to see a show. They don’t want to see anybody walking back and forth. And that’s what I like about the guys that I just mentioned. I love the fact that they bring that to the stage, they own the show. They bring their A game. And that’s what it’s all about.

AHHA: I was just talking to somebody the other day about R&B singers who think that they are rappers.

Ginuwine: I know, that’s crazy.

AHHA: Why is R&B changing? What are the fundamentals that people aren’t honing anymore?

Ginuwine: I think some R&B artists are feeding into just saying anything in a song, like rappers do, especially the down-South guys. But that’s what they do. Singing is supposed to be more substance, you know. It’s not supposed to be about something crazy you just repeat over and over again. It’s supposed to tell a story. And that’s what R&B does for a lot of people. When you’re feeling sad, there’s an R&B song that covers that, when you’re feeling happy, there’s an R&B song that covers that, when you want to make love, there’s an R&B song that covers that. You have to have different elements in everything that you do in R&B and a lot of people aren’t doing that. They’re just looking for a quick dollar or looking for quick way to get out here and get girls. But you have to stay true to the game. That’s why you have to make your stand in the game like I have, and a lot of the people that people will remember and pattern themselves after.

AHHA: Do you think the genre of R&B gets the respect it deserves?

Ginuwine: Not now, because a lot of R&B artists are trying to be rappers. So until we bring it back to where it’s supposed to be as far as us singing and entertaining, without caring about people thought…what people said about me or said about my hair or how I looked. I just stayed true to me, and stayed true to what I wanted to do, and I did it.

AHHA: So do you think that men don’t want to be perceived as too sensitive?

Ginuwine: I never felt that way. If a person does feel that way, you have to question them. When you’re sure of yourself, you don’t care. And if this is what you doing, I could care less about what the man next to me is doing. He can’t do what I do, and I can’t do what he does. That’s what makes us different people and different artists. I’ll do it if don’t nobody else want to do it, because it ain’t a big deal to me. I know who I am, and people make jokes about you but I’ve been through that all my life.

AHHA: And you’re married so it must have worked out for you.

Ginuwine: Yeah, for sure. So it is what it is. I don’t really care about what people think anymore. I used to a little bit, but now it’s like, whatever.

AHHA: Are their certain subjects you don’t want to talk about now that you have a family, or things you don’t want your kids to hear?

Ginuwine: Actually, that’s a situation that I deal with a lot, because as a parent I have to teach my kids about what I do. Music has a big influence over a lot of people so me, I try to do what I do and make it as clean as possible. If it’s not as clean, I try to explain what it is.

AHHA: Did you make any songs with your wife, Sole?

Ginuwine: No. [laughs]

AHHA: Is there a reason why?

Ginuwine: Because she’s going another way than I am. Our styles don’t mesh musically.

AHHA: 20 years from now, what do you want people saying about you?

Ginuwine: I want people to realize what I brought back to the game: that’s the dancing, the eight-pack, and the moves…bringing all around entertainment to it. I just want to be remembered as the one when it was gone who brought it back. I was like the first one that broke it down in my videos, like in ‘So Anxious’. I set a trend, now that’s all what people are doing now.

AHHA: What is your favorite song to perform?

Ginuwine: ‘Pony’ – because it’s the first one, the one that made me. It gets the biggest response of all the songs I do.