You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mindless Behavior: R&B band conquers YouTube, takes aim at Top 40

Youth Impact Report 2012: Young at Chart

They may be just 15 years old, but the teen R&B quartet that makes up Mindless Behavior and the blue-chip team behind them are determined to stick to old school rules when it comes to the newest boy band phenom.

“It’s about artist development, something that has been lost in this day of instant YouTube stars,” says Kenneth Crear, who previously managed Janet Jackson and the Backstreet Boys. “When we put out their record, these kids were ready — not just as performers, but they were mentally and physically conditioned as well.”

In 2008, Walter Millsup (of Conjunction Entertainment) and Streamline Records CEO Vincent Herbert held an open audition in Los Angeles with more than 600 kids applying. Once the members were picked — Ray Ray, Princeton, Roc Royal (all from South Central L.A.) and Prodigy from Philadelphia — they were moved into a house Big Brother-style, where they shared the same room for 18 months and rehearsed for eight hours a day.

“It was a great bonding experience, and we really understand each other,” says Ray Ray.

On the strength of their first single, “My Girl,” released in 2010, the boys quickly garnered a frenzied pre- and young teen audience as they toured high schools and made shopping center appearances, moving on to support spots with the Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber before a headline tour this year. Their debut album, “#1 Girl,” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 and has sold 275,000 copies in the U.S.

“We released different CD covers featuring each of the boys and sold multiple copies. These are kids that want a tangible product rather than just a download,” says Herbert. While the group’s urban pop sound is appealing to a predominantly young African-American audience, Herbert believes it’s only the beginning. “With the second album, we are going straight for Top 40, spreading the music to other markets. It’s just a matter of time before this takes off like a rocket.”

Impact: The R&B quartet racked up more than 142 million views on YouTube and received the Viewer’s Choice Award at the 2012 BET Awards.
Next: A new album is coming in January and a feature movie starring all four boys, plus more international touring to get the band’s brand beyond the U.S. market.
Causes: One of the members, Princeton, was a victim of bullying at school, so they plan to set up their own anti-bullying campaign. They also advocate healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

More Voices

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with disabilities in popular films in 2017. A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that [...]

  • Seven Seconds

    Fighting the Racial Bias at the Core of Hollywood’s Cop Shows (Guest Column)

    If fiction is the lie that tells a deeper truth, the TV crime genre has been, for the most part, the lie that simply tells a lie. As a storyteller (Veena) and an advocate for racial justice (Rashad), we collaborated for the past two-and-a-half years in an attempt to reimagine the roles of cops, victims, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Column: Documentarian Barry Avrich Ponders Whether Harvey Weinstein Will Be Convicted

    Will Harvey Weinstein go to jail? That’s perhaps the most debated topic in Hollywood. It’s a question that makes me miss my friend Dominick Dunne, the controversial Vanity Fair columnist who would have already succeeded in interview-ing the chambermaids at Harvey’s sex-addiction clinic. Dunne once prophetically told me there would be a massive reckoning in Hollywood. He [...]

  • Janet Mock Pose

    'Pose' Writer Janet Mock on Making History With Trans Storytelling (Guest Column)

    I first met Ryan Murphy on location in Hollywood in July. The set was a nightclub, filled with background actors staged as glistening go-go dancers, shirtless revelers, and twirling drag queens. They were all basking under the glow of a spinning disco ball — a fitting setting for my first Hollywood job interview. I was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content