It’s not often nowadays that the word “timeless” isn’t thrown around easily. As a matter of fact, most people can’t even gauge a real R&B classic anymore. People usually refer to the days of the past like an old folk story when schooling the youth on music with meaning.
Today Ballerstatus.com and Tha Advocate had the privilege to pick the brain of one of the most influential R&B icons to date, Michael Bivins. He was in New Edition, Bell Biv Devoe, and brought you many famous acts of the 90s including Boyz II Men. People of yesterday call him Michael Bivins. In 2010, we call him Mike Biv, aka Sportyrich. Nothing has slowed down Biv in present day.
In part two of our chat, SportyRich talks about working on “Making The Band” and Day26, his prediction about the Mayweather/Mosley fight, and how today’s executives are on some “You not really hot right now, so we ain’t really f***ing with you” vibe.
BallerStatus.com: How does it feel to host the first R&B installment of Digital Dynasty with Ballerstatus.com and myself? What can people expect of some of your material they will hear on the project?
Mike Biv: First of all, it’s an honor and a privilege man. First of all, I’m not a Trey Songz or a KC from Jodeci. I’ve never been a lead singer. So even the R&B world can sit back and say “WOW, I never heard him talk, I am just used to hearing him singing on the music.” The crazy thing is I get to talk some sh** and that’s what I did in New Edition anyways. It’s an honor man and I think they expect to hear some different music and hopefully some different moods they go through listening to the Dynasty music selection. They feel good and feel I am credible to be here. On some real sh**, I been writing R&B for 27 years. I’m not no unofficial cat. If you look in the Guinness Book of World Records, you can see that I got the most records sold of any R&B group in the game.
BallerStatus.com: You were a very vital part of “Making The Band.” You did a lot of artist development with Day 26. When you were seeing them together and things were coming full circle, did you think they had potential to be a legendary R&B group?
Mike Biv: I’m gonna be honest man. I wanted to be Day 26’s manager. That was the first job I didn’t get. I did a scene with them in Miami, in that big ass house, on Season 4: Part Two, where I had a meeting with them like you would have with a manager. It never made it to television, but I basically told them that I haven’t managed a group since Boyz II Men and I’ve always been the president, but I would be honored to manage y’all. I feel like, “You are only gonna go two ways with show ….either you are gonna get a lot of exposure or you are gonna be a TV group. But I want to put you in the real world and put you as a touring group. Because in the real world, if you are not a touring group, then you n****s is gonna be broke soon as this airs the finale.”
What upsets me about it is I don’t know what happened with them and Puff and the inner workings of that and the labels, managers and artists. There is always gonna be things you have to work through. What was disappointing was when I got a call that Que wasn’t in the group no more, I felt like when I was on the show, I was a voice of reason for them. I just don’t feel good that they did all this with five and they had those couple of projects and now they are down to four. That to me should have been prevented. That would have been prevented by having someone talk to them about how it works to be in a group and keeping everybody’s head cool. That’s my thing with them. Do I think they can sing and harmonize? I think they have great talent, but I can see what they are lacking. They are lacking somebody who should have got at them early, as opposed to coming in and benefiting from the TV. I shoulda went in there and put out the fires and the problems and sh**. I would have been the fire man with them as opposed to have been riding the wave with MTV.
BallerStatus.com: With that said, in your opinion, are they leaning towards “legendary touring group” or “TV group?”
Mike Biv: I don’t know. I know they are still at Atlantic. I know they stayed with the label while Puff is over there in the Interscope system. They’re gonna miss a major part with him as a president because of what he brings, just for publicity and the whole PR part. Now we will see. Now they just have to make the great records, and then, how they are gonna be imaged and marketed and which way they are gonna go about it. They are in a great system with Atlantic. I don’t know how people are gonna take to them losing a member of the group. How they are gonna talk about it and address it to the people who grew to love them as a group on TV? All of those things will be done by there camp. Will I be routing for them? Yea! But I do know that I took that one on the chin and I’m not afraid to admit it that I didn’t get that job.
BallerStatus.com: Did you watch Bobby Brown on “Celebrity Fit Club?”
Yea, I watched it. I find that Bobby is going through a spiritual change and an internal process. I find that I try to support whatever he does, no matter if I feel he could have done something different. Maybe he could have got a trainer and did it privately, but if he feels the way of the world is to go on TV and keep yourself relevant and he goes on “Celebrity Fit Club”, then I kinda support it. At the end of the day man, he is one of us and I try not to judge what he does. Now if he would have asked me in private like “Yo Beaver (that’s what he calls me), what you think about me on ‘Celebrity Fit Club?’ “, then I would have probably had a whole other f***ing conversation with him. I would have been coming at him like how we would have came up as kids and the type of people that groomed us separately. You know, him with dancing and me with balling, the mindset that was put into us. I know they wouldn’t have agreed to him being on “Celebrity Fit Club,” but I can rock with him being on it because he has a personality and if he wasn’t on it, then I don’t think a lot of people would have tuned in too it.
BallerStatus.com: Fight prediction … Mayweather or Mosley?
Mike Biv: I got to be honest Advo. I can’t really predict that one. Because I know Mayweather talks the talk and walks the walk. I think that Shane is at that point where his hands are just as fast. I don’t think that fight is going to be about who punches the fastest or who defends the best, I think it’s going to be about who fights the most. Someone is going to be on offense and someone is going to be on defense. So my pick is … whoever takes it to him is going to win! I think we are gonna see that in the first three rounds because I think someone is going to fall back. Both of those motherf***ers don’t want to be knocked out in fear of there egos. So someone needs to say “F*** the ego… I need to get this sh** over with”. So ask me again when the fight is on and I’ll text you the answer Advo.
BallerStatus.com: Out of all the memories you had in the industry with both groups tell us something that just sticks out that you can never forget?
Mike Biv: Sitting on the video soul couch with Donnie Simpson. Ronnie, the night before, was in the video lab with Lionel Martin (the director of the “Poison” video) and was putting together our video. Me and Ricky were not there and walking it in to the BET studio for the first time premiering our video for the first time on “Video Soul” was very emotional for me because … for one, a member of the group sat there and was part of that process. As a member I was proud that Ronnie was able to have a vision without us in the room and to do such a great job. More importantly, the first time I looked at that sh** was when it was on TV! So it was kinda like as you were watching it, I was watching it. The emotion and I was sweating up under my arms. I had a Seattle Seahawks Starter jacket on, which is bugged out because I am in Seattle f***ing with you today. I’m sitting there and my shirt was mad sweaty and my under arms were sweating and sh**. Now I don’t even sweat like that, but I was nervous and happy and I think I might have even shed a tear on the show. I was so happy though man, because we finally did something I never would of thought would be done, because none of us ever thought we could be a group together. To see us on national TV with our dancers and the phones going crazy it was phenomenal man. It was an incredible feeling.
BallerStatus.com: After a legacy in the game and so many milestones, what’s next for Michael Bivins?
Mike Biv: I finally hit a point in my career where I called some of my people that are in business and in power now, and some of them haven’t been to welcoming to my ideas and what I want to do right now. I kinda got that “You not really hot right now, so we ain’t really f***ing with you” feeling. I don’t know if people realize, but I want to tell you because this is BallerStatus and Digital Dynasty. I’m not really about the generation executives of today.
I’m the young motherf***er to Russell Simmons and Lyor [Cohen] and Andre Harrell and L.A. [Reid] and Babyface over at Laface records. When all of that was going on, I was the only young guy getting a budget from a white Jew boy from that time. So I was the first of my age dealing with that type of paper. To be honest with yo,u every name that I just named is well off. So what I have to do now is play catch up. When I was with Boyz II Men, I made more paper then I ever did in my life, but Andre Harrell’s severance pay when he left Motown was more then what I made as an artist and an executive. The way L.A. Reid was employed with Arista and Def Jam and all of that and Russell with Russ communications … the way they built their brands and those guys being my peers, I don’t even know if I can obtain that sh** right now because the game is so different.
So what happens to me now is, I am still dealing with that sh** mentally, because I don’t really look at Jay-Z and Puff Daddy and see what they are doing because those dudes ain’t really my peers. Those are the people that came after us because of the doors we knocked down. People always tell me in the streets, it don’t matter if you first Mike … n****s that are second, third and fourth really benefit. They crawl over you and you make it easier for them. So right now, I’m kinda back in the food line and I am trying to deal with that yesterday sh**, and that reality and stay focused for the new things I am about to do because those guys are over the fence and are well off. I am supposed to be over there with them.
You can follow Mike Biv on Twitter @MikeBiv.
Photos shot by Joey B of VCDesignz.com, for BallerStatus.com