Chart-topping Hip Hop and R&B duo P.M. Dawn first broke through in 1991 with their #1 Billboard hit, “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”. Soon after, they achieved two more top ten hits, “I’d Die Without You” and “Looking Through Patient Eyes”. In more recent years, they made headlines after tragedy struck the group with the passing of founding member Attrell “Prince Be” Cordes. I caught up with the current-line up of P.M. Dawn, Doc G. and newest member K.R.O.K. to discuss the earliest formation, Prince Be, what’s in store next and much more in our exclusive interview!
TERRANCE: Can you refresh us a little on the earliest formation of P.M. Dawn?
DOC G: The earliest form of P.M. Dawn was my cousin Prince Be and myself. I had beat up a bully in High School and the guy turned out to be like one of the worst drug dealers you’ve ever seen in Queens and he put a hit out on me and so I went into the navy. In my absence, Prince Be added his younger brother Jarrett Cordes who is also known as DJ Minutemix and that was pretty much the story behind that.
TERRANCE: This year marked the 25th Anniversary of P.M. Dawn’s sophomore album, The Bliss Album…? What do you recall about those recording sessions?
DOC G: I just recall a lot of confidence and I also recall a lot of coming into your own as far as what you wanted to do. If I had to pick a favorite song I would say, “Beyond Infinite Affections”, but I believe that album did a very good job of showing the direction we were going in and I just thought it was an amazing album.
TERRANCE: One of the greatest love songs of our time, “I’d Die Without You” from the iconic Boomerang Soundtrack over the years have been covered by Brandy, Alicia Keys and more recently Childish Gambino. Give me some background on that song and how it was conceived.
DOC G: Prince Be was masterful with the way he put things together and it was one of those things where he was on the money based off of what you saw in the film. In the movie when Eddie Murphy stopped Halle Berry he originally said, I’d die without you, and we didn’t actually see that part of it, we just did what we did and so Eddie was a little shaken like, Wow, how did they nail that? So he changed the line from I’d die without you to I can’t breathe without you. I thought that was cool.
TERRANCE: Where were you when you first learned of the untimely passing of Prince Be and your initial reaction?
DOC G: I was in a car driving and my brother called me up and it’s odd because my brother and I don’t have the best relationship and for some reason he only calls me when I’ve lost someone we both love and cherish. So he called me up and said, how are you doing? I said, I’m alright. He said, Gregory I gotta tell you something, it’s about Bucky. That’s what we called him and I said, what about Bucky? He said, Gregory he didn’t make it, he’s gone. He said, are you going to be okay? And I said, fuck no. I said, I’ll deal with it and hung the phone up. That was the beginning of me going to pieces. I still can’t remove his contact information from my phone. Around Holidays and my Birthdays, it drives me nuts. I have terrible nightmares around Father Day weekends because he died the Friday before the Sunday that was Father’s Day in 2016. Just having to relive certain moments and conversations in my head and I would have new conversations and I would wake up and it’s not real and I’m like profusely sweating. I would drive and he would appear in the passenger side of the vehicle I was driving. I had to get rid of the vehicle because the Altima that I was driving was the same Altima that we would go up and down the road in and tour in and I couldn’t take it, so I had to get rid of the car. I’ll never get over the death of Attrell “Prince Be” Cordes, never. I have friends of mine whose parents and spouses die and things like that and I think I understand how that feels. When he died, I gotta be honest, a part of me died with him and I’m trying not to let that part of me die forever. You never recover from it, but somehow you get the strength to live and fight on in spite of it. K.R.O.K. has been a great deal of pain relief to the situation, because his musical mannerisms and the nature of our relationship with the way we laugh and go through things is similar to how I used to deal with Prince Be. When I first went to his home in Arizona and went to his studio, he sets his studio up kind of the way Prince Be set his studio up, even the vocal booth. Nothing could take the place of my cousin and the love I have for him, but in some strange way I feel like Be led me to this guy, like I know I messed up and didn’t eat the right things but let me link you up with someone who does some of the stuff I do. There’s something about the way K.R.O.K. makes a beat and I’m just ready to go, I’m always into it and it’s been clickin’ and jellin’. I’m just very thankful. God took one soldier from me, but he gave me another one. It took two years for it to happen but I’m glad it happened.
TERRANCE: And speaking of K.R.O.K., tell us how you became affiliated with the group.
K-R.O.K.: I actually met Doc G. through Twitter and honestly originally I was just sending my condolence because of what happened to Prince Be. I grew up listening to my group and the influences and stuff like that. Just listening to music that was different, you know? As they call left field, but left field to me is always good because you’re not a follower, you’re always a leader. Anywho, I just sent my condolence out and whatnot and it took some months before I got a response from Doc G. and that’s understandable when you’re dealing with a loss, things take time, so he responded back and I was like, Hey I wanted to submit some production just for placements and of course he sent me his direct email. He sent me some stuff, I sent him some stuff and next thing you know, we were on the phone and got a chance to know each other outside of the music because that’s very important when you’re dealing with people in this industry. I mean, it’s important to have a relationship with them to understand them before you continue business, otherwise you’re just doing it for one thing and that’s business and then you go your separate ways, but in this situation me and Doc G. grew to become brothers, bliss brothers at that, so we started working doing music and he extended his hand and said, how would you like to be part of P.M. Dawn? And of course that’s something you just don’t take lightly, because you’ll say, yeah I’ll do it and not knowing what you’re getting yourself into because it’s a team effort and established group so you have to be prepared. As of April 6th of this year, Doc G. made the announcement via Facebook that I was one of the new members of the group and of course when he made that announcement, people were like, what? That’s cool and blah, blah, blah but the people that weren’t familiar with me that were P.M. Dawn fans started doing their research and knowing some my history as far as things I’ve done on the production end for other major artists, they were like, okay this is dope and just makes sense. So here we are and thanks to my bliss brother Doc G. we’re here and still in effect.
TERRANCE: Update us on the new music you’re working on and what can we expect.
DOC G: The best way I can describe it is Adult Contemporary Hip Hop, but at the same time we understand we must pay attention to what people are listening to and K.R.O.K. is doing a great job of keeping me in tuned with the vibes we need to get across and utilize. At the same time we’re staying true to ourselves and we’re just following our hearts. The beautiful thing about Hip Hop is that people in their 60’s are loving Hip Hop now. The writing’s on the wall. We see it on Twitter, people asking when are we coming back and when are we going to make another P.M. Dawn album. We’re making music for ourselves and the people that love us and the people that love us have wonderful brains and ears on each side of those brains and they really want to hear a specific type of Hip Hop and that is what we intend to give them.
TERRANCE: What do you hope to accomplish in this new phase of P.M. Dawn?
DOC G: I just want to have fun again and have the God given honor and privilege of doing what I love. I think that’s what everyone have a right to do and just want to make music to make people feel good and can identify with and maybe even help them get through their own adversities in life.
K.R.O.K.: I agree. Definitely to help them get through anything they go through and to tell music again not only sonically but emotionally. Also just to change the sound in music and this is my opinion that people are confused today when they listen to music. They don’t know if they want to turnup or they don’t know if they want to be in deathstep mode. I mean, Doc G. hit it on the nail with everything. P.M. Dawn has always stood for expressing yourself, like don’t be afraid to say this or say that and that’s what we’re going to do with this album.
TERRANCE: Any final words you would like to share for the fans?
DOC G: Sure. I just want to say thank you for what you’ve done and thank you for what you’re about to do for us and we promise not to let you down.
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