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Cassie: Cassie

Cassie: Cassie

Label:Bad Boy
Release Date:2006
Genre:R & B

By Jess Harvell | Posted 8/23/2006

R&B singer Cassie has the slightly dubious distinction of being the first person in the U.S. to be propelled to the Top 10 through the magic of MySpace. Her lead single "Me and U" clocked an astonishing 9 million plays on the web site and was already wedged into pop radio playlists long before Cassie, her debut album, was released a few weeks ago. Leave it to P. Diddy--nobody’s fool, at least when it comes to matters of money--to realize that what’s been giving indie acts a leg up can make a multimillionaire even richer.

Cassie is 19, a former model taken under the wing of a producer named Ryan Leslie. She’s not a million miles from another R&B C-girl--Ciara--a teen dream with amazing beats, little in the way of vocal chops, and videos that do a good job of showing off both her dancing and her American thighs. Like Ciara’s superproducer, Jazze Pha, Leslie builds tracks out of Lego-simple, primary-colored blocks: the pneumatic drums of Southern hip-hop, tinkling ringtone melodies, synthesizers that swarm and sizzle like heat rising from blacktop on a summer’s day.

Cassie’s voice is thin, but she never risks showing up the limitations of her range by busting out the Star Search theatrics. The combo of sparse beats and text-message lyrics feels like a 21st-century update of "Iko Iko" or "The Clapping Song," as Cassie dismisses crappy boyfriends and describes the tug of puppy love with a gum-snap nonchalance. And the whole record clocks in at a junior miss svelte 10 songs (and one interlude) in less than 35 precision-tooled minutes, the best kind of late summer trifle.

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