Album cover of the 1999 album 702
|Origin||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
|Genres||R&B, Hip hop soul|
|Labels||Biv Ten, Motown|
|Associated acts||Missy Elliott, Mia X, Mercedes (singer), Timbaland, Allusion, Silkk the Shocker, Michael Bivins|
Orish Grinstead (deceased)
702 (pronounced "Seven-Oh-Two"), named after the area code of their hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, was an American platinum-selling trio. Originally a quartet, the group became a trio, which includes sisters Irish (born June 2, 1980), and LeMisha 'Misha' (born June 10, 1978) Grinstead, and lead singer Kameelah Williams. Irish's twin sister Orish Grinstead (June 2, 1980 – April 20, 2008) was a founding member and later a substitute vocalist.
In Las Vegas, sisters LeMisha and Irish Grinstead, and their friend Kameelah Williams, were students at the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts. Irish, her twin sister Orish, and LeMisha occasionally sang in the lobby of Caesars Palace where they were discovered by actor/comedian Sinbad. He visited their home in order to convince their parents to send the trio to Atlanta for a convention and music competition. Though the girls missed the deadline for entry, Sinbad used his name to get them in. "Sweeta than Suga," as they were then called (Sinbad suggested the name), came in second in the competition. As the convention was nearing a close, they met Michael Bivins (of New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe) who agreed to work with the sisters. They were briefly joined by their cousin Amelia Childs. After they made their recorded debut on Subway's hit single "This Lil' Game We Play", Amelia dropped out of the group and was replaced by Kameelah Williams. After recording a few demos as a quartet including "Steelo", and "Get It Together", Orish decided to leave the group (even though her vocals appear on the first album). Bivins continued to work with different producers and songwriters to get the right feel for their first album. The reconfigured group was christened "702," which is Las Vegas' area code, a name which Bivens suggested.
1996–1998: Rise to fame
Their debut album, No Doubt shot to #1 on Top Heatseekers. Missy Elliott co-wrote & produced 4 songs on the album including the smash hit single "Steelo" and its remix. The album spawned the 3 hit singles: "Steelo", "All I Want" and "Get It Together". "Steelo" with altered lyrics was used as the theme song to the Nickelodeon television show Cousin Skeeter & "All I Want" was featured in the Nickelodeon movie Good Burger. 702 also performed on Nickelodeon's All That. "Get It Together" exploded by giving the group a #3 R&B single and a #10 Pop single on the Billboard charts. The album earned them a Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award in 1997. It sold over 500,000 copies worldwide. In addition to the album, 702 opened for New Edition, Keith Sweat, and Blackstreet during the 1996-97 New Edition reunion tour. They also appeared on Elliott's debut album Supa Dupa Fly on her 1998 song "Beep Me 911" which didn't make it onto the American charts but reached #14 on the UK Singles Chart. The girls also sang with Busta Rhymes' new artist Rampage. "My Friend" was featured on the soundtrack to Men in Black. In 1998, 702 made cameos in the sitcoms Sister, Sister and Moesha.
1999–2000: Career development
After going gold with their debut album, they released their self-titled second album, 702. The first single from the album "Where My Girls At?" was written and produced by Missy Elliott and made #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went gold. The single spent months on the chart, became nominated for the song of the year, and gained them a 1999 Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award nomination. The album made the Top 40 on Billboard 200 and earned them a 2000 Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award nomination and sold more than 500,000 copies going gold. 702, before releasing their second album, had also sung the national anthem for the WNBA season opener. 702 was also a part of Brandy's Never Say Never tour. On June 18, 702's LeMisha gave birth to her son Tony Lyndon and left in order to take care of her son. Orish took her place during LeMisha's brief absence. They also made a cameo in the 1999 ABC-TV movie Double Platinum starring Brandy and Diana Ross. 702 also signed a deal with Wilhelmina Models. "You Don't Know" and "Gotta Leave" were released but failed reach the success "Where My Girls At? did. In 2000, 702 along with Eric Benét were Brian McKnight's opening act for his tour supporting his album Back at One.
2001–2002: Hiatus and "Pootie Tangin"
Once the hype for the second album died down, 702 took a hiatus from the spotlight. Kameelah Williams decided to part from the group and go solo. She briefly became the new protégé of Faith Evans and signed a deal to be managed by Faith and her husband, Todd Russaw, under their Pedigree MGI Management. Kameelah sang backup and wrote 3 songs for Faith Evans' album, Faithfully. She also sang backup for Missy Elliott on her Miss E...So Addictive third single "Take Away". In 2001 it was rumored that she joined the band Total but this was denied later that year.
The Grinstead sisters, the remaining members of 702, decided to retake their place in the spotlight and enlisted Cree Le'More now known as just "Cree", to replace Meelah. Under the revamped 702, they recorded the lead single "Pootie Tangin" for the Chris Rock movie, Pootie Tang. The song failed to make any charts but earned them a 2002 Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award nomination.
2003–2006 : Star
With Meelah returning to the group, replacing Cree Lamore, 702 returned to record their third album. The album Star was released in March 2003 and made the Top 50 on the Billboard 200. The girls worked with singers Mario Winans, Faith Evans and Clipse and producers The Neptunes, Mike City, Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs. The single "Star" and "I Still Love You" failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 but did make Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. "Star" at #98 and I Still Love You" at #49. The album earned them two Soul Train Lady of Soul Award nominations later in 2003. Also in 2003, 702 shared lead vocals on the track "Gamble It" from the album "Emotions" by Sirena. Irish Grinstead appeared in The Brewster Project in 2004. In 2006, 702 appeared on the independent album E Sharp Presents. The composition of that group was Misha, Irish and Orish Grinstead but the cd cover image from their second album "702" appears on the cover.
LeMisha Grinstead, under the name "LeMisha 702", in 2007 released a song titled "What I Got" that appeared on the independent album E Sharp Presents vol. II. She later got married, and is currently the wedding chapel manager at Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
Original member Orish Grinstead, twin sister of Irish, died on April 20, 2008, from kidney failure at the age of 27. She can be seen as one of the original four members of 702 in the video, "This Lil' Game We Play" with Subway.
In 2010, Kameelah Williams confirmed via her official Twitter that she is now permanently solo and is currently working on her solo album. Kameelah also has a child with artist Musiq Soulchild. She also appeared on the third season of R&B Divas: Atlanta.
On December 13, 2013, 702 with Williams will be performing their first show in nearly 10 years at 90s R&B Christmas Reunion, along with Total, Latocha & Tamika Scott of Xscape, Changing Faces, Tweet & Sunshine Anderson in Toronto.
|2000||Nominated||Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist |
|2001||Nominated||Best Female Group |
Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards
|1997||Won||Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year - Group, Band or Duo |
For: "No Doubt"
|1999||Nominated||Best R&B/Soul Single - Group, Band or Duo |
For: "Where My Girls At?"
|2000||Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year - Group, Band or Duo |
|2002||Best R&B/Soul Single - Group, Band or Duo |
For: "Pootie Tangin"
|2003||Best R&B/Soul Album of the Year - Group, Band or Duo |
|2003||Best R&B/Soul Single - Group, Band or Duo |
For: "I Still Love You"
- "Founding member of 702 dies". Newark Star-Ledger. 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
- "E Sharp | E Sharp Presents". CD Baby. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "E Sharp | E Sharp Presents vol. II". CD Baby. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "Twitter / MEELAH : In da studio creatin' w/ @". Twitter.com. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "Danny! - Go That-a-Way". YouTube. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
- MTV.com Artist Page: 702
- BET.com News & Interview : 702
- Yahoo! Launch: 702
- 702 discography at Discogs