3LW (acronym of "3 Little Women") was an American hip hop, pop and R&B girl group that enjoyed a number of modest hits during the early 2000s. Its founding members were Naturi Naughton, Adrienne Bailon, and Kiely Williams, with Jessica Benson, who replaced Naturi after she left the group in 2002. 3LW was signed to the label Epic Records, and later moved to So So Def.
In 1999, the original line up of 3LW formed. Their first single, "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)", was released in the fall of 2000. "No More" was a success and was followed by "Playas Gon' Play" in early 2001. The group's debut album, 3LW was released on , 2000. The album went platinum, selling 1.3 million copies in the US. In the summer of 2001, the group went on the MTV Total Request Live tour along with Destiny's Child, Dream, Nelly, Eve, and Jessica Simpson.
In 2001, 3LW recorded a song with various artists including Michael Jackson, Usher, Beyonce, Luther Vandross, and Mariah Carey in response to the 9/11 attacks called "What More Can I Give".
3LW spent the first half of 2002 in the studio, recording an album tentatively titled Same Game, Different Rules. The album and its intended lead single "Uh Oh" were presented to the label, who felt it didn't have enough urban radio appeal. The tracks from Same Game, Different Rules were leaked to the Internet in MP3 format, and Epic considered dropping the girls. A fan support campaign for 3LW named 'Never Let Go Of 3LW' after their song "Never Let Go" spread to the radio, and the act was retained, despite the album loss.
A Girl Can Mack and downfall (2002-2003)
Recording a new set of tracks, the group returned in the summer of 2002 with the P. Diddy-produced single "I Do (Wanna Get Close To You)", featuring Loon. By August, the group was set to release its newest LP, A Girl Can Mack, when member Naughton had left the group for good after heated arguments. A Girl Can Macks release date was pushed back a month, but sales were still disappointing debuting at #15 on the Billboard 200 with a disappointing 53,000 copies sold in the first week. Approaching the time that the group was ready to deliver their second album, Naturi Naughton announced that she was no longer a member of the group. Naughton alleged that she had a number of conflicts and arguments with Bailon, Williams, and their management, which led to a heated argument in August 2002 involving an altercation with KFC food. Not long after, Naughton claimed that she was forced out of the group.
Williams and Bailon continued as a duo while using the "3LW" name, causing the press to jokingly refer to them as "2LW". The departure of Naturi greatly affected the group's popularity and album sales. After the second single released from the album, "Neva Get Enuf", underperformed, auditions were held across the country for a new third member. Jessica Benson made the cut and joined 3LW in early 2003. Jessica's first performance was on Live with Regis & Kelly, followed by a performance on Soul Train. According to a cover story for the October 2002 issue of Sister 2 Sister magazine, Kiely & Adrienne said they received death threats and that they had to beef up security. Jessica Benson joined the group shortly after, replacing Naturi.
Point of No Return (2003-2008)
In fall 2003, 3LW departed from Epic, signing with Jermaine Dupri's So So Def label.
The group's third studio album was originally called Phoenix Rising, but was renamed Point of No Return. The lead-off single, "Feelin' You", was added on radio stations July 12, 2006. The album was supposed to be released later that year but was pushed back to a 2007 release because of Adrienne and Kiely's involvement with Disney's Cheetah Girls franchise, and eventually fell off the release schedule. As a result, the album was never released. In early 2007, Bailon stated in Girls Life magazine that 3LW was on hold because of the Cheetah Girls project. However, rumors were finally put to rest by Benson on her Myspace in January 2008. Benson confirmed that 3LW officially disbanded, quoting "too much drama" for the reason. Benson added that she is in a new band called Chocolate. 3LW has also been removed from its label's roster.
In 2005, Bailon and Williams joined The Cheetah Girls, which disbanded in January 2009 with the girls (Bailon, Williams, and Sabrina Bryan) all wanting to focus on other projects. Bailon announced she is working on her debut solo album, due for a September 2009 release. The album is rumored to feature rapper Jay-Z. Bryan is working on an advice book, however the release date is unknown. In 2008, Williams released a song titled "Make Me A Drink" that failed to do successfully but is still working on a solo album as well as focusing on her acting career. In January 2009, she landed a role in the film The Science of Cool.
Besides their singing work, the original lineup of 3LW appeared as guest stars on Christina Vidal's Nickelodeon show Taina.
After the birth of The Cheetah Girls, Kiely and Adrienne both starred with Raven Symone and Sabrina Bryan in the film The Cheetah Girls as well as its two sequels The Cheetah Girls 2 and The Cheetah Girls 3. Adrienne has also appeared in several episodes of the Disney Channel show That's So Raven. Adrienne had a cameo appearance in the movie Coach Carter in 2005, and in 2006 co-starred in the MTV straight to video/television movie All You've Got beside fellow R&B singer Ciara. Kiely played sorority sister Lilly in the 2008 comedy, The House Bunny. Naturi played rapper Lil' Kim in the January 2009 released movie, Notorious, a big screen biopic on the late Notorious B.I.G. Naturi has also done a commercial for Truth.com, titled "It Must've Been A Typo". Naughton will also star in the upcoming remake of the movie musical Fame, as Denise, due out in theaters September 2009.
The group was also featured as bonus characters in the 2001 video game NBA Street.