Every singing group appoints a lead singer whose distinct voice helps shape its sound. For former Bad Boy protégés 112, Marvin "Slim" Skandrick was that guy. With classics such as "Cupid," the group's hip-hop infused ballads had brothers grooving and sisters swooning. Nowadays, the Atlanta front man has gone solo with his debut, "Love Is Crazy," on his own independent label, M3, which boasts chart-toppers such as "So Fly." In a candid conversation with ESSENCE.com, Slim explains his relationship with Diddy, reveals the craziest thing he's done for love, and discusses those 112 breakup rumors.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats on your solo debut! How does it feel to be your own boss?
SLIM: Thank you. I never wanted to do a solo project, but I'm glad I did. Now, I have my own label and I'm the captain of my own ship and it feels great. I wanted to start all over again and do the grassroots approach and then branch out to radio. That's when the labels start coming after you anyway. I have a great partnership with Asylum and my label M3, which represent my three sons whose names all begin with "M." I feel blessed to see my vision through with the same tenacity and energy that's gotten me where I am today.
ESSENCE.COM: Were you nervous about going solo?
SLIM: Yes and I started to doubt myself. There were a lot of naysayers, many of those who were closest to me, telling me I was a has-been and going independent wouldn't work for me because I was oversaturated and waited too long. I allowed it to affect me to the point where I was ready to give up music all together until I traveled to Sydney, Australia, and was chilling on Bondi beach and met someone who worked on the local radio station there and invited me to come on his show. It was all the love from all the locals telling me I couldn't quit that inspired me to say I wanted my own deal. I realized that was nothing but the devil that had allowed the words of naysayers to affect me. I really believed folks no longer wanted to hear my voice because it was annoying. And I have my friend Shakir Stewart, rest in peace, to thank for getting me my deal. I remember not being able to get clearance for the album and Shakir, who was headed out of town, got off the plane and delayed his trip to make sure he called all the people to make it happen. That's the kind of dude he was and I love him for that.
ESSENCE.COM: Wow, that's awesome. The title of your album "Love Is Crazy" means a whole lot of different things. What is the craziest thing you've done for love?
SLIM: (Laughs.) Love will make you do all kinds of crazy things, and when you haven't been in love you're quick to say what you won't do. The craziest thing I've done was on the P. Diddy and the Family Tour with 112, and it was at Madison Square Garden in New York. I was expecting my second son to be born any day. I let everyone know, including the promoter, when I get the call that my girl is going in labor I'm out of here. My feeling was, I only have one shot with this baby and I don't care what's going on. I'm not missing it for anyone. So I get the call, and man, I dipped. When I got to Atlanta she had only just gone into labor. I missed the performance and Puff was pissed because I just rolled out without saying too much other than she's about to have the baby. I was in the doghouse for about two weeks (laughs). Puff was like, "Man, you the lead the singer; what are you doing?" And I was like, "Look, the fellas all know how to sing, one of them can lead. Good luck 'cause I'm going to have a baby!"
ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) Diddy might run the city but you ran to Georgia to help deliver your son. Much respect! How has fatherhood made you a better man?
SLIM: It reminds me that it's not all about you. My three sons' happiness comes first which makes me happy. I've been accused of spoiling them but I teach them well. I instill in them responsibilities and there are repercussions to [your actions]. I'm very instrumental in their extracurricular activities. Throughout Atlanta, folks will say, "When you see Slim, you see his boys."
ESSENCE.COM: Speaking of seeing you with your boys, is 112 still together?
SLIM: We haven't broken up, at least not in Q, Daron and my eyes. 112 is still together, we will never let that brand die. That's Mike's personal opinion that we have, but I haven't spoken to him in a year. At the end of the day, me and Mike we're cool and have no issues. The group is so much bigger than what Slim wants. If folks want to know if they'll ever see another 112 project I will put that in God's hands, and if there is, Slim will be right there in the front door ready to make it happen.
ESSENCE.COM: That's great to hear! But Mike said he reached out to you all and no one has called him back. Is that true?
SLIM: No, I made the last outreach. He never called me. We spoke and he told me what his issues were and I shared mine and we respect each other. As a family, you should talk it out and somebody has to make the first step and Slim can't do it. I tried. I did everything that a man could possibly do. Time and bills wait for nobody. I have three boys to take care of and I'm not trying to explain to them the reason I can't do certain things. Slim doesn't sit back and wait for things to happen; he keeps it moving.
ESSENCE.COM: We hear you and hope to hear 112 again real soon. So do you keep in touch with Diddy?
SLIM: I do get phone calls from Diddy. We are very cool. It was a great feeling when Diddy reached out to me to say, "I hear your great voice on the radio and I'm very, very proud of you. You have learned not to settle and elevate your career." I look at him like a big brother. He doesn't have to call me. I was like, "Wow. I learned from the best." He was trying to do a remix with me but it was a scheduling conflict, but I told him, it's my label, I own my own masters. We can do this whenever because I can put out as many remixes as I want (laughs)." I talk to him and Faith a lot.
ESSENCE.COM: Before you go, what do you hope will be your final destination in life?
SLIM: I'm down to earth and very approachable and easygoing. To tell you the truth, who cares two cents if I can make the money? My final destination might be Hawaii. I'm not a flashy dude and it fits my personality. I'd love to walk around with a tank top and shorts and chill on the beach all day. I'd be good and happy, loving life and loving God.