By Margena A. Christian
“The first time we came, I was super nervous,” laughs Princeton as he and his Mindless Behavior group members, Prodigy, Roc Royal and Ray Ray, reminisce about their introductory visit to the historic Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) headquarters in Chicago precisely a year ago.
“We were three feet tall then,” adds Princeton, the group’s resident spokesperson, as they all burst into laughter. “Now we’re a couple inches taller. We were doing small shows when we first came. Now we’re headlining shows. It’s so much fun, and it feels like home when we come to visit [JPC].”
It’s amazing what has happened for the 14-year-old teen sensations who have the ability to make the girls cry, scream and, well, lose their minds with excitement. For the next few months, the quartet is whipping fans into a frenzy on the Scream Tour, also featuring Diggy Simmons, The Next Generation, Jacob Latimore, OMG Girlz and Hamilton Park.
“Our fans are mindless. They get really happy to see us. It’s fun,” reasons Roc Royal, who a day earlier had his hat stolen when a mob of overzealous girls chased and clawed at the group following a performance in Kansas City.
Princeton, Ray Ray and Prodigy were somewhat used to the spotlight prior to being assembled into one of the hottest boy groups around. Princeton, a 10th grader, was the cute Cupid in Gym Class Heroes’ hilarious video Cupid’s Chokehold. Ray Ray, also a 10th grader, was a member of Tommy the Clown’s renowned krump dance crew, whose story was told in the critically acclaimed 2005 documentary Rize. Prodigy, a 9th grader, was a dance sensation discovered on YouTube.
On the other hand, Roc Royal, also a 9th grader, marvels at how more than a year ago he was “a regular kid” who couldn’t dance (“I was not it!”) and had a penchant for playing football. And to let him tell it, he’s still pretty regular, lamenting that his Metro PCS phone got severely damaged after it slipped out of his pocket when he was doing willys on his bike.
“I did not get a new one. The buttons were coming off,” says Roc Royal as Ray Ray doubles over in laughter. “I’m sure people would expect me to have an iPhone, but I don’t. That’s OK. I’m working on it.”
Prodigy, the lone member from Philly, sits quietly with his hands under his chin as his fellow members, all Cali residents, chat it up, crack jokes and have a good time during the interview.
What, are you not having fun, Prodigy? “I’m the focused one. I’m always thinking,” the group’s lead singer says with a smile. “When it comes to the day of a show, I’m thinking about that. When I don’t have a show, I’m all fun and games.”
Speaking of playtime, EBONY.com learned cute facts about the members. Here’s what they had to say:
EBONY.com: Your top-selling debut album is #1 Girl. It’s obvious you love the ladies with songs like “My Girl” and “Girls Talkin’ Bout.” What type of Mrs.Right are you looking for?
Prodigy: I like an extra confident girl who doesn’t care what other people think.
Princeton: I like a girl with a great smile. It breaks my mood up. People think swag is all about what you wear, but I think it’s inner confidence and how you act.
Ray Ray: I also like a confident girl who doesn’t care what you think. I like a girl who doesn’t depend on makeup; I like a natural look.
Roc Royal: I’m looking for a girl who likes me for who I am and has her own swag and gets good grades in school. Swag for me is having your own style and not thinking about what others think. Hopefully, when I get older, she’ll have good credit, too.
EBONY.com: Is music your only interest?
Ray Ray: I love to draw; I can [do] 10 pictures in one day. I like to draw people in general. I’ll find a magazine and do pictures. I did all the work for the album, I did the portraits of us. My favorite picture is one I drew of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Princeton: I want to branch off into art and fashion. I do more abstract and surreal drawings. I love writing poetry and songs. I like journalism.
EBONY.com: Who have you met that made you go mindless?
Prodigy: Chris Brown. He’s a great performer.
Princeton: I was shocked to meet Johnny Depp. I was on the phone talking to my mom when he was standing outside of our tour bus. I told my mom, “I love you. I’ll see you in a month. Johnny Depp is outside!” I threw down the phone and started screaming. I was also super excited to meet Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga.
Ray Ray: The Obama family and Will Smith. I was trying to be cool when I met Will Smith because fans were watching, but I was so excited and nervous. Rev. Run came to see us. I was excited about that. One of my favorite movies of all time is Krush Groove. I watch it 24/7. Yeah, I have an old soul.
EBONY.com: What’s the best advice you can tell other teens who aspire to become performers?
Ray Ray: Before Brett Ratner did our video Mrs. Right, he showed us clips of Michael Jackson. “Study the greats and become greater,” is what Michael Jackson said. That’s what I would tell everyone to do.