Sunday, 23 September 2012

Whatever Happened To RnB? - Cassie

Music is always changing and what is popular one year might be derided as hilariously crap the next but there are certain genres that will always be around, albeit in different forms. Rock will always be rock, whether it’s indie or grunge, and rap will always be rap but RnB is RnB dammit and not this crap dance pop stuff that’s been knocking around the charts for the last couple of years. Do you remember when the term ‘quiet storm’ referred to sensual and mellow RnB and not a deaf person standing in the rain? Artists like Brandy, Mya and TLC used to rule the charts back in the late 90s and early 2000s but gradually, these singers either declined in popularity or sold out to perform a more poppier or dancey sound… I’m looking at you Rihanna and Usher! And damn you Guetta!

In this weekly feature, I’m going to take a look back at some of the best RnB artists of yesteryear, sharing their signature videos and underrated hits, as well as looking at what they’re up to nowadays.

First up is Cassie.

I’m sure many of you remember her debut single ‘Me & You’ from 2006. The video showed a gorgeous Cassie slinking around a dance studio, stretching and dancing in front of a giant mirror as she sang along to the track. Produced and written by Ryan Leslie, ‘Me & You’ was a huge hit internationally and remained in the US top 40 for almost five months.

After the success of her debut single, Cassie followed it up with another brilliant song, ‘Long Way 2 Go’. I absolutely love this track, despite it not performing as well as the previous single. It’s a perfect example though of the playful laid back vocals that makes Cassie stand out from other RnB artists.


Now I understand that Cassie is a ‘marmite’ artist in some ways, due to her unconventional style of singing, but that still doesn’t explain why it’s taken her so long to release her sophomore album. Cassie filmed a video for lead single ‘Official Girl’ back in 2008 but at the time of writing this post, the album has still not been released! Here’s Official Girl, featuring a rap from Lil Wayne.

After a few more promo singles failed to set the charts on fire, a number of unreleased songs were leaked online. Had these songs actually been released properly, Cassie’s record would have definitely been one of my favourites of 2008. Here are some reasons why;

Turn The Lights Off sees Cassie deliver icy minimalist verses with a chorus that pleads ‘I’m not afraid of the dark.’ Strange but brilliant.

Thirsty has Cassie chanting about a man’s obsession with her, using that fascinating and unusually fragile voice of hers that makes her style so distinctive.

Finally, My House shows Cassie in an even more detached, dream-like state than normal, sounding more like a lost spirit of some kind than a RnB popstar.

These are just a selection of some of Cassie’s best leaked songs that were criminally overlooked by her label. These and other tracks that can still be found on Youtube showed Cassie’s style evolve into something quite unique and while they did not find her success commercially, subsequent years have seen Cassie gradually become an underground sensation, with many of her songs being remixed by alternative dance producers who have fallen in love with her voice. Here’s a remix of Long Way To Go produced by DJ Crystal, which completely reworks the song into something new and fresh.

In February this year, Cassie finally returned with an official video for the song ‘King of Hearts’, which features her restrained ‘I don’t give a damn’ vocals again which I love so much. Here she is looking sexy as always in the up-tempo video.


However, don’t hold your breath for the new album just yet as only time will tell if it ever gets released. In the meantime though, Cassie has recently sung the chorus to the lead single for Nicki Minaj’s new Roman Reloaded re-release. With such a high profile single coming out, I’m sure Cassie will start to finally fulfil the star potential that she promised since her debut way back in 06.    


I hope you enjoyed looking back at some of Cassie’s best hits and most underrated tracks as much as I did. Click here for the next edition of Whatever Happened To RnB?, which takes a look back at Ciara's career as well as what she's up to now. See ya soon!

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