It’s always an honor to sit with the legendary XSCAPE.
If you’re a fan of R&B, you’re a fan of XSCAPE. Exploding onto the scene in 1991, the R&B quartet is composed of Kandi Burruss, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, Tamika Scott, and LaTocha Scott.
In fact, it was Jermaine Dupri who wrote and produced the girls’ breakout hit, “Just Kickin’ It,” which even today stands as their biggest song to date.
Fast forward to now, XSCAPE returns to celebrate their 30-year anniversary. In addition to continuing to tour the world, the girls are excited to premiere their newest television show titled SWV & XSCAPE: The Queens of R&B, which premieres on Sunday, March 5th. The Bravo-hosted series sees two of the biggest R&B girl groups of all time coming together, giving audiences a first row, VIP seat to all the glory and drama that unfolds.
Each episode captures the highs and lows of the reality of being a touring artist, with not only their careers, but family commitments and business endeavors. And after an epic VERZUZ behind XSCAPE and SWV, fans are on their edge of their seat to see which group will take the highly-coveted headlining slot.
The Source caught up with Kandi, Tamika, and Tiny in downtown Los Angeles, to discuss the nostalgia of 90’s R&B, the new show, their favorite singers, secret to relationships, personal endeavors, and more!
What is it about ‘90s R&B that gives people such nostalgia?
Kandi: 90’s R&B, to me it was way more harmonies back in the day. People don’t harmonize anymore. It was a lot more love lyrics and stuff like that, making love. Now, it’s “fuck that n*gga.” All types of stuff right now. [laughs]
Tamika: Hooks. You can have a dope hook, but the verses aren’t really saying nothing. Back then you had a dope hook, the verses meant a lot of things, and it’s still relevant to today.
Tiny: We had great storylines. We had some great artists back then. We forgot about Kut Klose. We had some good groups back then that had some major great hits.
The trailer for SWV & XSCAPE: The Queens of R&B shows a lot of tension. What was the reality of filming together?
Kandi: A lot of tension.
Tiny: It was real.
Kandi: When we came into the show, we were really cool with SWV. Because for years, we’ve always had a good relationship. But our own group, we was dealing with our own inner turmoil.
Tamika: Our inner demons.
Kandi: We got a lot of stuff that we still haven’t even worked out, since filming ended. We were dealing with that. You get to see that on the show obviously, but then we ended up bumping heads with SWV because the whole show is about us trying to come together to put this concert together. When you get to groups that have accomplished a lot, you get the egos involved, it can be a disaster.
Was it fun though?
Tiny: The fun part was when it was over.
Kandi: We really got to the point we’re like,” Ooh, I can’t wait until this shit over.
What was the most difficult moment from filming?
Tiny: I think us battling about who’s going to close the show.
Kandi: That was an unnecessary moment to me.
Tiny: Between the two of us, but we had bigger moments that were more explosive as a group. Of just us four girls, we had way bigger moments. But between SWV and XSCAPE, I’d say the battling over who’s going to end the show.
That’s a real thing!
Kandi: It is a real thing!
So who closed the show?
All: You gotta watch the show!
Tamika: Why do you think we’re mad? No I’m just playing.
March is Women’s History Month. As an all-female group, who are some of the most important women singers?
Kandi: The most important singers, you mean history? Obviously Whitney [Houston], Mariah [Carey], Stephanie Mills, Gladys Knight.
Tiny: We talking 30 years. Anita Baker! Chaka Khan.
Tamika: Sade’s been doing it a long time, she don’t even get her just due.
Kandi: Definitely Sade.
Tiny: Kelly Price. Britney Spears.
Kandi: You gotta give Beyonce and those artists their just due. Rihanna.
Tamika: And the list goes on, there’s so many.
Kandi: Taylor Swift.
Tamika: Yes, all different genres. Pink baby!
Kandi: Miley Cyrus, all the women from now till back then.
You mentioned Chaka Khan, did you see she had a problem with the best 200 singers list on the Rolling Stone?
Tiny: I did. I laughed because I like the way she talks. She talks like me! The stuff she was saying out her mouth, I loved it.
Kandi: That’s like that auntie, you’re like “oh Lord, here she comes.”
How do you balance being a mom and having a career?
Tamika: The same way we nurture our careers, we nurture our families too. We don’t have stuff when it comes to that, we give them the time and the love. At times when we’re busy, they understand. My daughter told me, “You’re not working on my birthday.” I’m like, every birthday, I have to fly you and your friends to wherever you want to go. It’s a 9-year-old, I’m working on your birthday if I have to. But they get it though.
Tiny: I usually don’t work on my childrens’ birthday at all. Because my husband don’t do it, so I can’t be lesser than. [laughs] My daughter’s birthday is the 26th and we got a job the day before, so I’m like dang. She’s like, “You ain’t gonna be there for my birthday!” I will be there for your birthday, just maybe not for the party. Her birthday is on Sunday. If I would have known that before I took that show, I would’ve been like no.
Tamika: We actually leave on my daughter’s birthday. Zonnique’s the 20th, O’Shun’s is the 24th, then Heiress the 26th.
Tiny: When they get older, yeah I’m working, because they doing their own things. But the little ones, Major and Heiress, I’ll be there.
Tamika: That’s so sweet, because I’m working. [laughs]
What are some of the challenges of raising a family in the spotlight?
Kandi: A lot of people have their opinions and say so in your kids’ lives. My daughter Riley, they constantly be on Riley about anything. “Oh, she lost weight. Oh, she gained weight.” She’s six years old when she came on the show on TV, so people seeing her grow up. She’s 20 now. Sometimes people have a little bit too much opinion about my child.
Other than that, your kids have a lot to learn how to have tough skin as well, because they are growing up in the spotlight. A lot of our kids want to be in the entertainment business, some of them by default. Ace, he’s acting now. I don’t know if that was his thought, but his ass is doing it. [laughs] Riley is behind-the-scenes,she works at a record label now and she goes to NYU.
They all have to learn how to accept that being a spotlight comes with a lot.
Congrats Kandi, you’re receiving the LOVE Award at the 2023 BET Her Awards. What is the secret to a successful relationship?
Tamika: Respect, communication, and you got to have sex. Even if you have shit to do, you have to please your partner. Because if you say no, there’s somebody else that will say yes. That’s what I be thinking.
Tiny: My man knows that. He’ll have the worst attitude. All day, he’ll be like [makes sour face].
All of that, just because I said not right now? It’s terrible.
Tamika: No, you can’t do that.
Tiny: Just working hard towards it, because relationships are really hard. Especially if it’s in the spotlight, so both people have to really work at it.
Tamika: It’s not hard for me. [laughs] I married my best friend, we were friends first. Friends friends, like knows each other’s secrets friends.
Tiny: I married my best friend too! But still, he’s a bigger superstar than me.
Kandi: I agree with them. Me and my husband, we do everything together. We’re building empires together. I talk to him about everything. Our communication is like no other, and he’s the only guy that I never got bored with. Before meeting my husband, I’d date somebody for a little while, then okay, I’m over it. Time to go. [laughs]
Tiny: I was once told by an older wise young lady, she said “if you find a man that loves you more than you love him, y’all gon’ be together forever.” My sister used to tell me that all the time. “Girl, he’s never going nowhere. He loves you so much! You couldn’t lose him if you wanted to.” She dropped some gems, along with Auntie Georgie honey.
What personal endeavors are you ladies working on?
Kandi: We just wrapped Season 15 of Real Housewives of Atlanta. XSCAPE, our new show’s coming out every Sunday. We want everybody tuned in on Bravo. I have a movie coming out that I’m in next April, called Pretty Stoned. I’m starting filming The Chi. The new season of A La Carte, second season. My husband and I just produced a movie, it’s called The Past. Hopefully by the end of the year, then our restaurants. We doing a lot of stuff. XSCAPE, we got some concerts coming out.
Tiny: We got concerts for all of us. We have them up to June/July.
How is it performing now versus back then?
Tiny: Now, it’s better because we have got to a point where we headline shows. We have big shows, we have the LED screens. We have all the bells and whistles to a show. Not to a JLo level…
Tamika: It’s coming!
Tiny: Yeah it’s coming, but we have bells and whistles that make up a real show. Back in the day: okay y’all got 10 to 15 minutes. Go on over there and do what y’all gonna do.
Tamika: In front of the curtain! [laughs]
Tiny: So yes, it’s so much bigger deal now.
Do you guys get nervous ever?
Tiny: Yeah, we do. Every time before a show.
Tamika: Yes I do. It’s crazy: every time I get nervous, Kandi knows it. She’ll come over and I feel the soft hands in my hand, she’ll be like “you got this friend!”
Tiny: She got the softest hands!
Tamika: The softest hands ever! I hate when people shake her hand, then mine.
What do you use?!
Kandi: I don’t use anything!
Tiny & Tamika: It’s DNA. She’s just soft.
Tamika, any personal endeavors for you?
Tamika: I have my own seasoning line called Tamika Scott Southern Fuse Spice Line, go to southernfuse.com. I have my cookbook, Table Set Cooking with Tamika Scott. uyI just directed my husband’s first inspirational video with Pastor John Gray and Empire’s Terrell Carter. He’s singing on it.
Kandi: Does that mean y’all can’t drink no more?
Tamika: Who can’t? Jesus, his first miracle was wine. Don’t play with me. That was the first miracle he ever did, was wine.
Favorite thing to cook?
Tamika: Everything! Oh my gosh, my favorite thing to eat is seafood. But I cook everything. You name it, I can cook it.
Do you cook for them?
Tamika: I cooked for them for VERZUZ. When we did VERZUZ with SWV, I catered that.
What was the highlight from the VERZUZ?
Tamika: Beating they butt!
All: [claps & laughs]
When we saw it was like “bring it back! Bring it back!” My girls brought it back and did a home run. They did a Grand Slam! Shoot, y’all killed it. I was a fan of us that night.