Tinashe Brings A Fresh New Voice to R&B

Christina Drill
October 07, 2014

You have probably heard Tinashe's banger "2On" playing from all kinds of speakers this summer-- produced by DJ Mustard, who has collaborated with rappers like 2Chainz and YG, it was just the perfect tempo for the club, for the car, for the ~bedroom~. Tinashe has been teasing a new album for a while, and in the process has put out three mixtapes she wrote and produced herself in her own bedroom. Her first official LP Aquarius just dropped, released under her label RCA, and it poises her to be the biggest R&B star since Beyoncé.

Jon Caramanica of the New York Times likens Tinashe's music to Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Ciara-- "low-key sensualist[s] with a mild undertow of brooding"-- unlike Beyoncé's in-your-fast bombast who, Caramanica says, is a "maximalist through and through.'

Tinashe's "Aquarius" is a tight debut album that establishes Tinashe as a serious force in R&B. Like Beyoncé, she is skilled with rhythm in a way that makes any basic melody she sings feel stretched, funky, buoyant. The sound of the album is modern, and owes much of its feeling to that slow-your-roll vibe that Drake and crew practically engineered.

Tinashe admits that this first LP was a struggle because it was the first time she was collaborating with a group of people on a project this big. Her first two mixtapes, "In Case We Die" and "Reverie," were produced by Tinashe in her bedroom and in her makeshift studio. She released "Black Water" for her fans as buzz for her album, since the production was taking longer than she had expected.

"2On" peaked at #24 on the Billboard R&B charts, and the second single off Aquarius , "Problem," is set to do just as well. Featured guests on the album include Devonte Hynes of Blood Orange, Future, ASAP Rocky, and ScHoolboy Q.

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