Picture it, if you will: Cassie and new gal-pal Karrueche sitting pretty in a drop-top lowrider (door-knocker earrings included). Throw in the breezy Left Coast’s sunshine and urban chic style cues for good measure. Got it? That was the Bad Boy princess’ vision for “Paradise,” the second Alex Nazari-directed visual off RockaByeBaby. “I just wanted to get into that L.A. vibe. The old school Impala, us chilling on the shoot,” she tells Vixen. “It was really a fun video to make because we were all hanging out.”
Outside of chucking the deuces at NYC for green-loving Cali, the half-shaven femme has altogether conjured up a soft barely-above-a-whisper sound that reinforces her penchant for laid back moods and chill amusement. Post self-titled debut LP, Miss Ventura was on a search for the confident tunes she notes on this ‘tape and are still being fine-tuned the day before its release. “I was actually recording until 4 o’clock trying to do final touches. I’ve become like a crazy person,” she laughs. “I know my engineer wants to kill me.”
Ever the perfectionist (something she picked up from Puff, perhaps?), the model chanteuse details her creative process for RockaByeBaby, nailing her new sound and why changing her hairstyle isn’t as easy as it sounds. — Niki McGloster
VIBE Vixen: You just dropped “Paradise” featuring Wiz Khalifa. Are there going to be more visuals for this ‘tape?
Cassie: Yeah, I want to keep pushing them out with each record. It’s important that the first few records came out with a visual. When people get the mp3, it’s cool. But if they’re hit with a visual, then it’s a complete thought.
Unexpectedly, Karrueche made a cameo. How did you and her become cool?
We met a couple times and just stayed connected after that. I don’t really have that many friends out here, and she was one of those people that was nice and welcoming. I’ve been living in LA since July, and I’m still adjusting to it now because I’m such an East Coast girl. L.A. has good weather, and you can’t really beat that. It’s a beautiful place.
Now the ‘tape is certainly feature-heavy. Why not make it an album?
I chose to do a mixtape for fans and supporters that really have been there since day 1. “Me and U” was something very specific that people gravitated towards, because it was something different for people at that time. Being 26 years old with the crazy stuff that’s happening to me and my life, I wanted it to be a reflection of that vibe. It’s really who I am right now.
It sounds like you’re in a very confident space. What was the creative process like?
“Numb” with Rick Ross was the first record I recorded, and it set the tone. We wanted to build around it. After that, everything was really organic. I rapped a little bit [and] got on records that people wouldn’t have imagined
VV: How’d you get in the studio with Too $hort? That’s legendary West Coast right there.
Cassie: I met him in the studio as he wrote [his verse]. He goes in, writes it down and knocks it out. I was sitting there with one of my friends like, “He has to say ‘bitch [Laughs].'” It was just perfect. I was kind of watching in awe.
Outside of $hort, who was the best collab on the ‘tape?
My personal favorite is Wiz Khalifa, just because that was a long time coming. All the artists that are featured delivered something so different from what they have out now. It sounds like them because it’s true to their artistry, but there’s this [new] little element of each person that came out. Wiz is singing in a little bit of his verse on my mixtape.
Do you feel like you still have more to prove to the industry?
I felt that way for a while. It’s hard to get in where you want to fit in when there’s so many different things coming at you. There’s A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar and Rita Ora, so I wanted to come up with something that was true to me. I hit the nail on the head and finally found my sound. It’s definitely an underdog situation, and I prefer to be an underdog.
Though only a little bit of the ‘tape has been heard, you’re getting Jhené Aiko comparisons already. How do you feel about that?
Honestly, people compare all of us all day long. It’s part of the territory that comes with putting out music and being creative. If you don’t know I’m just Cassie by now, you should not listen to the music.
Are you nervous at all to put this out there?
No. This is probably the first time I‘m the most relax I’ve ever been. I’m confident about it, because I really feel like it’s just that dope.
Understood. Okay, so you know I have to ask: Are you going to change your hair?
[Laughs] I have so many plans of changing it. It’s the growing-out process that’s holding me back. My hair was short in the “Numb” video and I didn’t really like it, so now we just have to figure a way to grow it out. It’s going to have an awkward phase at some point. I just have to figure out when that’ll be.
Download RockaByeBaby now.