Pleasure P Talks Love, Pretty Ricky, and ‘Break Up to Makeup’ [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
Marcus Cooper, a.k.a. Pleasure P, is turning down these days. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has no desire to sing on big bass-heavy rap records, a trend in mainstream R&B, he says is “frustrating” and “wack.” Instead, P is serving “authentic” sounds of the genre with his latest mixtape ‘Break Up to Make Up.’
On Feb. 26, days after dropping the Valentine’s Day project, he stands mesmerized by the wide windows of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s lobby lounge. A few stories above the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan, it offers a rare sight over a snow-coated Central Park and surrounding buildings. He captures the brochure-worthy scene with his cell phone camera and orders mimosas.
“Let’s have a toast because you have to do the interview right,” he tells The Boombox. P cheers to the future before opening up on why the current state of R&B needs to stand for love again and the blueprint for his return to the game.
“I’ve done this for a living already so it’s like, we did that already. Now it’s about — I do it for the love of it and that’s it. I feel like the game needs me. R&B sounds like … a lot of people listen to A&Rs and everybody tryna keep up with rappers,” he concludes. “Now it’s just turn up, drugs, pop molly, pop champagne, floss about cars and stuff that people really don’t have.”
P is inching his way back into the minds of music listeners. Back in 2009, he released his debut album ‘The Introduction of Marcus Cooper,’ a successful effort that spawned his biggest hit ‘Boyfriend #2’ and three Grammy nominations. But after controversy surrounding charges of alleged child molestation, which he called “100-percent false,” he went under the radar. Since then, he’s been traveling internationally through Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and other countries, promoting his reggae records.
In an effort to return to his R&B roots, Cooper teamed up with a friend and supporter DJ Clue for ‘Break Up to Make Up.’ “I was like you haven’t put out a mixtape in sometime. Let’s do something great,” P explains of his conversation with the mixtape king. The project is a collection of past unreleased material. “So we kind of wanted to put some R&B back into these streets and give people hope again. Give people that whole I’m in love type of vibe. And I ain’t too rich or too swagged out to say that I’m sorry.”
Cooper is not afraid to lead by example as he pens his deepest feelings of longing for his ex-girlfriend on the track ‘Letter to My Ex.’ He sings, “I wish I could see where we went wrong/’Cause the love that we had was so strong.” Cooper knows that everyone does not have the words to approach their relationship problems. He wants his songwriting to fill in those blanks.
Watch Pleasure P’s ‘Letter to My Ex’
“We all need somebody to speak for us and sometimes songs speak to people when you’re just laying in the bed and you might hear my song and you say, ‘You know I was really f—ed up to that girl. You know let me go make that right.’” He continues later, “I just want to take it back to the whole era of treating ladies right and not degrading women.”
Cooper has matured since breaking into the industry as a member of the R&B group Pretty Ricky. Their hit ‘Grind With Me’ will turn 10 next year. “It’s classic music. Of course I’m not attached to that brand anymore.” He went solo in 2007, but he has had no communication with former members in recent times. “We don’t speak. We don’t have nothing to talk about but the past. I’m busy focused on the future,” he proclaims.
At 29, he wants to use his fame as a platform. Artists such as Tupac, Jay Z and Kanye West have inspired him to use his interviews to speak about reality. “Kanye West inspires me because he teaches us to speak out. I have never taken the approach of speaking out and just showing people what it really is. So in my interviews I always try to do the same thing and I base it upon love.”
In the future, the crooner is not in a rush to drop new material. He is playing it by ear and waiting to see the people’s reaction to his music. “I’m basing it on the people. But I’m not going to waste anybody’s money to promote it and put it out and it’d be a bad thing for everybody. I’ll wait.”
Down the line, he envisions R&B singers reclaiming their place in music by coming together, instead of needing five rappers on a song “to make” them hot. “No you’re hot because you’re hot,” he says. “You’re hot because you do R&B and its classic and it’s timeless music. We should work together. We should tour together. We should embrace each other. We should embrace our culture and that’s what I want to see more of.”
It is clear Cooper is on to something bigger than himself.