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Required Listening: Tinashe, ‘Black Water’ (Mixtape)

tinashe-black-water

I’ve been riding a Tinashe-induced high since last week, when the alt-R&B songstress debuted “Vulnerable (feat. Travi$ Scott),” the lead track from her new mixtape, Black Water.

As anticipated, it’s a killer collection.

Like her past two free offerings — 2012’s In Case We Die and ReverieBlack Water plays host to plenty of sensual vocals, downtempo beats and murky, The Weeknd-leaning mood music for your listening enjoyment past the midnight hour.

But this time around, the singer-songwriter’s decided to dabble in flourishes of early ’90’s R&B and soul, adding in some new textures and melodies to the brooding tunes. Tinashe’s breathy voice tempts and teases around fresh baby makin’ beats, spooky trip-hop and trap textures, broken up by brief interludes of newscasters and foreign chants.

Tinashe has clearly stepped up her producer game as well ahead of her 2014 RCA debut, hitting the studio with the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, Legacy, Boi-1da, Best Kept Secret — there’s even a Dev Hynes-produced track called “Fugitive.” Surprising to no one, it’s as much a standout as any of his work with Solange and MKS. Meanwhile, the J. Oliver-produced “Just A Taste” is pure early ’90’s nostalgia, conjuring shades of Aaliyah and TLC. Light some candles. Turn off the lights, ‘Cause it’s about to get rill sexy: “I’m gon’ getchu when you least expect it,” she taunts on the gritty pulse of “Secret Weapon.” That’s for sure.

For those in search of that future sound, look no further than Black Water: Tinashe is quietly leading the charge as one of the most promising voices of the new generation of alt-R&B starlets.

Black Water (Produced by !llmind, Karon Graham & Gabriel Lambirth)
Before the Storm (Produced by Legacy)
Vulnerable ft. Travi$ Scott (Produced by Boi-1da, co-prod Vinylz)
Secret Weapon (Produced by Osinachi)
Video Tapes (Produced by Tinashe)
Midnight Sun (Produced by Best Kept Secret, outro prod by K Beatz)
1 For Me (Produced by Ryan Hemsworth)
Daybreak (Produced by Tinashe)
Fugitive (Produced by Dev Hynes)
Stunt (Produced by !llmind, co-prod Frank Dukes)
Just A Taste (Produced by J. Oliver and Mizfitz Soundz)
Middle Of Nowhere (Produced by inc.)
Ain’t Ready… (Produced by Legacy)

‘Black Water’ was released for free on November 26 on FADER.