Cassie
RockaByeBaby [mixtape]

Hey, remember Cassie? She had this smash hit single called “Me & U” seven years ago, and it was something to marvel at. In a summer dominated by the sassy and the brassy (“Promiscuous,” “Aint No Other Man,” “Hips Don’t Lie”), Cassie’s sexy, sub-zero R&B provided a refreshing change of pace: ominous synth blasts, a simple four-note melody, and above it all, vocals that were so pure, so potent that you couldn’t help but swoon when you heard them. Since then, Cassie’s popped up on the occasional track — Nicki Minaj’s “Boys,” for example — but she still hasn’t put out a proper full-length since I was in the eighth grade.

This year, the Bad Boy chanteuse seeks to step into the spotlight once more, with her to-be-announced sophomore LP. In the meantime, she’s released RockaByeBaby, an out-of-nowhere pop juggernaut that’s entirely unlike anything we’ve heard from Cassie thus far. Need proof? Peep the intro — a sample from New Jack City, in which Allen Payne boasts “Now, that’s how you kill somebody my brother! You get right up on the motherfucker, and BOO-YAA - Blow his brains all over the sidewalk, in broad daylight!” Yeah, Cassie’s gone American Gangster on us, and it sounds damn good: a schooling in the methodologies of pop/rap/R&B fusion, backed up by a reputable roster of guest stars (French Montana, Pusha T, Too $hort). For starters, check out “I Love It,” a chilly collab with Fabolous, and the sneering, guitar-spangled “Bad Bitches.”

• Cassie: http://www.cassiesuper.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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