It’s been nearly six years since Bad Boy Records songstress Cassie first burst into the music scene with the platinum-selling “Me & U,” a spine-tingling slice of icy electro-R&B minimalism that rocketed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006.
While she’s released several songs over the past few years since her debut record, including “Official Girl (feat. Lil Wayne)” in 2008 and “Let’s Get Crazy (feat. Akon)” in 2009, the singer’s had a slow start-up for her sophomore attempt (which was at one time titled Electro Love), stalled by push-backs, delays and of course, the search for the right sound.
And then came “King of Hearts” in early February, a storming, tranced-out production filled with pulsating Ibiza jungle rhythms and haunting, chilly vocals a la “Me & U.” It was the perfect blend of futuristic dance production and Cassie’s signature delivery–the “it” sound that Cassie says will thread itself throughout her upcoming record.
Finally, the R&B songstress is now preparing to release her long-awaited follow-up in 2012.
I got the opportunity to speak with the Connecticutian chanteuse last week while she was promoting “King of Hearts” across the country. (She’s now popping bottles and getting merry in France for Paris Fashion Week–c’est bon, la vie!)
We spoke about the video for “King Of Hearts,” her producers, her sound and her fashion. Plus, she even hinted at what I can only assume to be my new personal anthem off the upcoming record: “Lonely Disco Ball.”
She’s a complete sweetheart, and one of the flyest chicks in the business: And now, an interview with Queen Cassie.
One of MuuMuse’s favorite up-and-coming acts, Tinashe, has done a lot of growing up these days.
After separating from short-lived girl group The Stunners in 2010 and releasing “Artificial People,” her collaboration with OFM back in September of 2011, the blossoming 19-year-old singer-songwriter has just released In Case We Die on February 1, a conceptual mixtape (yes, that means free!) that serves up an unexpectedly more mature, introspective sound than any of her dance-pop productions of the past.
“I was very inspired by the thought of a lover’s last words before death–bearing their soul and their secrets before it was too late…and trying to capture that half-fear we all secretly have that the inevitable is sooner than we are ready for,” she explains of the mixtape.
The collection was reportedly self-penned, produced and record alone over a three week period. And if that’s truly the case, then Tinashe has just become more of a “One to Watch” artist than ever.
Harnessing the ghostly trip-hop production of artists like Canadian spook-R&B maker The Weeknd, Kanye West, and even subtle shades of Prince, the mixtape glides along wisps of drippy beats, echoed yelps, sultry Cassie-like icy R&B and strange, atmospheric sounds in the distance.
There’s plenty to soak in from this rich 15-track collection of tunes–from the moans and purrs above the super slow, slinky swag of “Boss,” to the autotuned Kanye-like grit of “Another Season,” to the unbelievably amazing “I Tried”: “I want you to know that I tried!” the songstress yelps above the song’s soldiering hip-hop thump and blazing synthesizers.
While not everything on this mixtape is as Top 40-friendly as her past releases (though tracks like “This Feeling” bounces with enough of a Rihanna-like bump to certainly prick some ears at radio), In Case We Die is by far her most impressive moment yet–an incredible display of stone-cold serious artistry, featuring daring production and introspective lyricism that deserves to have the blogosphere going positively abuzz.
Pay attention now, because this collection should seriously not be overlooked.
In Case We Die was released on February 1. (Download Now)
Amber Rose – “Fame”
For those who haven’t already heard of Amber Rose, she’s the fiercely bald model/socialite/arm candy–formerly of Kanye West, now of Wiz Khalifa–who’s been featured in videos for superstars including Nicki Minaj (“Massive Attack”) and Ludacris (“What Them Girls Like”), and currently the face (and body) of Smirnoff’s new national ad campaign.
Like all good society women do, (Paris, Heidi, we love you!), Rose announced earlier in 2011 that she was getting serious about music (she even quit smoking!), stepping into the studio to work on an upcoming debut for 2012.
Well, it’s finally happening, as the socialite-turned-songstress has just debuted her first-ever single: “Fame.”
Although the cover art and title are a bit of a shameless homage to Grace Jones (which she’s already done a few times before, Island Life style), the sound is nowhere near Miss Jones’ avant-pop territory. Nor is it a throwaway club-pop track drenched in Auto-Tune that might have been upchucked by one of the cast members of any given Real Housewives series.
Instead, “Fame” is a light electro-R&B breeze about flashing lights and the public’s scornful eye. As it turns out, Amber Rose commands a lush, wispy coo a la Queen Cassie that carries the song quite pleasantly: “This is a new situation/Now you’re an overnight sensation,” Rose lightly sings over the pulsing synthesizers and twinkling electronica.
“You’re not ready for the fame,” Rose later croons during the song’s dreamy chorus. Although she’s certainly no powerhouse chanteuse (was anyone actually expecting that?), and the song isn’t much deeper lyrically than the stuff of Heidi Montag’s flaw-free fame fest Superficial, “Fame” is still a solid debut effort that will earn Rose some newfound fans–and of course, keep those haters staying mad.
Coupled with the fact that her boyfriend Wiz Khalifa (who also makes an appearance for a brief guest verse) has her heading into the studio with some notable producers and songwriters, Rose’s full-length debut might actually be something seriously worth clamoring about.
Now, can someone please tell Amber Rose why she should probably stop calling her fanbase her “Rosebuds”?
Nicki Minaj is coming back with power, power.
Ever since I first heard “Itty Bitty Piggy” back in December of ’09, I was instantly smitten with Mizz Minaj. But apart from her ALWAYS legendary guest verses (the “Shakin’ It 4 Daddy” verse for Robin Thicke, to the “Bottoms Up” verse for Trey Songz, and her best to date, the verse on Kanye West‘s Monster”) I fell off the Nicki train with her mostly disappointing debut Pink Friday–a mostly pop/R&B-heavy record with little to none of the fierce ‘n’ ferocious theatrics employed in every single one of her guest verses.
Plus, that Black Eyed Peas collaboration? I was simply checked out. (Err, aside from her features on Guetta‘s new record, which I absolutely adore.)
But now something good’s brewing: Roman Zolanski, the female rapstress’ gay alter ego (as featured on Pink Friday‘s few life-slayers “Roman’s Revenge”) has taken control of the mic–and shit’s just turned ferocious all over again.
“Roman in Moscow” is the first taste of Nicki’s upcoming sophomore record: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. And for the first time in a while, I got the tingles I felt when I first heard Minaj spitting her deviously clever rhymes with her trademark cray-zay flow: “I told you bitches last year: I’m a rap bitch nightmare,” Minaj announces of the top of the hectic beat.
“Roman in Moscow” has everything I ever loved about her early verses: The indecipherable accents (did she just say something about a synagogue?), the ridiculous enunciation, the irreverent rhymes, the mile-a-minute skills. Oh, and that “I double dog dare you, I double dog dare you!” bit? LOVE!
Roman, yo what da fuck?! This is much closer to the all killer, no filler Minaj I fell in love with years ago! Less “Right Thru Me,” more “Fuck U Silly.” Now bring it this Valentine’s Day!
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded will be released on February 14. (iTunes)
Another year, another MTV Video Music Awards, which means it’s time for a whole ‘nother round of Kanye rage and death threats from Britney stans demanding to know whether or not she’ll be performing this year.
But before we get into that whole mess–it’s the nominees for the 2011 MTV VMAs!
Last night, MTV opened up the vote for the 2011 MTV Music Video Awards. And almost just as quickly, the tweets began to fill up my timeline with various outbursts and damning remarks: #MTVFail! #MTVFail! So what’s got everyone’s panties in an Ashley Tizzydale? Let’s see who made the cut…below the cut.