What’s What With … Boyz II Men

More than 20 years after the CAPA grads harmonized their way onto MTV, three of the original members of Boyz II Men are still doing their thing, with a sold-out (who knew?!) gig at Resorts in A.C. this weekend. I checked in with one of them to see what the  hell the Boyz have been up to.

So, you’re the skinny one?
Yeah. This is Shawn. I’m the skinny one … Can we talk about me winning some money in poker in A.C.?

Draw, stud, hold ’em?
I play Texas hold ’em. We used to play a lot with our crew, and then they just started being punks about it.

Will you be visiting your old ’hood this weekend?
The ’hood is a little far from where A.C. is. I’m from Southwest Philly. A lot of the people I know are not there, dead, or in jail, unfortunately. As much as I still love and have an affinity for it, just to hang out, the kids will probably be looking at me like, “What are you doing here?” I don’t want to bring attention to myself, because where I’m from, the neighbors ain’t so pleasant. Besides, when I go to casinos, I just stay at the poker tables.

You’ve sold something like 60 million albums, and yet your latest release [Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA] was all covers. Why not do something original?
We just felt it was the right time for the Motown. An original album from Boyz II Men might not have been looked on as well at that time. Good music is good music no matter what. The Motown album is something where we can let people know we still exist and do something that’s familiar and that they already like.

Here’s a million-dollar idea: Metallica covers.
I would LOVE that. Coincidentally, I am a huge Metallica fan. Master of Puppets is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Weird. What did your friends think about that?
I had to be a closeted metal head. My ’hood was Southwest Philly and I’m black, so if any of my homies got wind, I would have had a problem. I love rock music. But Metallica is by far my favorite rock band of all time. And they know it. They’ve seen me at the shows so many times. I am true to it.

You started off as a quintet, then a quartet, and now Boyz II Men is a trio. With all those tight harmonies, could you pull it off as a duet?
If it comes down to that, we won’t do it any more. I think that we as a trio are happiest. It’s cool for us and convenient. As much as we miss the good things, you feel like nothing’s missing.

Plus, you only have to split the loot three ways.
True, true. Less is more. But it’s still the core group, and we give 100 percet.

OK, last question. Is Boyz II Men responsible for the annoying “z” endings on words that should end in an “s,” like all the kids are doing today. For realz?
I don’t know if we started it, but that would be pretty cool. Yeah, OK, we started all of that. We turned the S’s into Z’s. Remember where it came from.