He’s gone quadruple platinum, hosted his own MTV dance show, and landed a dramatic roll in a major motion picture. So what does the thong-loving “Dragon” want next?
Sisqó’s Not Kidding
“When I ask for some water, they’ll bring it on their knees.”
Members of the hip-hop and R&B communities like talking about “keeping it real,” but as chart sensation Sisqo nestles into a plush office chair at the studio of Tampa Bay station WFLZ-FM, reality is far from anyone’s mind. This is all about self-promotion and boosting ratings. It’s 1 P.M., and a frat-boyish deejay named Cane is guiding the 24-year-old urban pop star through some standard plugs. Sisqo shifts into hyped-up radio mode and lets fly with the speed of an auctioneer:
“Yo, what’s up! This is Sisqo the Dragon on 93.3 FLZ, Tampa’s hit music channel. Everybody out there, the Dragon’s breathing fire right now, so watch him. Whooosh!”
Seven hours from now, the diminutive singer will storm the stage at Tampa’s Ice Palace, undulating, cartwheeling, vogueing, and crooning his way through a theatrical 30-minute set that will blow headliners ‘N Sync out of their Tommy Hilfigers. The show will exude the kind of sexual energy, drama, and pop appeal that has driven the R&B sensation to the top of the charts. For the finale — the ubiquitous “Thong Song” — Sisqo’s bevy of dancing babes, the Six Pack, will strut, pose, and tease, raising the temperature to full boil.
Right now, however the proceedings are about to become truly theatrical, as Cane kicks into standard deejay bluster: “Okay, Sisqó, thanks so much for joining us. We’ll see you back here tonight. That’s right, folks, the Dragon will be guest-hosting after the show, right here on 93.3 FLZ.”
Cane cuts to a commercial, turns away from the mike, and says, “We’re telling everybody that you’re coming back here, and that’s the part we’re gonna lay down right now.”
The smoke and mirrors are all in place. Guest callers are lined up on the switchboard, and the recording tape begins to roll. The born performer takes over without missing a beat: “This is Sisqó, the Dragon! I finally just got offstage, and I’m a little tired. I got the Six Pack here [he doesn’t], and they gain’ chill with us. Well, actually, they’re not goin’ chill because they’re hot, a little greasy, and they’re fondling my man Cane. Man, what are you doing to my girls? Why are they not talking today?”
“They’re not talking because they’ re hell-bent on getting me all worked up. They are greasy, though,” responds the deejay.
Sisqó: “Yeah, they got a lot of nice breasts and [segueing into a line from ‘Thong Song’] ‘dumps like a truck, thighs like … ’ Baby, you gotta get off Cane and go outside because you’re too greasy.”
Cane: “You just want her back for yourself!”
Sisqó: “Yes, Cane, yes! I’m a little jealous, man. You got ‘em over there, fondling your dragon.”
Cane: “They’re yours. What do you mean, They’re leaving with you?”
Sisqó: “You know, you’re right. I shouldn’t hate — I should congratulate. So why don’t we take another call?”
Such repartee continues for the next 30 minutes, with Sisqó fielding fans’ phone (or is that phony?) calls and bombastically ranting about thongs, bootie, Britney Spears, and the size of the Dragon’s “dragon.” It’s just one of three radio appointments Sisqó has scheduled for the day, and between each radio gig, Sisqó gives other interviews on his cell phone (which is color-coordinated to match his signature platinum-dyed hair). To say he’s perpetually “on” is an understatement.
Sisquo doesn’t have a panty fetish, but he does possess an acute instinct for what will sell. “I gotta be number one. Being number two just ain’t enough. That just means I have to be business-oriented to realize how to facilitate the masses. I enjoy my success from time to time, but I never sit back and smell the roses.”
Indeed, Sisqó seems incapable of giving anything but his all. Raunchy rapper Lil’ Kim recalls, “When he was supposed to sing on my new album [on the song ‘How Many Licks?’], he was sick and his throat was really messed up. He was like, ‘All right, all right. I’ll come if y’all can just have some Pepto-Bismol there for me.’ For you to be sick with the runs and to get out of your bed and come all the way in a car from Baltimore to New York just to be on someone’s record … that takes a lot.”
Settling in for lunch at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel’s restaurant following his radio appearance, Sisqó (ne Mark Althavan Andrews) is much more reserved than when he’s sparring with feisty deejays. He wears a sleeveless tan jean jacket, a plain white muscle T-shirt, and a fisherman’s hat that hides his platinum hair. His Rolex, diamond earrings, and two diamond dragon pendants are far louder than his voice, which is sometimes inaudible from across the table. But he’s still a master of the game.