FLY magazine April 1997
It’s Another Level For BLACKstreet
This talented youg group worked their way into our hearts with their debut, self-titled, millionselling CD release in 1994. Their hot single "Booti Call", changed the face of street-talk as we knew it. Instead of guys carrying around those pesky ‘little black books’ stuffed with Ladies’ alphabetized phone numbers, now they were making ‘Booti Calls’, asking for what they wanted.
Two years later, BLACKstreet is back with a jeep-ready, radio-friendly LP titled Another Level (Interscope). That’s just what it is - the next level- because it shows us where they’ve been and where they’re going! It’s clear how they’ve soared to the top of the charts with their first single, "No Diggity". Although some new voices have come to reside BLACKstreet, the group retains the same signature harmonious flava as before.
We spoke with new member Eric Williams and Mark Middelton about their musical style, their LP, and much more. Get up on what they shared.
FLY: Which of your two albums do you consider to be your best album and why?
MARK: the second album because I think Teddy got to do what he really wanted this time. Also there's more unity this time and I believe that Teddy and Chauncey were looking for the group to be friends.
ERIC: Another Level because this album represents a true sense of compassion for all women.
FLY: What sets BLACKstreet apart from the other groups?
MARK: The heart and soul of the group members, the music, and most importantly God.
ERIC: I feel that we have a style of our own. We don't have any particular image or role portray as artists. We do what we do from our hearts.
FLY: What is the next level for BLACKstreet?
MARK: I think maybe acting on TV and the big screen and maybe owning and operating a gospel label.
ERIC: I would like to become an established producer/songwriter. I've done something, but it doesn't come close to wht I intend to do.
FLY: What has been the most profound lesson you've learned thus far?
MARK: The most profound lesson I've learned in life was to trust God and believe in his Word.
ERIC: The profound lesson I've learned is to stay hungry and humble.
FLY: Who are your favorite artists and what lesson have you learned from them that you've applied to your own music?
MARK: Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and just about all gospel artists. From these guys, I've learned vocal abilty, smooth soulful singing, strong convictions, and paying attention to what I'm singing about. Also Teddy, Chauncey and Eric. From Teddy, I've learned the importance of big, strong music and the importance of always striving to be the best. Chauncey taught me the need for being humble and Eric reminded me of the importance of smooth soulful singing.
ERIC: Donny Hathaway taught me to have discipline.
FLY: What do you enjoy doing for fun?
MARK: I like sports and listen mostly to gospel music and any dope artists that can sing their hearts out. I also love movies and reading.
ERIC: I like performing live. Some of my favorites are New Edition, Case, Jay Z, Nas and Mary J. Blidge.