Cassie speaks about the creation of her newest mixtape "Rockabyebaby", including rapping for the first time, working with Los, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, and French Montana.
Cassie just dropped her first full length project in six years. Rockabyebaby is stacked with features from Rick Ross, French Montana, Meek Mill, and more. It also sports some pretty hard production from Young Chop and Mike WiLL Made It. Cassie recently sat down with Complex to discuss the process behind the tape, where she details working with Wiz Khalifa, and learning to rap from her Bad Boy affiliate Los. Read excerpts of the interview below.
RockaByeBaby been getting some amazing feedback since it dropped. What were you doing between projects, essentially in the last six years. Where were you creatively?
Even though I wasn’t really out there with the music, I was in a creative place always. I was always making music and trying records and trying new sounds, I don’t think anything really stuck the way the project has now, because I just kind of developed a different sound. I was always really creating, it just wasn’t on the scale that I’m creating now.
Definitely. You tested out a lot of music, and we hear that progression, from “Me & U” to “King of Hearts” to now. How did you find a balance?
It really started about nine months ago when I started the tape. I did the first track, “Numb,” the one that we added Rick Ross to, and I think that’s kind of where I felt the sound needed to be. It was just the first sound that felt like it made sense. That wasn’t even a year ago. To think that I’ve been really working on trying to find a sound that I wanted for the past six years, for five years. I still have been simultaneously working on a second album. I got in with will.i.am and a lot of other great people, too, for that project.
Before I get to talking about the album, your big comeback this year was “The Boys” with Nicki Minaj.
It was really cool. It’s one of my favorite records, “The Boys.” I’m happy that Nicki wanted to work on it with me, and we made it happen, and the video came out great. I was really proud of it. I don’t know what else to say. It was dope, though. I think that was the first time where I really jumped into my creative control, styling myself and everything.
And you rap on “RockaByeBaby,” too.
And I rap on RockaByeBaby.
And where did that come from?
[Laughs.] Exactly, like where did that come from? I have no idea. I worked on that with my labelmate Los and he just really coached me through it, and I was like ‘Los I can not believe you have me rapping this fast, I never thought I could move my mouth this fast.'
Everybody’s letting it marinate, but even when I played that record and “Bad Bitches” for one of my friends who’s known me since I first started in the music industry was like, 'Wait, this is Esther Dean.' Everyone has been like, ‘What the Hell? Where did you come up sounding like that? I don’t ever remember you being loud and boisterous.’ I’m like, ‘I know, I’m so laid back in real life.’
How was working with Wiz? He seems really happy in the video, as usual.
It was just so natural. Him and I have known each other for some time because we shot his “Roll Up” video together, and I knew him before that, when he first came out with “Black and Yellow.”
Wiz is just such a happy person, you can’t help but laugh and have a good time and that’s kind of what we did. We were all on the stoop—it was me, Jeremih, Problem, all my producers, everybody was there. We were just having a good time. That’s what we wanted to come off, so I think it did.
Exactly. Back to the mixtape, you have a bunch of stacked features on it, too.
Everything kind of came organically, in that we would make a record, finish it and go, “Who would sound really dope on this?” Maybe I wouldn't finish a bridge so I could leave it open for a rap verse, and be like ‘Damn, let me call French. French where you at?’ ‘I’m next door.’ ‘French, I’m sending you something right now.’ It was like that. It exceeded my expectations as far as the verses. The quality of the verses, they are album worthy.