Cassie, RockaByeBaby

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 12.01.13 in Reviews

Anyone who knows anything about Cassie likely only remembers 2005′s uber-minimal R&B possibly-about-oral-sex slow burner “Me & U,” which benefited as much from producer Ryan Leslie’s knack for pointillist production as Cassie’s breathy, distant delivery. But on RockaByeBaby, all traces of coyness or hesitance are abolished. In its place are weird, thunking productions that wouldn’t sound out of place on an M.I.A. record, powered by Cassie’s now-commanding vocals. It feels dark and eerie — fitting for an album that features its heroine brandishing a gun on the cover. And despite its numerous guest spots, it feels like a reflection of its creator, a former background player arriving to steal the lead.