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Tank (American singer)

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Tank in 2014
Tank in 2014
Background information
Birth nameDurrell Artaze Babbs[1]
Born (1976-01-01) January 1, 1976 (age 48)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
OriginBaltimore, Maryland, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active1996–present
Formerly ofTGT
Zena Foster
(m. 2018)

Durrell Artaze Babbs (born January 1, 1976),[2] better known by his stage name Tank, is an American R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career as a backing vocalist for R&B singer Aaliyah, and signed a recording contract with her label, Blackground Records as a solo act in 1998. His 2001 single, "Maybe I Deserve" peaked within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 and led his debut studio album, Force of Nature (2001). It peaked within the top ten of the Billboard 200, while his second album, One Man (2002) peaked within the top 20 and saw unfavorable critical response.

Following a five-year hiatus, he entered a joint venture with Motown to release his third album, Sex, Love & Pain (2007). Met with his furthest commercial success, it peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 and was preceded by the Billboard Hot 100-top 50 single, "Please Don't Go". He parted ways with the labels in favor of Atlantic Records to release his following albums: Now or Never (2010), This Is How I Feel (2012), Stronger (2014), Sex, Love & Pain II (2014), and Savage (2017), the latter of which spawned the platinum-certified single "When We". Following his ninth album Elevation (2019), his tenth album, R&B Money (2022) was announced as his final due to hearing loss in his right ear, which hampered his musical ability.[3]

Tank has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, and formed the R&B trio TGT with contemporaries Ginuwine and Tyrese Gibson in 2007, with whom he released one studio album (2013). Along with recording, Tank has been credited with songwriting and production for other artists including Kelly Rowland, Chris Brown, Monica, Jamie Foxx, Omarion, LeToya Luckett, NLT, and KeKe Wyatt. His other ventures include his record label R&B Money, which has signed frequent collaborator J. Valentine; the two began hosting a namesake podcast in 2022, which enlists prominent figures in the genre as guests.

Early life[edit]

Babbs was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,[4] then he moved with his family as a child to Baltimore, Maryland. He was a multisport athlete in high school and was offered the opportunity to play college football.[2] However, Tank decided to focus on music, with his vocal talent being recognized to the point where R&B singer Ginuwine gave him an opportunity to sing background vocals for him during one of the latter's tours.[2] Tank also became a backing singer for Aaliyah, whom he had met through Ginuwine in 1997.[5][6][7]

Tank later signed as an artist with Aaliyah's record label Blackground Records.

Music career[edit]

2001–2007: Force of Nature, One Man and Sex, Love & Pain[edit]

In 2001, Tank released his debut album Force of Nature which spawned the moderate hit Maybe I Deserve".[8][9] In 2002, Tank released his second album One Man and a single of the same name.[10] Tank provided vocals for I Care 4 U, Aaliyah's posthumous compilation album, featuring on the album's final single, "Come Over".

Tank released his third solo album, Sex, Love & Pain, in May 2007.[11] The lead single of the album was the minor hit "Please Don't Go", which peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[9] Later that year, Tank, alongside Ginuwine and Tyrese Gibson, formed the group TGT.[12] The group was put on hold due to contractual issues, but signed with Atlantic Records in September 2012 to release their debut collaborative album, Three Kings the following year.[13]

2010–2014: Now or Never, This Is How I Feel and Stronger[edit]

Tank released his fourth studio album, Now or Never, in December 2010.[14] Tank collaborated with artists who included Chris Brown, Drake, Letoya Luckett on this project.[15] The singles were "Sex Music", "I Can't Make You Love Me", and "Emergency".[15]

Tank released his fifth studio album, This Is How I Feel, in May 2012.[16] Tank collaborated with the artists Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, T.I. and Kris Stephens on the album.[16] The song "Compliments", featuring Kris Stephens and T.I., was released as the lead single in October 2011.[17]

On September 14, 2013, Tank sang the U.S. national anthem before the Floyd Mayweather vs. Saúl Álvarez fight in Las Vegas, Nevada.[18]

His sixth studio album Stronger was released in August 2014. It featured the singles "You're My Star" and the title track. They did not make the US Hot 100 but both peaked in the Top 20 of the US Urban AC chart. The album marked a slight departure from his previous releases, focusing on a "retro R&B sound" for the album. Following disappointing sales of the release, Tank had claimed the album would be his last.[19]

2015–2020: Sex Love & Pain II and Savage[edit]

In February 2015, a mixtape album, If You Were Mine, was released. Later that year, Tank premiered a new single, "You Don't Know", featuring Wale. It served as the lead single for his seventh studio album Sex Love & Pain II, released in January 2016. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart (marking his 5th album to do so) and #15 on the US Top 200 Albums chart. A second single "#BDAY" followed later that year, in addition to a holiday EP A Classic Christmas Night in December, released independently.

In May 2017, Tank performed at Washington DC's Black Gay Pride event, garnering both praise and criticism and setting off a debate concerning the rare instances male R&B artists perform at LGBT events.[20][21] In September 2017, Tank released his eighth studio album, Savage.[22] The album's lead single "When We", has peaked at number 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. In October 2019, Tank released his ninth studio album ELEVATION. He then released a piano-laced EP titled While You Wait on March 27, 2020.[9]

2021-present: R&B Money and retire[edit]

On February 26, 2021, Tank released the single "Can't Let It Show" of which the chorus interpolates the 1989 Kate Bush single "This Woman's Work". Kate Bush is credited for the song alongside Tank.[23][24]

In August 2021, it was announced that Blackground Records would be rereleasing discographies of artists including Tank, Aaliyah, Toni Braxton and Timbaland & Magoo.[25][26] Tank's first three studio albums were reissued on CD, cassette, vinyl, digital download and for the first time, streaming, on September 17, 2021.

On October 29, 2021, Tank released "I Deserve" from his upcoming tenth and final album R&B Money.[27][28][29] The single reached the top 10 on the R&B Radio chart.[24]

Tank was nominated, for the first time, for an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, held on November 21, 2021. He lost to The Weeknd.[30]

Prior to the release of R&B Money, Tank announced that it would be his final studio album, triggered in part by loss of hearing in his right ear in 2021.[31]

Other ventures[edit]

Writing and producing[edit]

Tank's songwriting and production credits include working with Aaliyah, Beyoncé, Dave Hollister, Fantasia Barrino, Kelly Rowland, Marques Houston, Omarion, Jamie Foxx, Pitbull, Donell Jones and Monica[4] as a member of the production team the Underdogs and with his own team, Song Dynasty.


He was a contributor to the score of the film adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls, in which he had a cameo. He was also featured in the movie Preacher's Kid.[32] Tank played Donovan in Born Again Virgin (2015–2016). He also played recording company executive Jheryl Busby in the BET miniseries The New Edition Story (2017), The Bobby Brown Story (2018), and appeared in T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle (2018).


Tank and his manager, J. Valentine, are the hosts of their own streaming podcast, R&B Money Podcast, where they interview popular R&B recording artists, songwriters, producers, and other legends of the genre, discussing industry topics with R&B music at its center. The podcast is most popular on the YouTube platform.

Personal life[edit]

Tank got engaged to his longtime girlfriend Zena Foster on January 16, 2017. The couple has two children, Zion and Zoey. They were married in Los Angeles, California, on July 22, 2018.[33][34]

Tank is also the father of three more children from previous relationships: Jordan, Ryen, and Durrell Jr.[35]


Studio albums
Collaborative albums



Year Title Role Notes
2006 It Ain't Easy Aaron Video
2008 KeAnthony: A Hustlaz Story Jay Short
2010 Preacher's Kid Devlin Mitchell
2014 Second Chance Christmas Daron Richard TV movie
2015 November Rule Paul
2018 Me, Myself, & Them Mr. Jones Short
2020 Illicit Perry
2021 Seven Deadly Sins: Lust Trey Taylor TV movie
Big 50 - The Delrhonda Hood Story Slim
2023 Favorite Son Christmas Blaine TV movie


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Soul Train Himself Episode: "Episode #32.7"
2007 Lyric Cafe Himself/Celebrity Poet Episode: "Episode #1.5"
2011 The Protector Frankie Benson Episode: "Spoon" & "Affairs"
2012 Single Ladies Joe Mason Episode: "No Ordinary Love"
2014 According to Him + Her Himself Recurring Guest
2015 Togetherness Officer Damon Recurring Cast: Season 1
2015–16 Born Again Virgin Donovan Recurring Cast
2017 Unsung Himself Episode: "Dave Hollister"
Lip Sync Battle Himself/Competitor Episode: "Soul Train Special"
The New Edition Story Jheryl Busby Episode: "Part 1-3"
Saints & Sinners Himself Recurring Cast: Season 2
Grown Folks Quincy Recurring Cast
2018 Hit the Floor Warren Matthews Recurring Cast: Season 4
The Bobby Brown Story Jheryl Busby Episode: "Part 1 & 2"
2019 Ridiculousness Himself Episode: "Tank"
2021 Black Love Himself Episode: "How Love Begins"
2022 Real Husbands of Hollywood Himself Episode: "Wedding Gone-A-Rye"
Celebrity Game Face Himself Episode: "Kevin's BFFs"
2023 A Black Lady Sketch Show Balthasar Episode: "I'm Clapping From My Puss"
Urban One Honors Himself/Host Main Host
Black Pop: Celebrating the Power of Black Culture Himself Episode: "Music"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2008 Sex, Love & Pain Best R&B Album Nominated [36]
"Please Don't Go" Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Nominated
2011 Take My Time (with Chris Brown) Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated [37]
2014 Three Kings (with TGT) Best R&B Album Nominated [38]

Soul Train Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2014 Himself Best R&B/Soul Male Artist Nominated [39]

International Music Journalism Award[edit]

Year Recipient Category Result Ref.
2023 R&B Money Podcast Best Work of Music Journalism - Multimedia Nominated [40]


  1. ^ "Durrell 'Tank' Babbs". IMDb.
  2. ^ a b c Nero, Mark Edward. "Tank: Bodybuilding R&B Singer". about.com. About Entertainment. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Gail (August 19, 2022). "Tank Releases 10th & Final Studio Album 'R&B Money'". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 24, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Birchmeier, Jason. "Tank Bio". mtv.com. MTV. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "Tank Remembers Meeting Aaliyah: 'I Was So Caught Up In Looking at Her'". The Boombox. August 25, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  6. ^ Madusa, S (May 7, 2021). "Tank Recalls Providing Background Vocals For Aaliyah On "Come Over"". Hot New Hip Hop. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  7. ^ "Tank – Being Aaliyah's Background Singer & What Made Her Special (247HH EXCL)". YouTube. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  8. ^ "Force Of Nature by Tank". iTunes. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Tank – Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "One Man – Tank". Allmusic. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  11. ^ "Sex Love & Pain – Tank". Allmusic. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "R&B Supergroup TGT Splits Up". Billboard. December 19, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "Tyrese, Ginuwine, and Tank Make TGT Group Official". Rap-Up. October 4, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  14. ^ "Now or Never – Tank". Allmusic. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Now or Never (Deluxe Version) by Tank". iTunes. December 13, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "This Is How I Feel (Deluxe Version) by Tank". iTunes. May 8, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  17. ^ "Tank 'This Is How I Feel' LP: Singer 'Believes In' Chris Brown, Talks Busta Rhymes' 'Fire Alarm' Phone Call". The Boombox. April 25, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  18. ^ "Watch: Tank Sings National Anthem at Mayweather vs Canelo Fight". Vibe. September 15, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  19. ^ "Weigh In: R&B Crooner Tank Slams Fans/Music Industry For Not Supporting R&B In Fiery Instagram Rant – That Grape Juice.net – Thirsty?". That Grape Juice.net. May 23, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  20. ^ "Tank Performed at D.C.'s Black LGBT Pride and Now The Internet Is at War". Bet.com. March 14, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  21. ^ @tysandsnyc (May 29, 2017). "So Tank really did do Pride" (Tweet). Retrieved October 3, 2017 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ "Savage by Tank". iTunes. September 29, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "Tank Can't Let It Show". Apple Music. February 26, 2021. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  24. ^ a b Folk, Antwane (November 29, 2021). "Tank's 'I Deserve' Reaches Top 10 at R&B Radio". Rated RnB. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  25. ^ Brown, Preezy (August 5, 2001). "Blackground Records To Release Albums By Aaliyah, Timbaland & Magoo And More On Streaming Platforms". Vibe.com. Retrieved September 17, 2001.
  26. ^ Leight, Elias (September 16, 2021). "Tank on Finally Streaming His Back Catalog: 'Now People Will Know I Existed Before 2010'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 17, 2021.
  27. ^ "R&B MONEY by Tank". February 4, 2022.
  28. ^ ""I Deserve" hit single and video OUT NOW!!! LETS GOOOOOO!!! R&B MONEY!!". Twitter. October 29, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  29. ^ "Tank I Deserve (Single)". Spotify. October 29, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  30. ^ "@TheRealTank scored his career-first nomination at this year's #AMAs". Twitter. November 18, 2021. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  31. ^ Mitchell, Gail (August 19, 2022). "Tank Releases 10th & Final Studio Album 'R&B Money'". Billboard.com. Retrieved October 24, 2022.
  32. ^ "SR Gospel: LeToya, Tank Preacher's Kid In Theaters, Plus BMI Trailblazers". Singersroom.com. January 9, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  33. ^ "Tank Proposes to Longtime Girlfriend". Billboard. January 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  34. ^ "Instagram". Instagram. January 31, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  35. ^ Tank (June 20, 2015). "Father's Day Exclusive: Tank Pens Heartfelt Letters To His Five Kids". Essence.com. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  36. ^ "2008 Grammy Award Winners and Nominees". The New York Times. February 9, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  37. ^ "Grammy Awards 2011: Winners and nominees for 53rd Grammy Awards". Los Angeles Times. March 12, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  38. ^ "Grammys 2014: The complete list of nominees and winners". Los Angeles Times. December 7, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  39. ^ "Chris Brown & Beyonce Lead Soul Train Award Nominations". Billboard. October 13, 2014. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  40. ^ "Shortlists 2023 | International Music Journalism Award".

External links[edit]