Crave: Ready To Go

Everybody has their own grind. For the members of Crave, that grind is finally about to pay off. The singing group was discovered by members of Pretty Ricky and immediately became their opening act. They’ve been popular in their native area (Pittsburgh) for years, but are now in a position to have national exposure. A downgrade from the heavy airplay they’re used to, the group is scarcely heard outside of the Northeast. It’s the drive they’ve always had that will get them even deeper into the game, and outside of their comfort zone. It’s easy to forget that Philadelphia isn’t the only city in Pennsylvania that can get it done. Crave is a product of Pittsburgh, and intends to make sure that we all remember their city with their new album Dem Boyz. In vibing with us, the fellas of Crave discuss the honor of receiving the key to Pittsburgh, their working with Pretty Ricky, and how they are Capturing and Ruling All Vivid Emotions. Alternatives: You guys are from Pittsburgh and have had tremendous success there, so much so that you were given the key to the city. How has this support driven you?E.R.: Yo, that was so unexpected and off the hook. We see other artists get things like that in other cities, but we never thought it would be us not in the ‘Burgh. To have a day named after us…whoa! Lil’ Hollywood: Word.AHHA: Is that why you’re regulars at the 106.7 WAMO FM Summer Jam?Lil’ Hollywood: We do a lot with WAMO all year long. You know, if they need us, we’re going to be there. They do a lot of community events, and they always include us – weather it’s a concert, talent show or singing Christmas carols for sick children in the hospital. There has always been a collaboration between us, ya dig?E.R.: Besides, our CEO of Meanstreet is Big D, and he has an excellent relationship with radio, so he makes sure we stay in the loop! AHHA: Your new album is titled Dem Boyz. Is it very different from the mixtape?Hollywood: Yeah it’s a lot different. The mixtape was more of a street thang, way more Hip-Hop oriented. E.R.: We wanted our homies to feel that we had a strong street presence in the hood, since we’re all from the hood. Feel me? The Jonezes: We knew we would have the girls, but we wanted to stay connected with the hood too. AHHA: As far as radio airplay, “Who’s Hot “and “Real Chik” are huge in the Midwest. What will be the direction of the new album? E.R.: We’ve been working on our new album with Pretty Ricky. We did three songs with them; you can expect good quality music with a rough side to it. That’s all we can say about that for now.AHHA: How long have you known each other and how did the group come together?The Jonezes: We all basically met in high school. We were all in the same choir and our radio station WAMO was having a talent show, so we put CRAVE together to enter the talent show. There we met Big D and Meanstreet, and the rest was basically history.AHHA: Are you all single? E.R.: Yes ma’am we are all single. Just trying to stay focused on our music and everything, we have to do to get the job done. Although Crave loves the ladies, right now it’s too much to handle. With how crazy our schedule gets they never understand the sacrifice it takes.AHHA: Crave stands for “Capturing and Ruling All Vivid Emotions.” Where did this come from?E.R.: Well we kind of all came up with the name CRAVE or at least agreed to it, but it was ya boy Lil’ Hollywood [that] made up the meaning for the name CRAVE. Lil' Hollywood: I just wanted something that would make sense and that people would remember.AHHA: Do you think people have any misconceptions about what to expect from Crave? How would you describe your style?The Jonezes: We think we are real different. We like making real bugged harmonies, like real big hooks and just recording real music that makes our fans feel good. About supporting us – we want to touch everyone who listens to us, that’s what we set out to do for this album. Just have a little piece of everything that people could relate to. The struggles of life, whether good or bad just feel us.AHHA: Do you worry about any type of comparison to other groups, or do you think that will actually help you?Lil’ Hollywood: Naw, because we ain’t trying to be better than anybody else. We just want to be the best at what we do. If that makes us the best or better than the rest, we’ll be fine with that.E.R.: [laughs] Preach on bro! AHHA: Before 106 & Park, was there any other sort of national exposure?The Jonezes: That was definitely the biggest television audience. I mean, we performed overseas in Germany and for big arenas and stadiums. But hey, you’re talking about BET's 106 and Park. They got like how many viewers? We were getting recognized in other states and cities behind that performance.AHHA: What’s it like to be on tour with Pretty Ricky? Are they very encouraging?E.R.: Pretty Ricky, those are our dudes. We love those cats; they showed us a whole lot of love. Our label and Big D hooked up that relationship, but don’t get it twisted, it ain't come easy. They’ll make you prove yourself as an artist and show them that you deserve to be there. Hollywood: No Doubt! AHHA: How did the record deal come about? The Jonezes: Well, Big D always kept a relationship with Baby Blue and just kept him down with everything that we were doing. I mean, for like a year he would just be putting Blue down with all our progress. Then, the opportunity for us to go on the tour came up, and Big D made it happen. They finally got to see us for themselves - killin’ it city after city - and were impressed. There was an Atlantic rep on the tour that was interested in us too, but we were already f**kin’ with Blue. So after the tour was over, it was a lot of back and fourth discussions, and Big D went down to Florida for a meeting. The next thing you know, we were out in beautiful Miami recording a new album in Pretty Ricky’s condo. Lil’ Hollywood: Oh definitely, big ups to our label Meanstreet Entertainment that trooped it out for us even when we ain’t believe they did. AHHA: You guys have Crave TV where viewers can watch your music videos and clips from Pretty Ricky’s condo in Miami. Do you think that this form of advertisement has had an effect?E.R.: I mean that’s the company behind us that makes sure we are always getting some kind of exposure. We try to film everything that we do so that our fan can see how we live off the stage and just keep the connection.AHHA: Any word on when we can expect more from Crave?E.R.: Very, very soon!