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Cassie is Cassie's self-titled debut album which was released on August 8, 2006 by NextSelection, Bad Boy Records and Atlantic Records.

TracklistingEdit

  1. Me & U 3:12
  2. Long Way To Go 3:40
  3. About Time 3:33
  4. Kiss Me 4:07
  5. Call U Out 3:33
  6. Just One Nite 4:06
  7. Hope You're Behaving (Interlude) 0:37
  8. Not With You 3:17
  9. Ditto 3:34
  10. What Do U Want 3:14
  11. Miss Your Touch 2:33

Circuit City edition bonus tracks

  1. When Your Body Is Talking 3:43
  2. Can't Do It Without You 3:55

Album BackgroundEdit

Cassie began modeling when she was 14 years old. When she was 16 years old, she modeled for local department stores, Delia's fashion catalog and Seventeen magazine. She also made a brief appearance in R&B singer Mario's music video for his song, "Just a Friend 2002."

Encouraged by producer Rockwilder, Cassie took vocal lessons as well as using her schools performing arts program, taking modern ballet. After finishing high school in 2004, she moved to New York City where she returned to modeling and took classes at the Broadway Dance Center.

While in New York, Cassie began booking print and commercial modeling gigs while being represented by Wilhelmina Models.

Ryan Leslie started spotting Cassie at clubs and parties in late 2004. They were introduced by Diddy's makeup artist, who had worked with her on a modeling photoshoot.

In February of 2005, they wrote a duet called "Kiss Me," as a result of Cassie being asked by her mother to record a song as a birthday gift. After recording the track, Leslie played it for music executive Tommy Mottola, who offered Cassie a management deal. Leslie signed her to NextSelection Lifestyle Group, his music-media company founded with online marketing partner Rasheed Richmond.

In 2005, Leslie wrote and produced Cassie's first single, "Me & U." That same year, they set up a MySpace page, where they uploaded the song which soon went viral and became a club hit in Germany, creating a label bidding frenzy.

In the meantime, Diddy heard "Me & U" in a club, and Leslie convinced him to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie's NextSelection imprint for the release of Cassie's debut album.

About her debut single, Cassie said: "I think that was one of the only songs that we didn't do organically—I'll literally come in and we wrote from scratch [...] I love how the tone feels of the song. It's not too much. It's really simple and nobody has anything like this."

Leslie then produced her entire album, which is a mix of pop and R&B. Cassie described her sound as "mellow, chill, and easy to relate to. This album represents what I've always wanted to do."

In another interview, she said: "I rap, I sing, I do my R&B, I do my slow songs and stuff that the girls will love, I have a down South joint, I have a rock song that I did with my girls–this band called Pretty Boys. [...] It has some funk, some old stuff, it's really fun."

Cassie paid tribute to her Filipino culture by incorporating OPM sounds into some of the ballads.

While describing the process of working with Leslie, she stated, "I will talk about situations that I was going through at the time and we'll talk about that and it comes straight from the heart that's why it works out well between us," continuing about her songwriting input, "I was just kind of going along with it trying to get the vibe. I'm starting to get into it and I'm excited to write."

Cassie also mentioned "Not With You" was one of her favorite songs, "It's slow, it's simple, and you get to really hear me as opposed to all the synthesizers and everything in the background," and compared the second single, "Long Way 2 Go," to Vanity 6's vibe. "I'm hoping to show I can do a wide range of things," concluding, "The whole album really just goes back to love songs."

PromotionEdit

Cassie made television appearances on MTV's "Total Request Live" and BET's "106 & Park" to support the album during its release week.

Her first televised performances were described as "rocky" and "less-than-stellar," but Diddy said that it was due to her inexperience, continuing that he would be "with her through her development," and has no "question on her ability [to sing."

Cassie later added: "I don’t think I should have done those shows. But I didn't know I had a choice. I would sit in rehearsals and sing full songs a cappella. I wasn't Beyoncé, but I wasn't fucking up. Then I got out there and was like, 'Oh my God, millions of people are watching me right now. I have stage fright.'"

On August 9, 2006, she had an album release party, hosted by Danny A and Ryan Leslie at New York's Marquee. Later that month, she was a part of Warner Music Japan's annual showcase at the Heatseekers Convention in Tokyo.

On September 7, 2006, Cassie performed at the NFL Opening Kickoff presented by the NFL and NBC in Miami Beach, Florida.

Chart PerformanceEdit

"Cassie" debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 on August 26, 2006, with 100,374 copies sold during its first week.

It stayed in the top twenty for two weeks, in the top forty for three weeks and on the chart for thirteen weeks. As of April 2008, the album had sold 321,000 copies in the United States.

The album charted in other major international territories such as France at forty-eight, Germany at eighty-two, while peaking in the Netherlands at seventy-eight.

In Switzerland, the album peaked at number fifty-seven, in Belgium Wallonia at number seventy-eight and Flanders at ninety-six.

It also appeared at number six on the Australian Hitseekers Albums and on the Australian Urban Albums at number thirteen.

It also peaked within the top forty in Japan at number thirty and the United Kingdom at thirty-three, reaching number three on the R&B Albums Chart and receiving a Silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry for combined sales of over 60,000 in 2015.

As of January 2010, "Cassie" had sold 650,000 copies worldwide.

Critical ReceptionEdit

Upon its release, "Cassie" received generally positive reviews from music critics.

The Washington Post's Chris Richards described it as "One of the best pop albums released this year sounds it came from outer space. Or the future. Or maybe just heaven," adding that "Cassie's voice is incredibly sweet and somewhat hypnotic."

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone praised Leslie's production, "a master of the minimal electro hook, whether he's going for an R&B ballad ("Kiss Me") or hip-hop ("Long Way 2 Go")," while Cassie "shines with her understated cool," highlighting "What Do U Want," for mashing "bhangra with the Go-Go's [...] But the whole album coasts on the hypnotic groove of "Me and U"."

In Slant Magazine, Sal Cinquemani also praised the production, making comparisons between Cassie and Janet Jackson, continuing to say "the album, which is only slightly longer than half-an-hour in length, plays to the singer's strengths, maximizing her limited range by keeping the songs short and the production simple."

Mallory O’Donnell from Stylus Magazine called Cassie's vocals "confection," claiming that she "is possessed of a voice that's like candy: sweet, simple, and see-through-thin when you stretch it out like taffy," pointing out potential in "Cassie's still-developing vocal presence."

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Casey Dolan considered that Cassie "has fashioned an album that slots easily into the new hybrid stream of R&B with nods toward hip-hop and pop. Her distinguishing vocal delivery is soft and languid, unlike almost every other singer out there who shouts you into submission," continuing that it "deftly flirts with adult themes but in a youthful way."

Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times said that the album "mastered R&B-lite songs over space-age beats," noting the track "Ditto" as a standout.

AllMusic editor Andy Kellman commented that "As a vocalist, Cassie has enough character and ability to sell her material without fail. And there will never not be a need for a vocalist who doesn't handle each stage of a relationship as if her life depends on it."

Blender's Dorian Lynskey wrote: "Even the 35-minute running time indicates a rare self-control that makes this the most consistently arresting R&B debut since Kelis's."

Steve Jones of USA Today felt despite vocal limitations, Cassie is "engaging enough to keep things interesting."

Clover Hope from Billboard stated that the album "offers sexy, laid-back tunes, dainty ballads and midtempo dance jams" and its "whispery piano runs and simple basslines create a fresh listening experience."

In an editorial review on Amazon.com, Tammy La Gorce opined that, other than the singles, "this brief disc bumps along on the greatness of its beats. Credit Cassie, though, for concocting a whole lotta 'tude," calling her "a master of sass, a guru of guile."

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