CitiLimitz is the newest boy group on the scene, and they’re here to bring back that feel-good, nostalgic R&B feeling we all know and love. The trio consists of three brothers from Chattanooga, Tennessee: 18-year-old Deshundre (aka Dre) and 17-year-old twins Amari (aka A.T) and Amarion (aka Marion). All members have been singing since the day they were born, and they can’t wait to showcase their vocals and talents to audiences all around the world.
Dre adds, “It’s more to life.”
The group was first discovered by Sound of Young America CEO Kevin Wales, best known for his success with multi-Platinum groups such as 112 and Jagged Edge. Just last year, Wales partnered with Max Gousse and Monica Payne of Artistry Records to sign CitiLimitz to Republic Records/UMG. In fact, Gousse plans to turn the boys into superstars — just like he did with Saweetie.
CitiLimitz’ debut single is titled “Say No More,” which was released in September. Produced by the legendary Tricky Stewart, the record serves as a teaser to their forthcoming debut album, with additional production from A-list producers such as Damon Thomas, Hitmaka, and Rico Love.
The guys are also stoked to be embarking on their first tour, Scream Tour 2024, alongside a slew of talented rising acts.
AllHipHop spoke with CitiLimitz for their first interview ever. Read below as we discuss being on The Ellen Show, signing to Artistry/Republic Records, working with Tricky Stewart on their debut single, their album, going on their first tour, and more!
AllHipHop: How would you guys describe your sound?
Marion: Me personally, I’m a soulful, reggae-type singer.
A.T: I sing most of the high stuff. I do a lot of the Sopranos notes basically.
Dre: Me, I’m the natural guy. Real fun.
Marion: As a group, it’s R&B, pop, Hip-Hop.
All: We try to do everything.
AllHipHop: Being from Chattanooga, Tennessee, what was that like growing up?
A.T: It’s not a good story, I could say that. We’re from a small, country town. It’s a lot of stuff going on down there. We love our city, but we try to stay away from all the craziness that is going on in Chattanooga.
All: We love our city to death.
AllHipHop: When did you guys fall in love with music?
A.T: We’ve been singing all our lives. We started off with gospel. That’s what our roots come from, singing gospel. Our grandfather’s a pastor, so we really learned from them.
Marion: Gospel singing, quartet music.
A.T: We really come from a gospel background, but we’ve been singing all our lives. Actually at first, I didn’t want to sing.
Marion: Great story, let me tell it. These two never wanted to sing. Mom and pops didn’t force them, but they’re like “it’d be great…” I’m the only one wanting to sing, they wanted to do sports. Basketball, football, things like that. Music’s always been in my heart.
A.T: Together, we’ve been singing as a group, as CitiLimitz for six years. In the beginning, I
didn’t want to sing.
AllHipHop: What happened that made you come around?
A.T: After we went on The Ellen Show in 2019, I was like, “Yeah, this is what I want to do. This is what I’m going to pursue.” That’s the first time I said yeah, I’ma do this.
AllHipHop: How did y’all end up on “The Ellen Show?”
Marion: Oh man. It’s a really long story, but I’ll make it short. Anthony Hamilton’s background singers, they formed an R&B group called The Hamiltones. They came to a local spot in Chattanooga, and we love The Hamiltones. Shout out to The Hamiltones. We ended up popping out to their show. We stay singing one of their songs “Best Friend.” My baby brother loves that song.
We were really finna go up there and just sing, but they saw us and they recognized us. They knew us from our old videos or going viral on the internet. They’re like. “Just wait. Come with us backstage after the show.” After the show, we went backstage and sang for them. Angela Rye from CNN, she posted on her page and it went viral. The producer from Ellen had called us the next day and asked us to be on the show.
At first, they told us we weren’t going to meet Ellen, so it was basically all a surprise. We were going to do a podcast, say, “We love Ellen,” and sing a little bit. But they surprised us in the crowd. It’s on the internet right now, y’all can check it out on YouTube.
AllHipHop: How was it being on television that young?
A.T: Man, it was scary for me. It was my first time being on TV. I didn’t know what to do. We had two minutes to learn the song. It was really stressful. I can only speak for myself. It was my first time ever being on a TV show, there was no time to learn anything. “Y’all gon’ do this interview here…”
Dre: They called the next day. We had to learn the song the same day.
Marion: They made us pick out five songs to send it to them, then they were going to pick out one.
Dre: I don’t even remember that, that’s crazy. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Why are you guys called CitiLimitz?
A.T: We want to get young children and people in general outside of their “city limits.” Although we love our city, it’s easy to get pulled into rough aspects of it.
Dre: There’s more to life than a box. It’s okay to hop out of that box.
Marion: It’s real.
AllHipHop: Talk about being discovered by Kevin Wales.
Marion: Man, it was crazy. It was great meeting him. We call him Unc now, that’s how great of a bond we have with this legendary [man]. This is a real life legend we are talking about.
Dre: Being with him and learning so much within two years…
A.T: Not even about the industry, but being a man. Growing up as a young man, all that. He’s a really great person.
Dre: He’s like another father figure.
Both: Yes, forreal.
Marion: He’ll take the clothes off his backs for us. Feed us, let us get a house. We’re really thankful for being with him and him taking us in. We really love him for that.
AllHipHop: How’d he find you guys?
A.T: We had a manager we were working with, one of his best friends had inboxed our father. He was saying that Kevin wanted to work with us. My pops was communicating with him, but we were already in contract with another manager we were working with. After we got out of that, it’s been magic ever since.
AllHipHop: Congrats on signing to Artistry and Republic, that’s huge!
Dre: When we sat down, we were excited. It was our first deal.
A.T: It’s something we’ve really been dreaming about. It’s been a lot of times where people tell us that “this is finna happen, we gon’ get signed this time.” For six years they’ve been telling us, we just got signed last year in August. For me, it was a relief, because we’ve been turned down so much and lied to a lot.
Dre: My experience, I cried.
Marion: We were actually tricked.
Dre: Ooh, I remember that!
A.T: We go to LA, we go to Republic and we perform for them. She said she liked us and all that. We left the building and we sat in the car.
Dre: Hold on before all that, he was so nervous. He’s like, “did we do a good job?”
A.T: We’re sitting in the car with our head down, hoping we did a good job. They came to the car and said, “Y’all are signed to Republic Records!” We started crying from there.
Dre: It was amazing!
Marion: Beautiful moment.
A.T: One of the best moments of my life, literally. ‘Til this day, we thank y’all.
AllHipHop: Did you think you’d be signed this early?
A.T: No actually. When they told us that we had a meeting with Republic, we weren’t really excited about it because…
Marion: We’ve been let down so many times.
A.T: We’re like “okay, let’s just do it.” We weren’t really excited about it because every time we had a deal or had something coming up, it was always lies or we’d been turned down. We really weren’t excited about it.
Dre: Basically, it was unexpected.
All: Very unexpected.
AllHipHop: How was it linking with Tricky Stewart on your debut single, “Say No More”?
Marion: First of all, “Say No More”? Oh my god, it’s a banger. Working with another legend, another great man. One of the best producers in the game, if not the best producer in the game right now. Tricky Stewart, he worked on most of our whole album. We were down there from January 15th, for a whole month. We were going to two different studio sessions, from 12pm to 6am, every day for 30 days working hard on our album. Working with him, it’s fun and comfortable.
Dre: Working with Tricky Stewart is fun, but you gon’ work. You gon’ put in that work. He gets things through your head and makes it easy for you. It’s going to be hard work, but he’s going to butter it up and fix it up for you. Do everything gracefully, he’s a great producer.
A.T: It was fun working with him, an amazing experience. We’ll never forget it.
Marion: And make sure y’all stream “Say No More”!
AllHipHop: Did you learn anything from being in the studio with Tricky?
All: Of course.
Marion: When we came down here, we weren’t recording too much. Honestly, in the studio working, it helps you a lot. You learn a lot. It gets easier for you. After 10 minutes, we were knocking songs out.
Dre: We were doing two songs a day, three songs a day. Knocking them out. It got easier for us, it wasn’t really too long that we’ve been working hard.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your album? You guys worked with a lot of big producers.
Marion: We have “Say No More.” We have a couple more songs like “Best Part of Me,” “Shout” we just recorded.
Dre: Man, this album is crazy!
Marion: Damon Thomas, he’s a producer for that. Another great producer, man. Both of them, Tricky Stewart and Damon Thomas, we call both of them Unc.
Dre: It’s like a big family. Everybody that we meet, it becomes a family. Everybody we meet: “you my bro. That’s my sister. That’s Unc.” Working with Damon Thomas is amazing.
Marion: It’s amazing, he’s a funny guy. When you do a song, he’s going to jump up and start dancing, doing all that.
A.T: We also got another song from Hitmaka, another big producer/artist. Whatever you like, it’s a magical album.
Dre: We got a lot of surprises for y’all, most definitely. Stay tuned, it’s coming. Once again, R&B, pop, and Hip Hop. In one album, we have everything.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to be opening on The Scream Tour?
A.T: We are so excited! We’re so excited to be on the Scream Tour. Once again, thank you to our people, our team for helping us out with this. Our first tour! It’s really big.
Marion: We’re the underdogs, so we can real life prove ourselves and show everybody we really them guys. When you’re looking out there, we them guys. We ready to do it.
Dre: We’re really looking forward to performing on The Scream Tour. We’ll be performing our single and a couple more songs from the album. Y’all come out there, get them tickets, turn up with us.
AllHipHop: Have you guys been rehearsing?
All: Yes, everyday.
Marion: Work out, getting our bodies right.
A.T: Forreal forreal. We’re getting prepared for it, so we’re going to be ready. Y’all come out, y’all gone love it.
AllHipHop: What do each of you bring to the table?
A.T: I bring the looks, talent, everything. I dress the best, I dance the best. I bring everything, they really my backup singers. That’s all that is, I’m really everything in one. [laughs]
Marion: I’m the laidback, the soulful… I’m trying to touch all the women. I’m trying to touch all the ladies. I’m trying to put that feeling in their soul.
Dre: I ain’t gotta say too much, you gon’ see for yourself. Come to the Scream Tour, y’all gon’ see.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourselves?
A.T: My goal is to have longevity in the music business, that’s all. Longevity. Hopefully when I’m 30 years old, I don’t have to worry about anything else. I want to make it to where my grandkids ‘kids can be successful and won’t have to worry about anything. That’s my goal.
Marion: My goal is same with him, longevity, but I want to real life touch the world. I want this group to touch the world. I want to bring back that passion, that type of crying. Like Michael Jackson, I want this group to bring that back to the world.
Dre: They basically said everything. I feel like we can really take over the world, it’s going to happen. As long as we keep God first, it’s going to happen.