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RL | Features

RL SaveOurSoul artist of the Month June 2002




Imagine music without experience. Standing alone. The thought is more harmful than it seems. Without love, joy, sorrow or any trickle of emotion, music doesn't exist. Good music, that is. But with his solo debut, R.L. need not worry. He's got a wealth of experience to share with the world.

R.L. ements is made up of the building blocks of R.L., the person. That's what makes his music so real. "I want this album to be used as therapy. I've gone through a lot during this short time in my life. Musically and vocally, I wasn't afraid to express myself," R.L. makes clear. And the album's heartfelt intro opens the doors into R.L.'s life.

"Being in a group, I only got to express one-third of myself, " R.L. says of his career in the music industry thus far. As the lead singer of Next, R.L. was a major factor in the success of the R&B trio. The group released two impressive albums on Arista Records, Rated Next and Welcome to Nextacy. Both albums were praised for their pleasing harmonies and their tasteful dose of indecency.

R.L. promises to give more than the usual Next-type subject matter. "There is nothing too risque here. I don't want to be botched in. I'm trying to Will Smith this thing out. I want to make feel good music for everybody, and I know I have a responsibility now."

A true artist, R.L. wrote the entire album himself, while managing to write songs for other artists in between. He penned the Jaheim hit "Just In Case, " as well as Luther Vandross' "current single." As someone suffering from his own heartache, he had a lot to write about. He explains, " I didn't have friends growing up. I've dealt with depression my whole life. I had problems at home; all I had was my music. My first love is music, and it will always be like that."

Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, R.L. was exposed to a variety of musical styles that helped influence his sound. Artists like Prince, Michael Jackson and musical pioneers such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis encouraged R.L. to pursue music. "I was lucky enough to grow up on all these different sounds. In the Midwest, it's perfect. You hear all types of music, from the East Coast, to the West Coast, even down South."

The first single "Model Chick" bumps an un-tempo beat that supplies R.L. with the goods to show off his skills. It's a guaranteed club anthem, especially the remix featuring rap veteran Erick Sermon. But it's his inspirational music that sets him apart. On "That's What I'm Looking For, " a song that flips the old rock classic, Guns N'Roses "Sweet Child O'Mine", R.L. gets deep, addressing critical issues such as racism. Produced by Chucky Thompson, the song will earn R.L. his points with "Pop" music fans all over.

"I don't want to limit myself. I think people limit themselves and do what they're comfortable with. I feel like Next has a certain sound, but we were willing to take a chance with my solo album," the singer remarks. That is not to say that R.L. has completely abandoned the sexy music that Next has come to master. He seduces women on "Temptation Island, " a sultry ballad that'll take females to another place.

"This album is musical. I drew outside the lines, " R.L. suggests. With production by Soulshock & Karlin, Jermaine Dupri and others, R.L.ements is rich in sound and meaning. The album is therapy for anyone turning to music to escape the pain and sorrow that comes along with their, R.L. included.

Good man
Do U Wanna Roll?
Model Chic


Full name: Robert Lavelle Huggar
Nick name: R.L. [aka "the real"]
Date of birth: April 2nd, 1977
From: Minneapolis/St.Paul MN
Height: 5'10
Star sign: Aries
School: graduated from Washburn H.S.
Famous friends: Shi-Lo, T-Low, Tweety, KayGee, Tyrese
Parents: Robert Huggar(Father), Toni Huggar(Mother)
Children: 1 [Charles Demonte]
First break: He, Tweet & TLow met KayGee, of Naughty By Nature in the Mall Of America in MN. Signed to Arista and Divine Mill.
Pet peeves: RL doesn't like it when people he just met call him by his first or middle name and doesn't like it when women curse.
Hobbies/interests: Writing, touring, singing, producing, acting.
Favorite singer: Joe
Interesting Fact 1: RL was in D2: the Mighty Ducks.
Interesting Fact 2: RL is known as the practical joker of Next.
Interesting Fact 3: RL can write songs from start to finish in under 20 minutes.
Interesting Fact 4: RL had a record deal for his rapping when he was only 15.


by Gene Geter

From the popular group Next, singer/songwriter Robert Lavelle Huggar or RL takes center stage in an explosively anticipated solo debut named RL:ements.

Your solo debut is called RL:elements. How did you come up with this name?
Basically, it's a make up of me. I used my album as therapy and put all of me into it.

I heard it will drop sometime in April.
Hopefully, it was supposed to drop on my birthday, April 2, but they moved it for now to April 23.

Tell me about the first single, "Got Me A Model."
When you hear about someone speaking about a model, you're thinking tall with long legs, weighs this much and have a certain kind of hair, all these details that don't mean nothing to brothers that I know. I'm just trying to say if a girl's pretty to me, she could be a model to me.

Have you started on the video?
Yeah, it was shot in Los Angeles. I got Playboy's Miss January Centerfold Playmate to play my girl. She's not your average light skinned girl you see in videos. She looks really natural. It's a fun and romantic concept. Throughout the video, I'm at a basketball court or on the corner with my boys hanging out when someone continues calling me.

I read that you felt you were taking chances with this new music. Could you explain.
Everyone has a safety blanket. You hear a lot of albums now and it sounds like their last album. Being from Minnesota and growing up around Prince, The Time, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, I wanted to be a little more musical. Show a little more growth. Something new like Jill Scott and D'Angelo. People keep talking about neo soul. I guess I can call my music, heart and soul.

Any interesting cuts on the album?
I can't pick one song. I have a song penned "Temptation Island," but not titled from the television show. Whenever I'm in a situation with a young lady and it's intimate, I want her to feel like we are somewhere else. I don't care if we are in an elevator. I like doing it in crazy places as if we are on an exotic island. All the attention is on her and pleasing her or her pleasing me. The song is really giving props to Jodeci because I'm into their work. Actually, the interludes and the intro are the most interesting. The intro is unscripted because I'm crying about all the problems I have. I'm talking about my son, my father and my best friend. It's deep. I'm planning to do everything to promote this album. I'm willing to sing happy birthday at a funeral. I don't care. I'm just really looking forward to be out there again. I'm ready to come out like a new artist.

What's the difference between Robert Huggar and RL?
Robert Huggar would go to the barber shop to play my new music around people who don't give a damn who I am. I go off their reactions and it's a difference. I like being around honest people. That's why I haven't left Minnesota like my brothers.

I thought the group Next was over, but I hear there's another album.
Next will never be over. I'm working on it now. It's called Nextclamation Point. When we left Arista Records with Clive Davis to establish J Records, we were caught in a loop. We were the only group out during the switch. So Arista stop promoting our album purposely even though we were promised that wouldn't happen. After "Wifey," you didn't hear much from us. But Next will always be.


"Good man"

You could watch me in the Gentlemen’s club
Substitutin’ that dance just for love, love
I’m goin’ home to an empty house
Thinkin’ who should I call for some fun, hey

I never knew love until you, love
Never thought that I’d fall in love
Till you brought out of me
The man I always knew I could be, baby

I can count the lovers that I’ve had
And all of those relationships gone bad
I wanna thank you for guiding me
And showing me the hope

I was just a boy and not a man
Falling deep in love was not the plan
Baby, because of you and what you do
You made me a good man, oh, baby

Used to change my numbers every hour of the week
Gettin’ crazy crank calls from them freaks
And they are here with a bottle of somethin’
Tryin’ hard to for share on some ???

‘Cause I-I never knew love until you, love
You showed me a true love
You gave me the chance
Now I understand how to be a good man, oh, yes

I can count the lovers that I’ve had (I’ve had)
All of those relationships gone bad (Relationships)
I wanna thank you for guiding me
And showing me the hope (The hope, yes)

I was just a boy and not a man (Not a man, no)
Falling deep in love was not the plan
Baby, because of you (You, you, you) and what you do
You made me a good man

Thank you for lovin’ me
Where is the love that you promised to love and
When was the love that we share, where is your love,
oh, yeah
But if it aches you, my love’s for nobody, nobody
Nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody

I can count the lovers that I’ve had (Baby, baby)
All of those relationships gone bad
I wanna thank you for guiding me
And showing me the hope

I was just a boy and not a man
Falling deep in love was not the plan
Baby, because of you and what you do
You made me a good man, oh, baby

It’s all because of