Mindless Behavior: Elevated
by: iman n. milner
photos: Tyren Redd for EDGE Magazine
There is something to be said about being able to remember the entire career trajectory of an artist. To watch them ascend from new height to new height time after time, with ease, brings us, the spectators, pride as if somehow their success breaks through the glass ceilings standing in our own way. In an age where so many young artists are ruined well before they make it to adulthood seeing four talented young men who have remained passionate, unified and positive in the face of it all is awe-inspiring.
In 2011, Prodigy, Roc Royal, Princeton and Ray Ray burst onto the scene with a fresh take on the once popular boy band phenomenon. Incredibly talented and handsome to boot, the group quickly won over the hearts of millions and created a movement that relentlessly supports the boys to no avail. Meeting them for the first time two years after their first release and rise to stardom it’s easy to see why they are as popular and desired as ever: these boys were born to do it! Having grown into their individual styles and experienced life in this industry, maturity suits them well and their new music will no doubt make anyone who may have been a doubter a 100% believer upon the release of their second album, All Around The World. The boys opened up to us about everything from what it means to be a role model to their fans, what kind of women (their words, not ours) they want to date and what they plan to conquer next! It’s time to get mindless…
EDGE: Now that you guys have grown as artists, tell us what we can expect to hear on this new album.
Roc: This album is a little more mature because we’re just getting older. Still MB but me and the boys have been traveling all around the world having different experiences. We want people to hear our growth.
Prince: It’s made us the young men that we are. When we say we’re maturing, it’s not just in the music. We’re maturing in the way we act, the way we dress and the way we think. For example, in fashion, when we first joined the group all we did was imitate the style of the people we looked up to. Now that we’ve gotten to see fashion all over the world, we’ve made our own style based on what we’ve seen.
Ray Ray: We’ve seen enough that we can now go and create something that’s all our own. We look in the mirror for motivation now. We see ourselves as people who can influence others.
EDGE: Who do you look up to in style and in music?
Prince: I look up to Michael and Prince.
Roc: I like Chris Brown and Michael Jackson.
Prodigy: I have to say Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa.
Ray Ray: Kanye West, Travy McCoy and A$ap Rocky. They are so fly.
EDGE: What do you guys think people misjudge about Mindless Behavior?
Prince: People write us off as just another Black boy band that’s going to break up in four or five years but the way we’ve come up and grown together…we worked for two years before we even put out our first single because we had to get our minds right. We’ve worked for this. That’s what sets us apart from all of the other bands that have come before us. It wasn’t just about having a voice and having style, we were made to last forever.
EDGE: What’s been the biggest lesson you guys have learned over the years in this business?
Roc: We learned to never let anything go to our head. That’s what leads you to disaster.
Ray Ray: Personality can take you farther than talent. Remain humble and nice to people, that can take you where talent won’t sometimes.
Prince: We’ve learned to never get too comfortable. You may be hot now but there’s always somebody behind you ready to take your spot.
EDGE: How have your fans shaped what you do?
Prince: On the first album, we didn’t have fans, we just had to go off of feeling. But when we started working on this second album, our management included us in the decisions and we had more say so. We also knew what we wanted because we aren’t those little boys who first came in the game. We heard what our fans wanted. We see what they say on our videos and we think about that when making our next moves.
EDGE: What do you think is your responsibility as artists?
Roc: Our responsibility is to stay together and make good music. Really just keep on moving forward.
Prince: Definitely to be role models as well.
Prodigy: Stay consistent. We can’t be MB today and then tomorrow decide we want to rap on every song. What our fans love about us is what we have to continue to give them.
Ray Ray: We have to remind our fans to always be confident too. That’s a big thing these days. We want our fans to be confident enough to not care what other people think. Wear what you want to wear, do what you want to do. Be you to the fullest.
EDGE: We want each of you to tell us a defining moment for you when you really felt like you guys had arrived as artists in this industry.
Prodigy: I gotta say last year when we were in New York for our album release and we went to a Best Buy and so many fans came. I didn’t know we were blowing up that fast.
Roc: Two years ago we got asked to perform at The White House. That was amazing. Just to know that the President’s daughter wanted us to come, that was an honor. They invited us to perform this year at the inauguration too. That was fun.
Prince: My defining moment isn’t that big but it changed who I am today. I’m a dancer. Ever since I was 2 I’ve been dancing at Millenium Dance Studio and they have all these pictures of artists in the hallyway and I would always pray that one day my picture would be up there. We were rehearsing there one day and I saw the MB picture right next to Usher and Diddy and all of these big stars. I’ve been dancing there for almost 10 years so it really made me happy.
Ray Ray: I have to agree with Roc about performing in front of the First Family but also winning the BET Award was dope. It was crazy. When we went on tour with Janet Jackson too. She’s an icon so to open up for her was just a great opportunity and an honor.
EDGE: How do you guys handle criticism?
Ray Ray: We really don’t care what other people think.
Prince: We don’t mean that in a cocky way but in a confident way. Haters hate and leaders lead.
Prodigy: We still go on. We keep working hard.
Prince: I was bullied in school so whenever I see hate, I see them as the bullies but I am completely different person than I was back then. I’m a way more confident person now and they’re not going to tear me down.
Ray Ray: In my eyes Prodigy, Roc and Prince are the flyest guys. If you hate on them, your opinion doesn’t matter to me. These are my bros. Nothing can break our connection.
EDGE: Let’s talk about girls…
Prince: Not girls, women.
EDGE: Oh, excuse me, women. Let’s talk about women. What are you guys looking for in a woman?
Ray Ray: When we say women we don’t mean cougars or anything. We’re talking 17 and older. You’ve got to have your own style and confidence. You have to have a good mindset. You have to have a future for yourself.
Prodigy: If I’m going to date a girl she has to work. She can’t just sit at the house waiting for me. She has to make her own money, she can’t just depend on me.
Prince: I like a girl with a passion for music. I love music so much so she has to really be all about it too.
Roc: I like a girl who is very fashion forward. She has to be smart. And she has to like me for me not for all of this other stuff.
Ray Ray: Someone super super fly. And someone cultured and well rounded…experienced too.
EDGE: Who are you now compared to who you were when we were first introduced to you in 2008?
Prodigy: Being in Mindless Behavior and now being together for four years, I’ve seen that this business matures you fast. It’s made me think different, act different. I am smarter than I was then. I’ve seen the world. My mind is different.
Roc: In the beginning I was a cornball but I’ve changed so much. Being with these guys changed my life. Growing up in South Central, I was headed that way but when I joined the group I was surrounded by so much positivity that it made me better. I wanted to be more like them.
Prince: Roc wasn’t a dancer when he got in the group either but now he’s catching on to choreography that 30-year-olds can’t catch on to.
Ray Ray: Now that I’m 17, I’ve matured a lot. I became more fashion forward. I was always being artistic but I am more creative on different levels. It’s expanded my way of thinking to always consider how I’m making someone feel. I treat people the way I want to be treated. I like to stay positive.
Prince: Four years ago, I was a dreamer. I was being bullied and all of that but I had something to look forward to with this group. I wanted to be artistic and creative but I never had the confidence to show people what I could do. But coming into the group gave me a chance to reinvent myself. I came in 30 pounds overweight and came back hair out, clear skin and a new mentality.
Ray Ray: We’re all open minded. Even though we’re a group and we’re always around each other our styles are different. Our personalities are different, our mindsets are different. We are a collective group of individuals.
EDGE: What do you guys feel like you bring to the industry that no one else does?
Prodigy: Our mindless movement.
Prince: We may only be 16 and 17 but we’re smart. We’re more than just singers, we’re businessmen.
Ray Ray: Consistency. We stay consistent. We bring a lot of emotion and passion to our shows. When you see us perform , we’re giving everything we have. We deliver every lyric, every line. We bring star power.
Roc: A lot of commitment to our fans and our label.
Prince: We sacrifice a lot. Most kids our age are partying and hanging out but we’re working. We’re flying from city to city, not sleeping, performing…we’re dedicated.
Prodigy: While they’re partying, we’re making the music they party too.
EDGE: What do you guys wants your legacy as a group to be? And as individuals?
Ray Ray: We want to be Michael Jackson as a group. We want to be icons. As an individual, I want to be remembered as the different guy. When you see anything that I’ve done, I want people to be able to tell that it came from me because it’s so unique.
Prince: 30 years from now when you think of the best group we want you to think of Mindless Behavior. When you think of a group that set the standard, think of us. For me specifically, I want to be that outsider that made it ok to be yourself. And whenever you think about peace or art, I want my name to come up.
Prodigy: I want all of us to be known as icons individually. So we can all be looked at as stars. In groups, there’s always one person who becomes bigger than everyone else but I want us all to be equal. I want it to be that any of us can walk into a room by ourselves and the whole room goes crazy.
Roc: I just want us to be able to set trends around the world. I want them to recognize who we are and what we bring to music and to the stage and appreciate that.
Prince: And we want to be a boy band that didn’t just leave a legacy of music. We want to be a boy band that acted, did a clothing line, created different kinds of art, did everything as a group and together we were unstoppable!
Styling: Seth Brundle
Hair: Jazmayne Chatman
MUA: Britt Garrison