Lil’ Mo (born Cynthia Loving on November 19, 1978 in Long Island, New York) is a female R&B singer who is known as a one-hit wonder in the early 2000s and for working with artists such as Ja Rule, Missy Elliott and Fabolous.
Lil’ Mo was born into a military family. She was primarily raised on Long Island, but she moved regularly due to her father’s military assignments.She resided in Texas, Atlanta & North Carolina before settling down in Baltimore, Maryland. She used to perform in talent competitions wherever her family resided.
By the time she became an adult, Lil’ Mo moved to Manhattan, New York with hopes of pursuing a music career. In early 1998 (as she was submitting demo material to singer Nicole Wray’s debut album “Make it Hot”), she received a callback from Merlin Bobb who later connected her to Missy Elliott.
Fascinated by her voice, Missy requested Lil’ Mo to immediately come to the Elektra Recording studios in New Jersey. After her arrival, she landed a record deal with Elektra Records and she began closely working with Missy throughout the early part of her career.
Shortly after Nicole Wray’s debut album was released, Lil’ Mo began working on her own debut album. In between recording sessions, she would either collaborate on Missy’s records or perform in Missy’s touring venues.
By the fall of 1998, Elektra Records serviced Lil’ Mo’s debut single “5 Minutes” to radio. It was not only released as the lead single for the soundtrack to the movie “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” it was also the original lead single for Lil’ Mo’s debut album.
Even though “5 Minutes” managed to chart at #72 on the U.K. Singles chart, it didn’t generate a lot of success in the U.S. despite the music video receiving frequent airplay on the BET network and the College Television Network. The song also had generally favorable reviews by critics. Due to the underperformance of “5 Minutes,” it was pulled from the album’s final tracklisting.
In 1999, a promotional single “If You Wanna Dance” was released, but didn’t appear to make the album’s final tracklisting.
Lil’ Mo’s debut album was scheduled to be released in March of 1999, but her record label pushed back the release date multiple times hoping to revamp Lil’ Mo’s sound & image. During that same year, she gained exposure for appeared on Old Dirty Bastard’s song “Good Morning Heartache” and Missy Elliott’s single “Hot Boyz.”
In 2000, Lil’ Mo was granted her own production company called HoneyChild Entertainment. She was featured on Ja Rule’s single “Put it On Me” which became a pop and R&B hit. More collaborations by Ja Rule and Lil’ Mo followed (including the song “I Cry”).
In April of 2000, Lil’ Mo released the lead single from her debut album “Ta Da” which peaked at #95 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #21 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 17 weeks. The song was written by R&B singer Montell Jordan and received generally favorable reviews from critics.
During the song’s run on radio, DJ Boogie (from Pittsburgh radio station WAMO) noted that the reception was “more positive than negative” and “the females especially have been feeling it.”
Elektra Records was unhappy with the chart performance of “Ta Da” which resulted in disputes between Lil’ Mo and the record label’s executives. The dispute later developed over the album’s follow-up single “Superwoman.”
In February of 2001, “Superwoman” (which was produced by Bryan-Michael Cox) was released. It managed to peak at #34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #9 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for only 9 weeks.
The song received mixed reviews by critics & failed to get any successful airplay on radio. Because of that, Elektra Records pushed Lil’ Mo’s debut album back to a later date in 2001.
Lil’ Mo tried convincing her record label that “Superwoman” would be a hit and in order to prove it, she contacted DJ Clue to remix the track with a beat that he was holding for rap duo M.O.P. At first, DJ Clue wasn’t supportive about the idea, but after loving the results, he premiered it on New York City radio station Hot 97’s radio show.
Following the song’s premiere, it began circulating on various mixtapes and began charting on the Billboard charts, but because Billboard didn’t allow remixes to chart, Lil ‘Mo had to convince Elektra Records to re-release the single under an alternate title (now known as) “Superwoman Pt. II.”
During a 2-hour studio session, Lil’ Mo recorded the vocals for “Superwoman” at Enterprise Records in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. Additionally, she had to beatbox the infamous stuttering “da-da-da-da-da” beat to her production team since they weren’t understanding her vision.
Since Lil’ Mo was in Los Angeles at the time, she had a deadline to transfer her vocals via a CD to give to DJ Clue at a New York airline. Within the song’s deadline, a relative of Lil’ Mo’s requested her to feature “the mixtape rapper who spells his name” (also known as rapper Fabolous).
Lil’ Mo contacted DJ Clue to see if it was possible to add Fabolous to the record. At the time, Fabolous was shocked at her decision to feature him on the song because she had worked with other well-known rappers such as Ja Rule & Jay-Z.
“Superwoman Pt. II” became a hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, #36 on Billboard’s Top 40 Tracks chart, #8 on Billboard’s Rhythmic Top 40 chart and #4 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 20 weeks The success of “Superwoman Pt. II” helped bring Fabolous (who was a underground artist at the time) to mainstream success.
In May of 2001, she became engaged to Al Stone. They first met at a gas station in Washington, D.C.
On June 22, 2001, Lil’ Mo was assaulted by a male civilian at a San Francisco, California concert venue while being escorted to a limo. She was bludgeoned in the head by the man’s champagne bottle causing her to be hospitalized & received 20 stitches.
The assault left Lil’ Mo traumatized and suspicious, believing that it must’ve been a potential set-up. A reward (ranging from $1,000 to $5,000). Even though her assailant was never discovered, local police in San Francisco received anonymous tips that the attacker boasted about his actions at a Hunters Point housing project near San Francisco.
On June 26, 2001, Lil’ Mo released her debut album “Based on a True Story” which peaked at #14 on the Billboard 200 and #6 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart. It was later certified Gold by the RIAA.
In August of 2001, the last single from the album “Gangsta (Love 4 the Streets)” was released. The track samples Snoop Dogg’s 1994 song “Gin & Juice.” The song peaked at #39 on Billboard’s Rhythmic Top 40 chart and #57 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 13 weeks.
The music video for the single was directed by Chris Robinson. It was originally slated to be a double-video shoot along with the single “Supa Star” (which was later cancelled), but due to Lil Mo’s assault in San Francisco, the plans were quickly changed to meet the deadline of mid-July of 2001.
The video aired on BET in late August of 2001. During that same month, Lil’ Mo married Al Stone.
In 2002, she developed an interest in communications after working as a part-time anchor for Baltimore urban radio station WXYV-FM. In August of that same year, she gave birth to her first daughter Heaven Love’on Stone.
Also in that same year, Lil’ Mo began working on her sophomore album. She told Billboard magazine that she was going to purposely use a different sound for the album in hopes of convincing the public to overlook her creditability for her single “Superwoman Pt. II.”
In February of 2003, the lead single from the album “4Ever” (featuring Fabolous) was released. The song peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #13 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 23 weeks.
The song “Ten Commandments” (featuring Lil’ Kim) was supposed to be the album’s second single, but due to limited promotion & attempts for a music video were unsuccessful, it was never given a proper release.
On April 29, 2003, Lil’ Mo’s sophomore album “Meet the Girl Next Door” was released. It peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 and #4 on Billboard’s R&B Albums chart.
In May of 2003, Lil’ Mo released the single “21 Answers” (a response to 50 Cent’s song “21 Questions”) was sent to radio as a promotional single.
It managed to peak at #50 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks, but was not featured on the album’s final tracklisting because it didn’t finalize in time to meet the deadline for the album.
Two more promotional singles from the album “1st Time” and “Shoulda Known” were released, but didn’t make the Billboard charts at all.
The promotion for the album was limited due to Lil’ Mo’s pregnancy and lack of support from Elektra Records. Despite that, she performed the singles on shows such as “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Soul Train.” Shortly after the album’s promotion came to an end, Lil’ Mo’s contract with Elektra Records expired and she moved to Cash Money Records to record a new album.
In July of 2004, she started recording material for her third album “Syndicated: The Lil’ Mo Hour.”
In November of 2004, Lil’ Mo released the single “Hot Girls” which peaked at #28 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart.
The song received mixed to negative reception. Critics felt that it was an “insecure female anthem” due to the lyrics and believed that Lil’ Mo was solidifying her point of feeling some sort of insecurity or jealousy. Lil Wayne’s guest appearance on the track was also not well received. On February 24, 2005, Lil’ Mo gave birth to her second daughter, God’Iss Love Stone.
In May of 2005, she released the single “Dem Boyz” which peaked at #86 on Billboard’s Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Songs chart, staying on the chart for only 2 weeks. The song received generally favorable reviews.
Two more promotional singles “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” (featuring violinist Miri Ben-Ari) and “Mother of Your Child” were released, but didn’t make the charts.
“Syndicated: The Lil’ Mo Hour” was scheduled to be released in October of 2005, but the date passed and after Hurricane Katrina damaged Cash Money’s New Orleans studio, Lil’ Mo was dropped from the label’s roster and the album ended up being shelved. In December of 2005, she and her husband Al divorced.
In 2006, Lil’ Mo (along with Faith Evans, Fantasia and SWV’s Coko) appeared on the remake of The Clark Sisters’ song “Endow Me” from Coko’s 2006 gospel album “Grateful.”
In August of 2007, Lil’ Mo released her third album “Pain & Paper” under her independent record label HoneyChild Entertainment.
The singles from the album “Sumtimes I” (featuring Jim Jones) and “Lucky Her” failed to make the Billboard charts.
In 2008, Lil’ Mo began working on a new album under a new record label, Global Music Group. The original title of the album was “Tattoos & Roses: The Rebellion Against My Pain.”
Initially, the album was supposed to be a double disc with half of the album being a live production, but the plans ended up being scrapped & the album ended up undergoing a different recording process. Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Fabolous were listed as contributors to the album, but due to undisclosed reasons, they didn’t make the album’s final cut.
Lil’ Mo later married gospel recording artist Phillip Bryant. On January 16, 2009, she gave birth to her first son, Justin McKenzie Phillip. Preparing for the release of the album, Lil’ Mo hosted a radio show in Washington, D.C.
On November 1, 2011, she released her fourth album “P.S. I Love Me.” The singles from the album “I Love Me” (feat. Tweet) and “Take Me Away” (feat. Maino) didn’t appear to chart at all.
On July 10, 2012, Lil’ Mo gave birth to her second son, Jonah Maddox-Phillip Bryant. In 2013, she became a cast member on the TV One network reality show “R&B Divas: Los Angeles.”
In September of 2013, she released the song “I’m a Diva” on iTunes.
The following week, another song “L’s Up” was released. In 2014, Lil’ Mo separated from Phillip Bryant and is now in a relationship with professional boxer Karl Dargan.
In April of 2014, Lil’ Mo released a mixtape called “No S*** Sherlock.”
The mixtape was released as part of the preparation for her fifth studio album “The SCARlet Letter” which was released on October 28, 2014.
To see the music video for “5 Minutes,” go to:
To see the music video for “Ta Da,” go to:
To see the music video for “Superwoman Pt. II,” go to:
To see the music video for “Gangsta,” go to:
To see the music video for “4ever,” go to:
To see the music video for “Dem Boyz,” go to:
To see the music video for “Sumtimes I,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “I’m a Diva,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “L’s Up,” go to:
To see the music video for “Mother of Your Child,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Hot Girls,” go to:
To see a fan-made video for “Superwoman, Part 1,” go to:
[Updated on 11-06-14]