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Tank Says ‘Diary of a Mad Man’ Is ‘Edgy,’ Enjoys Single Life

Patrick Hoelck

Tank wants his fans to look at him differently. Never one to shy away from candor when it comes to sex and relationships, and on the brink of releasing his fifth album ‘Savior,’ the singer-songwriter-producer decided to go a alternate route by way of his ‘Diary of a Mad Man’ mixtape. Released on Nov. 25, the Milwaukee native offers a fresh spin on the break-up-to-make-up songs that put him on the map.

Since releasing his ‘Force of Nature’ debut in 2001, Tank, born Durrell Babbs, has a reputation for making music that you can laugh, cry or even make love to. A multi-Grammy nominee who has written for the likes of Jamie Foxx, Monica and Omarion, cranking out hits is second nature for him. When he announced via his Twitter page that his new mixtape would be released by the Black Friday shopping date, he had only two weeks to make things happen.

Gone are his typically remorseful love songs like ‘Maybe I Deserve’ and ‘Please Don’t Go,’ and in their place stand combative, self-assured and a few in-your-face tracks that find him being more demanding than self-loathing. In an effort to step even further away from what has become the norm in his music, he balanced out the guest list by collaborating with rappers like Slim Thug and Ace Hood, and linked with fellow crooners Kevin McCall and Luke James.

The BoomBox gets inside Tank’s brain as he divulges what’s to expect on ‘Diary of a Mad Man,’ and why, despite being so in tune with his feminine audience, he still hasn’t managed to shake the single life and settle down.

What can fans expect from the ‘Diary of a Mad Man’ mixtape?

They can expect a more edgy, more aggressive side of Tank. I really wanted to just put this out in the atmosphere for people who hadn’t seen this side of me and to make it a thing where it wasn’t pressure. Where people didn’t feel like it was any pressure to go see what [the mixtape] was about; where $9.99 wasn’t sitting on the CD case, [or that] we had to sell a certain [number] of records in the first week in order to look good. It wasn’t that type of thing; it was “Here’s some good music, here’s a different way to say it.” To my fans, hopefully you’ll appreciate it, and for those of you who don’t know me, you’ll learn something about me. This is my first [mixtape] and I wanted it to be good.

What do you mean by “edgy” and “aggressive”?

Definitely sonically. I got a beat on there that [Rick] Ross will probably get on, and some of the messages are like I’m tellin’ a dude [on the song 'Dead Man Walking'], “You coming back trying to get a woman that you used to have that’s my woman now? You keep going down this road, you’re going to be a dead man walking.” You know what I’m saying? As soon as I come on I’m just about to say some things. I don’t care if you don’t like it. I’m just off the top, just wrong and raunchy [laughs]. People don’t really get that from me. When we put out CDs, we give the good love making songs, timeless music and we never get around to this type of thing. I just felt like having fun.

Listen to Tank’s ‘Dead Man Walking’

Will the “new” Tank trickle over onto your ‘Savior’ album?

Not a lot; it’s going to have brief moments. ‘Savior’ is definitely very sexy, very geared towards the women. Some mildly aggressive moments, but in those moments of aggression, it’s still about the woman.

Can you talk about any of the songs on ‘Savior’?

I got a song called ‘Beat It Down,’ which is one of the edgier moments. You have women that want to cuddle and be close and then you have women that want the mattress to damn near fall off the bed [during sex]! I have a song called ‘Don’t Give Up,’ which is basically telling a woman like “I been taking care of you for the last 45 minutes getting you in the right place, don’t get tired now, don’t get sleepy now, I still got to get mine [orgasm].” It’s real crazy!

You’re known for making a lot of love songs. Are you currently in a relationship?

No, no not in a relationship. I need to be free! I need to be able to move around. I’ma tell you the truth, I love being in relationships. I love the comfort of a woman, the security of a woman to be able to hold me down, rub my head after a long day of interviews and photos… I love the idea of that. It’s just finding a person that can deal with the other side of what I do, to get into those moments.

So that’s been the hold up in finding a woman that can deal with your career?

I have to honestly say, it’s a lot to be in a relationship with me, but I give a lot in return.

When you are in a relationship, what kind of boyfriend are you?

I have kids, so there’s a priority there. I have the thing that supports everything I do — which is this music — so there’s my priority there. Sometimes the list gets a little long before it gets to that significant other, so I’m just the guy that’s honest about where things are, and if you can roll with it, we can roll.

How many children do you have?

I have four children. Oh yeah, my s— works [laughs]!

You and Jamie Foxx have been friends for several years, would you ever think of doing a joint album?

Definitely, we’ve talked about a bunch of ideas but Jamie is a million miles a minute. Between singing and acting at the level that he’s doing, it’s hard to really settle down and put all these ideas into work. We’ll see. We’re doing as much as we can together and we’ll figure it out.

As an R&B artist do you think the genre is becoming too concerned with crossing over into pop music rather than maintaining its original roots?

I think that R&B is in a great place. I think that R&B has had its moment of change, which everything does if you sit around long enough to watch it change. They still talking about the same things, they still talking about humping and women. They’re definitely more vulgar now, they’ll talk about titties and ass in a minute! I think we’ve definitely lost a little bit of the sexy that goes along with it. I also think we’ve lost the heartfelt moments that artists used to pride themselves in delivering. You have the great R&B album with all the urban crazy stuff and then they’d have a big ballad. That’s kind of being lost, and we [R&B artists] have to make sure we stay true to the good things in life.

Watch Tank’s ‘Please Don’t Go’


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