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Tank, “The General” of R&B, is a busy man who wears many hats these days. He’s an artist with new album and an upcoming tour, an actor and now a record executive. We caught up to him and chatted about it all. Read below and enjoy.

GFM: Sex Love & Pain 2 is out now. You’ve got some collabos on there– even a young legend– Shawn Stockman. Talk about the album.

Tank: Sex Love and Pain 2 is that moment all over again that I think my fans have been waiting for since 2007. That next entry, the next level, the next list of experiences that connect to everyone’s idea of relationships and what they go through getting in and getting out of them and even being within them. So, when we went back in to get this album done it was important that we get back to that space where we were trying to just push the lines– push the boundaries in terms of what people felt R&B should sound like and how people felt it should be talked about. From a lyrical standpoint and even melodically, we wanted to really cater to everybody and really get everybody involved with this Sex Love and Pain experience. As of now, the response has been great and people are super excited that we’ve covered the ground that we have. Now it’s about taking the experience to ’em and letting them personally get a dose of it up close and personal.

GFM: Last time you and I spoke [in 2014], you talked about the Adult Contemporary category and how detrimental it’s been because it limits, or has limited the scope of exposure to your work. Some people weren’t even aware that you had new material out just because of how that category is [structured]. Then right after we spoke, you even vented some of your frustration about that on IG (Instagram), suggesting you might not make another R&B album. But, you have and I’m glad about it. Sex Love and Pain 2… is part of this album… agenda is not quite the word I want to use… but as a part of this album, is it your goal to kind of break down the wall into Urban AC and out of AC?

Tank: The goal is to expand the listeners. The style of R&B that I grew up on is different than what’s out now. As I pay homage to an older style of R&B, I also have to understand that it’s not really in anymore. It’s not necessarily the thing that’s going to move the needle in terms of how many stations I can get to play it and how many venues I can get to book it… that sort of thing. So, at the end of the day you’ve gotta be smart about how you’re making the music. With me being the producer and the writer, first and foremost, of my own music– you figure out ways to understand what’s going on currently and how to infuse what I’m known for and what I do–which is classic R&B in terms of subject matter, my singing style and of those things and make it all make sense. Ultimately, you wanna get to the most people as possible. You wanna get on the biggest stations as possible. You wanna get to the biggest venues as possible.I think this album definitely does reflect breaking those barriers and getting out of that box. Absolutely.

GFM: Let’s talk about the tour. You’re coming soon on tour. Are there surprises? Are you going to be giving money away [laughs]? What can we look forward to?

Tank: You know I’ve always got surprises. I’m pretty sure we’ll be giving money away. I’ve gotta see how much. We’ve given so much money on tour that the fund may be running low, so we’ve gotta figure that part out. We have some really cool features on the album… people that I’ve worked with in the past that sometimes show up in cool cities and stuff like that, so we’ll see. I definitely don’t want to spoil anything, but I do wanna let everybody know that it’s a full experience from top to bottom. You’re gonna hear something from every album from top to bottom and get people reconnected.

GFM: You mentioned the collabos. How did you get Shawn Stockman to come on board? How did that come about?

Tank: Shawn is a good friend. Not just that [but] I’ve been a fan of Shawn Stockman since everybody else has been a fan of Shawn Stockman. It was just a matter of finding the right moment. Because when you’re doing a Shawn Stockman feature, it’s gotta be the right song. It’s gotta be the right lighting. It’s gotta be the right everything. You don’t want to blow that opportunity. I finally had a song that I felt like would be great with this great, iconic artist. [It’s] one of my proudest moments, musically.

GFM: Talk about R&B Money. What is R&B Money? Talk about what can we expect. What’s the future? What projects are coming from R&B Money?

Tank: R&B Money is the label. I did a joint venture with Atlantic Records. They gave me my own label and I’m operating as I would like to operate. I’m putting music out the way I feel it needs to be put out there and the first album… the first project off of R&B Money is mine: Sex Love & Pain 2, which is a great feeling to be really, really in control of your own destiny. That’s kind of the thing that we all fight for– that control and that ownership.

We have a group called 12 Til out of Beaumont, Texas that’ll be opening for me on the tour. They’re just three young, fearless, kids who just sing this R&B on a whole ‘nother level, so I’m really excited about getting them out there. We have Siya from Sisterhood of Hip Hop, [she’s] my rap artist of out Brooklyn. She’s right there. She’s one situation away from really breaking through and tearing this thing apart, so we’re pushing that as well. We’re taking our time. We’re taking our time building the right artists and building the right moments. Prayerfully, within the next three or four years we’ll be something major to content with.

GFM: Will be it genre blending or just R&B?

Tank: It’ll be music. It’ll be whatever it needs to be. It’ll be whatever we feel like expressing at that time. [It’ll be] whatever that artist has on their mind musically, lyrically, melodically. I’m going into this space with no rules. I’ll to let everybody else try to categorize it. We’re just going to make music.

GFM: When I saw you at the end of 2014, Second Chance Christmas was just about to air and we talked about you getting into acting, but you kept Born Again Virgin close to the vest. You didn’t say any titles or names of projects. Now, we’re in season 2 of Born Again Virgin and you are absolutely delightful as Donovan. Talk about Born Again Virgin.

Tank: It’s fun. It’s really fun. It’s awesome that we have these beautiful black women in lead positions showing something different– showing that they’re smart, showing that they’re funny and winning at the same time. I’m the only guy on the show, so my job is kinda of easy. It’s very great that TV One has offered this alternative. In an oversexualized space, we have a show dealing with not having sex at all. People have responded to it, because you have a lot of people that are in that space, but they didn’t have anything to connect to and so now we have something and it’s doing really good for us.

GFM: How much are you like Donovan and how much is Donovan like Tank?

Tank:I think they’re a lot alike because I’ve always been taught to respect women in whatever space they’re in. I think it’s cool to try and find other ways to be attracted or other ways to be involved and it not just all be about sex. That’s a good, big part of it, but you have to find other ways to sustain a relationship or to really go about being connected to somebody. This gives you that conversation and it gives you a moment to try and figure that out… and I’m okay with that.

GFM: What’s your definition of Grown Folks Music?

Tank: I think grown folks music is music that speaks to life. It’s life in music. It’s always about real experiences. A lot of times we say a person ain’t grown because they ain’t been through nothin’. So, when you talk about grown folks music you’re talking about music that lets you know that somebody done been through something, or somebody is going through something, or somebody is about to go through something. It’s that experience of life in music that to me, that makes it grown folks music.

GFM: You call yourself “The General”, but I think you’re more of the ambassador and liason when you talk about TGT. We’ve talked about TGT before, but will we see y’all? Are the three kings coming back?

Tank: Hey man, if we can get everybody to act right. I’m about the music. I’m about the mission and to me that’s not something can be bought. The idea and the understanding of what this is historically– you can’t put a monetary value on that. The money comes, but the music comes first and the people come first as well. I guess when everybody gets on that page we’ll have something good happen.

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Sex Love & Pain 2 is out NOW.
Watch Tank in Born Again Virgin on TV One on Tuesday nights
Catch Tank on tour starting TODAY (March 7). See the tour dates below

tank tour

Kimberly Kennedy Charles
I have questions. Artists have answers.