TGJ Replay: “Cassie: The Debut Album”


Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past.  So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.

Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase albums (and eras) from a library of pop music hits.  Finally, we go back to Next Selection/Bad Boy beauty Cassie‘s eponymous debut…

Connecticut born beauty Cassie Ventura first burst onto the scene as a fresh faced teen model, listing the likes of Seventeen magazine as one of many hosts of her striking image by the time she was 16.  Barely breaking in the modelling industry, a minor appearance in the 2002 ‘Just A Friend’ music video by R&B crooner Mario would see Ventura venture to fulfill another calling – music.

Under the urging of hitmaking producer Rockwilder, the budding performer took singing and dancing classes to help hone her musical skills.  After linking with then up-and-coming producer Ryan Leslie, the duo would produce a number of demos that landed right on the desk of music mogul Tommy Mottola.  That listening session would see the mogul so impressed with the model-with-a-mic that he signed her to Leslie’s ‘Next Selection’ imprint.

And, then came ‘Me & U’

Before the song was accompanied by visual, word has it Diddy was so impressed with the tune after hearing it in a club that he agreed to partner with Next Selection for the full album.  The result of that collaboration would see the three cook up a fun, flirty mix of R&B-fused pop tunes that accented Ventura’s light vocal offerings.  While in the “baking” process, so to speak, the album’s lead single was apparently already packing  heat.

Skyrocketing to the top of R&B charts, the song peaked at#3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and top twenty in a host of other countries.  Providing what initially looked like the perfect launching pad for the beauty until that fateful ‘106 & Park’ performance…

Though embarrassing, that promo push wasn’t completely damning. The album still managed to land a top 5 debut on the strength of 100k sold in its first week.  Similarly interesting was the fact that despite being slammed by a host of critics for the absence of her vocals, the monotone mistress saw her album greeted by warm critical reception.

In the hey day of acts like Fergie and Gwen Stefani who offered a similar rap/sung packaging to their numbers, critics deemed Cassie’s offerings legit as she – unlike Stefani and Fergie – was actually of the age where she could get a pass for the fluff.

Following up the massively successful ‘Me & U’ with the biographical aptly titled tune ‘Long Way 2 Go’

The single offered a reworked version of the tune – featuring new ad libs and the like.  Unfortunately, like its name, the repackaging was not enough to save the tune from ultimate failure as it had a long way to go to meet the heights of its predecessor.  By year’s end, the tune barely cracked the Hot 100.

To date, the album has shifted over 300k copies.  And, despite a host a promises, its follow-up (rebranded and retitled countless times), has yet to hit record shelves.  Left in the shadows by the likes of Ashanti, Ciara, and, of course, Beyonce and Rihanna, Cassie has failed to find footing in a saturated market of people who offer each of her differentiating qualities…and much better (see:  soft vocals, girl next door appeal, electro-fluff).

Be that as it may, 2006 was the year Diddy’s darling was introduced to music buyers.  Unknown to many, but suspected by most, her time in the music spotlight was shortlived and ultimately replaced by the spotlight that came from just being associated to people who are actually famous for a reason (see: talent).

Here’s hoping Cass’s next offering, assuming it ever sees the light of day, will see the model-with-a-mic reconsider Rockwilder’s advice and sculpt a product that showcases her actual vocals more than her assets or autotune-assisted whispering.

Who knows?  She may deliver another ‘Me & U’ on us…

Your thoughts?



  1. July 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm
    Monstarebel says:

    Loved long way to go never heard the full album tho.

  2. July 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm
    Monstarebel says:

    Her new mixtape is everything tho

    • July 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm
      Ciara stan says:

      YASS I play it everyday

  3. July 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm
    #hive says:


  4. July 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm
    Suicide Blonde says:

    Who is she?, is this a worthy post, did i miss a great album?

  5. July 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm
    Brazilian Beyonce!!! says:

    She’s gorgeous she deserves success though

  6. July 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm
    Team Tasia says:

    Oh God Cassie can’t sing a lick, but LWTG was my jam!!! I walked to it back in my high school modeling troupe days lol. Perfect fashion show song!!

  7. July 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm
    rita and beyonce scared of rihanna says:

    She should never of been signed. She is just a pretty face you f***. LOL people use to compare rih to this h**. Some even though this h** ( including beyonce ) is a better singer than rih.

    Look were rih is and look where she rots.

    • July 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm
      Ciara stan says:

      Boy stop reaching Beyonce never said she thought Cassie was a better singer than Rihanna she said she liked me & u and that she liked the tone of Cassie’s voice THAT’S IT stop trying to always find a way to bring Rihanna up that s*** is so annoying

  8. July 7, 2013 at 6:44 pm
    Mr. GQ says:

    Without Ryan Leslie I honestly can’t see her sticking around as an “artist”

  9. July 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm
    Navy nick says:

    This album was cute for real..

  10. July 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm
    Beyond Amazing says:

    She only had one song that I liked. And that was me and you. Tgj why are you giving her shine?????

  11. July 8, 2013 at 12:37 am
    credits says:

    The album had a feel to it. It was fresh and most of the credit goes to ryan leslie. What he and Cassie had could be compared to what timbaland had with aaliyah and what darkchild had with Brandy but the only difference is that tim and rodney had vocalists who complimented there production while it was cassie’s lackluster vocals that ryan could benefit from. Cassie was ryan leslie’s muse. it made sense because her lack of vocal ability could never out shine the production, so ryan leslie who was fresh at the time, shined. i am 23 now and it came out when i was in highschool. back then i payed no attention to vocal ability so i enjoyed it.

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