You may already know him as former member of boy band Pretty Ricky, but Pleasure — who is slated to release “The Introduction of Marcus Cooper” in January via Atlantic Records — plans on embarking on his solo career with a clean slate.
“The reason I named it that is because Pretty Ricky introduced you all to Pleasure P, but now Pleasure P is going to introduce you to Marcus Cooper, which is my government name,” says the 23-year-old, who left his post as lead singer of the group last year. “This time, I’m in my own lane musically — I’m grown up now. I’m talking about things that average R&B guys don’t talk about but that average people can relate to. Pretty Ricky was overly raunchy, young and with no direction. Now, my music is classier and I’ll tell you exactly how it is.”
The Florida native tapped on producers like Rico Love, Cool and Dre, Dre and Vidal, Jim Jonsin and Tank to helm his self-described mature sound. Also on the set are songwriters like the late Static Major (who he cites as one of his inspirations, along with his mother and son), Roy Hamilton, Keith Sweat and Rex, the latter of whom penned Pleasure P’s first single “Did You Wrong.” That track currently sits at No. 26 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Other tracks on the album include the regretful “Rock Bottom,” about a man who is down on the dumps about a failed relationship, “Patience,” about taking your time with a female, the unfaithful “Boyfriend No. 2,” and “Shorty My Girl,” which finds Pleasure P singing, “I wish I can call Shorty my girl, ’cause I ain’t with that creeping no more.”
“The whole album is like one long relationship, where you contradict yourself a lot and say you won’t do things you do end up doing,” says Pleasure P. “All the songs tell a story, from doing a girl wrong to falling in love.”
Pleasure P grew up in a musically-inclined family. His birth father, with whom he didn’t have much of a relationship, was signed to Capitol Records years back and co-wrote the song “Lovers and Friends,” recorded by Michael Sterling and later remade by Usher and Lil Jon. His mother was a member of a band.
When he met Pretty Ricky — originally called the Mavericks — at a local talent show in 2005, it made perfect sense to Pleasure P to join the group. “We actually went in the studio one day and I ended up featured on a song called ‘Grind With Me.’ After that they were like ‘You should be in the group,’ and I was open to that,” he says.
Currently, Pleasure P is going through the motions of a legal suit against Joseph “Blue” Smith, Pretty Ricky’s manager and father of members Baby Blue and Spectacular, and the head of Blue Star Entertainment, the company Pretty Ricky is signed to in a deal with Atlantic Records. The suit alleges that Smith “exploited conflict of interests in the competing roles he occupied in Cooper’s life.” It also claims that Pleasure P has not been properly compensated for his contributions to the group. In the complaint, Pleasure P also alleges that Smith used physical intimidation. Bluestar Entertainment has since filed its own suit against Pleasure for breach of contract.
“I can’t fully explain with details why I decided to leave the group because of legal issues, but I am going to say they have been going around taking credit for my record, but that’s not the truth,” says Pleasure P. “I wish them the best and I will always support Pretty Ricky because that was a good experience for me, but this is my thing right here. Me and my team, we’ve worked hard to get me where I am.”
Legal battles aside, Pleasure P is still consistently promoting his solo project. He’s been on a stateside college tour for the past few weeks and has been visiting colleges around the country to talk about the importance of staying in school. “I was a troubled teen, I did time at a young age, I have a four-year-old son who I had when I was just 19, and I dropped out of school,” he says. “If music hadn’t worked out for me, what would I be doing with no diploma?”
Pleasure P also plans on embarking on a concert tour in December or January, hopefully with T.I. and Lil Wayne or Usher. In addition, he recently launched a women’s clothing line called Jean Addicts, which is available online and will be in 142 stores nationwide in coming months, and runs his own independent label, Swagger Entertainment.
“My solo career is phenomenal — this is the best time of my life,” Pleasure P says. “I can do the things I want to do and say the things I want to say. It’s my direction now, this is me. I’ve been waiting for this my whole life and now I’m living the dream.”