“Love You for Life”: A New Cassie Leak Reveals What Could Have Been

The Black Coffee collab was even requested by Rihanna at one point.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Cassie, of course.

It feels weird to even be discussing her music career at all right now following the lawsuit she bravely filed last month against ex Sean “Diddy” Combs, outlining allegations of years of abuse, excessive control and rape in horrific detail. (He settled the suit almost instantly one day later.)

I was reading back through my conversation with her for MuuMuse in March of 2012, one of my happier interview memories. We bonded over being from Connecticut and gleefully poured over some of my favorite tracks of hers, leaked or otherwise, as she teased plans for touring, and her long-awaited second album.

It’s painful to consider how much she may have likely been suffering behind-the-scenes while fans and fellow pop nerds prodded her about the whereabouts of a follow-up to her 2006 debut. Of course, we had no way of knowing.

Aside from those few rare glimmers of brilliance shining through over the years, including entire albums worth of leaked demos (“Skydiver” forever), 2012’s “King of Hearts” – still an all-time favorite – the RockaByeBaby mixtape a year later, and a handful of one-offs, nothing really materialized.

Regardless, those of us who’ve sung the praises of the icy-voiced R&B-pop phenom from the beginning have constantly been validated from what little has managed to come out from her unreleased sessions. This latest leak – “Love You for Life,” or “4 Life” as it’s also referred to – is no exception.

The demo was recorded alongside the talented South African DJ and producer Black Coffee between 2016 and 2017.

The song’s existence isn’t a total surprise: Black Coffee shared footage from the late-night recording session back in 2017. It’s a fairly ominous watch in hindsight, seeing as that man is heavily featured throughout, getting bossy about the song’s production and speaking on Cassie’s behalf about the kind of artist she is. Just…ugh. Yeah.

Back to the song: the warm and pulsating production, which contains brief samples of DMX‘s “Get It On The Floor,” pairs well with Cassie’s breathy, come-hither delivery, resulting what could have been a very natural continuation of the electronic vibe of “King of Hearts.” It’s not exactly an in-your-face smash, nor is the under-your-spell lyricism all that appetizing given what we know now (“What they say we do / I will never say,” oof), but it does feel like “Life” could have worked as a vibe-y, mood-setting moment to usher in a new era of Cassie.

She wasn’t the only one interested in the track, either.

According to a news report in 2017, while working on the track with Cassie, Black Coffee was approached by A&R executive Omar Grant to work on a song for Rihanna circa Anti, who said: “I heard the song you’re doing for Cassie, is she using that? Because Rihanna wants that one.”

“I can’t give her that one. There goes my opportunity to be on Rihanna’s album,” the producer lamented at the time.

“Love You for Life” never ended up happening. Whether that’s because it was one of the many career moves intentionally blocked by someone who (allegedly) held a vice-like grip on her career for years, or because it never got to a place where all artists involved were satisfied, we don’t know.

That said, Cassie and Black Coffee did wind up releasing the fantastic, equally hypnotic collaboration “Time” on his incredible 2021 album Subconsciously.

At this point, there’s no indication whether Cassie has any interest in continuing in the music industry. And given everything she’s gone through, it would be more than understandable if she never wanted to step foot in a recording studio again and protect her peace.

If Cassie does want to do it again, I can only imagine there are a whole host of producers who’d love to help her re-enter the musical landscape on her own terms, and an audience eager to uplift her in her next musical chapter.

Regardless, she’s done something incredibly brave by coming forward with her story, and she will forever be a key player in bringing darkness to light in the cesspool that is the entertainment industry.

Photo credit: Jorden Keith Sorensen / Instagram

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