The “sophomore jinx,” the idea that a group or artist’s second offering is unlikely to be as successful as their debut release, is a thought that likely preoccupies the majority of artists in Hip-Hop today.
Especially in a climate where not only do most record labels lack the resources to properly support new releases, but where fans are super fickle, constantly looking for the next hot thing. To make matters worse, not only are new releases being judged against previous record sales by the same artist, but there is no sliding scale that distinguishes between success from one artist to the next for whatever reason.
For Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam duo Playaz Circle, is judgment day is here. Dolla and Tity Boi have released their sophomore LP, Flight 360:The Takeoff, hoping to prove that they are more than just a one hit wonder.
The group, which first came together in 1997, is best known for the hit they scored nearly ten years later thanks in part to a catchy, Lil’ Wayne-assisted hook and a unique track by newcomer M-16. “Duffle Bag Boy,” their click’s other nickname, became such a hot single that it was actually the lead single for not one, but two albums: the third DTP compilation album, Strength In Numbers, and Supply and Demand, Playaz Circle’s long delayed debut. The song even made it to the world of film and television, appearing on several soundtracks, including the opening of Chris Rock’s highly publicized HBO special “Kill The Messenger.”
“Duffle Bag Boy” peaked at the #15 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 before earning a Platinum certification from the RIAA in December 2007. The song’s popularity drove Supply and Demand.
In the amnesia-prone consciousness of Hip-Hop fans, however, the duo disappeared after the song’s novelty faded. But Playaz Circle has been hard at work, developing the fan base and buzz needed to eclipse their past accomplishments. The duo has been preparing for Takeoff, so to speak.
“With the success of ‘Duffle Bag,’ we were able to do a lot of things, see a lot of different areas, see a lot of different cultures,” says Dolla. “We want to tell [our fans] about it. Flight 360 is pretty much a conceptual album, dealing with me and T##’s travels. We got a lot of hot features on the album, a lot of hot producers. I think we got something on there for every fan in the world.”
The effort to find balance in their music, to appeal to a wide audience, has been a driving force behind Playaz Circle’s movement since its inception. With contributions by a bevy of up-and-coming producers and appearances by Ludacris, Lil Wayne, Bobby Valentino – who provided the hook for the group’s current single “Can’t Remember” – OJ da Juiceman, Young Dro, the Casey Boys from Jagged Edge, and Hip-Hop elder statesmen Cee-Lo and Raekwon, Flight 360 could very well prove there’s more to the College Park duo than people think.
“Dolla and myself come from a substance era, when you had Outkast and Goodie Mob,” explains Tity Boi. “So that’s what we kind of tried to bring to this album. 360 is another analogy for circle. On the streets, in laymen’s terms, 36 O is the whole thing. We just tried to put it all in one pot.” To stay consistent with their theme, Tity and Dolla narrowed down the album’s 15-song tracklist from over 70 songs cut for the album. The two also attempted to make their lyrics as visual as possible, they say. And to keep their vision clear, they have also set out to shoot videos for all of the songs on Flight 360. So far, in addition to the official first video, “Can’t Remember,” they’ve released clips for “Look What I Got,” “Stupid” featuring OJ da Juiceman, “Yeah We Getting’ Rich” featuring Ludacris, and “Turbulence.” They’ve also released visuals for street singles not included on the album including “First Class,” and the soulful “Let Me Fly,” which, as evidenced by their titles, are consistent with the album’s theme.
“The album ties into everything from the hangar all the way down to the engine,” Tity adds. “The order of the album, all the way down to the sequence: we tried to put together a complete album that all dealt and stayed in the same lane. We like to talk about the trip. It’s like going on a ride.”
Now Dolla and Tity just have to wait and see how many fans will come along.
Playaz Circle – “Can’t Remember” (feat. Bobby Valentino)
Playaz Circle – “Full Circle”