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Da Band's New Reality: Solo Albums And Movie Deals
May 17, 2004

Chopper has a new way to call out Da Band's name: "D-A ... B-A ... N-Deeeeeeee! R.I.P."

The youngest member of the now defunct group had tears in his eyes on this week's finale of "Making the Band," but on Friday as he traveled from New Orleans to Chicago he didn't seem dreary at all.

And he has good reason to be perky. Diddy — who disbanded the group on the finale and announced he'd only continue working with Ness and Babs — has given Chopper a second chance. Chop is going to be the first solo act on Bad Boy South.

"They sent me up to New York," he recalled of the surprise news. "They have you waiting up in the office all day just to tell you one thing. I was in the office all day and they said, 'It's confirmed, you're Bad Boy South.' I probably did three flips when they told me that."

To make sure Diddy isn't on his back, Chop said he's straightened up and will be acting more mature. "I was a young guy, ya dig?" he said of some of his questionable onscreen actions. "I had all my fun. Now I'm getting older. I gotta be cool, serious. I gotta be business. I have been most definitely scared straight."

Chopper's mapping out his solo album's blueprint with help from producer Tony Dofat, and he said he wants to work with Mannie Fresh, Juvenile, Lil' Wayne and Jazze Pha. Meanwhile, Ness and Babs are working on tracks from Dofat as well. Diddy has dubbed them hip-hop's new Bonnie and Clyde, implying that the two would operate as a duo, but that may not be the case.

Ness isn't sure what the game plan is, but he said he's continuing to work on a solo album called Nessessary with Dofat and underground producers like Black Keys, regardless of what he does with Babs.

"D-Dot volunteered to [executive produce] it. Just Blaze volunteered to do it. Rockwilder volunteered to do it," gloated Ness, who said he and fellow Philadelphia native Beanie Sigel are doing a song together in which they rhyme over the beat from Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G.'s classic "Brooklyn's Finest" collaboration.

Babs has a clearer picture of what Bad Boy has in store for her and rap's Loch Ness Monster. "It's gonna be two solo [albums]. They trying to package it sort of like Outkast," she said. "Two solo CDs, but sorta like a group. I'm happy about it. I would like to do my own thing, of course, but if I had to work with anybody it would be Ness. It's crazy. I feed off of Ness, he feeds off of me — it's a good team in the studio.

Like many of the group's fans, Babs found the "Making the Band" finale, taped weeks ago, to be a tearjerker. But though the six of them were sent their separate ways, they've still been getting together onstage.

"It feels weird performing together, because every show feels like it could be the last one," she said. "The fans [at recent shows] didn't really know the show was a wrap. We knew, but we couldn't say nothing. So we on the road doing shows and people saying, 'We hope y'all don't ever break up.' We looking at each other like, 'They just don't know.' "

Babs said she knows deep down that her fellow reality show veterans will land on their feet, with or without Bad Boy.

"People say Dylan f---ed his own self over, which could be true, but that doesn't take away from his talent. Hopefully he'll shape up and somebody will pick him up and wanna sign him. Sara is gonna be good. I already know she's got a movie deal and she's trying to get her foot in acting. She's a beautiful young woman, and she can sing.

"Fred is my boy," she continued. "I know he's gonna be good, but he's hard-headed. Fred is one of those guys that can't sit down and take orders. I speak to Fred often. Me and him are the closest out of everybody in Da Band. I try to get him out of that Dirty South mentality. He never had a job before, he never really had to deal with bosses."

Aside from their music, Babs said she and Chopper are going to be working on an independent film with Lil Fizz and some actors from "The Sopranos."

"It's on some mob stuff," she promised. "It's related to the mob life. I'm trying to clap a couple of people in the movie."



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