“Afrodisiac was an album that was still about my relationship with love and life in general. I wasn’t singing any mommy songs [laughs]. This was about my young life outside of being a mom. Afrodisiac was a sexy album, but it was also edgy. Timbaland meant so much to this project. I always wanted to work with Tim from the very beginning when I heard his music with Missy [Elliott] and Aaliyah, rest in peace. I really wanted to see how I would sound over his production. I knew that another type of creativity was going to flow through me, so I wanted to experience that. And it was everything I thought it would be, and more.
It feels good to work with people that are fans of yours and you are fans for them. You play this dance of wanting to impress each other and please the other. And that’s what we were doing. When we were in the studio together, Timbaland would hear my vocals play back and he would go crazy. And when I would hear one of his tracks for the first time I would just scream! That was what he brought…that edgy, fearless energy. I just wish that everyone else who was involved got what we were trying to do as a team.
We had already pretty much recorded the bulk of the album before Kanye West got involved. The label wanted to come out with ‘Talk About Love’ as a single, but I didn’t want it to be released. And that wasn’t because it wasn’t a good song. It just didn’t match the energy of what Timbaland and I had done. I wanted a single that represented the sound and the movie feel of my album. But I loved Kanye’s song. I loved what it was talking about because I definitely experienced that in my life where everyone is in your business and wants to talk about you. I learned a lot working with Kanye—like how to stand firm in what you believe in. It’s different when you believe in something and you are trying to make yourself believe that you are doing the right thing. But when you believe it and know it, that’s an entirely different thing. And that’s the type of person Kanye has always struck me to be. He believes in what he feels is right whether you agree with him or not.
I didn’t want to leave Atlantic Records, but I knew it was meant to be. Everybody that was Team Brandy had already left. The guy who signed me, Darryl Williams, Sylvia Rhone, and Richard Nash…they had all gone. I didn’t think that the new people that were coming in…not that they didn’t get me or didn’t want to help me in my career, but I just think they were looking more towards the hip-hop artists. They didn’t know what to do with me. I just had a feeling that it was time for me to go.”