Between fans, Popdust editors and even Lady Gaga, Cassie’s new video for “King of Hearts” has gotten a whole lot of love since its premiere last month. The cinematic clip that flaunts her beyond enviable body and what’s become a trademark hairstyle is the first official output from her long-awaited second album, the title of which she’ll be revealing in the next few weeks. Popdust caught up with the Bad Boy artist to find out what it’s like to film a video that doubles as a high-end fashion campaign, the kind of advice Diddy gives his talent and what exactly we should call her current ‘do.
POPDUST: What did you do last night?
CASSIE: Last night I took a drive through L.A. [laughs] Driving clears my mind.
Do you think about music at all? Is that where you get your best ideas?
Actually—you’re going to bug out when I tell you this—for the first portion of the ride I was listening to the radio and then I just shut it off and it was silent and I was there with my thoughts. It was kind of nice.
Did you get to bed late then?
Depends what you consider late. It was definitely before 2 a.m.
What are you listening to these days? Anyone you’re really digging?
I’m constantly listening to the Drive soundtrack. I listen to whatever is dope. I’m sure you’ve heard of Gotye?
We have. So good.
SO GOOD. I love it. It’s the type of record that if you’re by yourself, you’re just in the shower belting it out. But I listen to all kinds of stuff, really. It depends on my mood.
If you could go back to any past musical era where would you want to be?
Wow. I’m a huge fan of Diana Ross, so I would say [the ’60s] and that whole era would be right up my alley.
Would you get a girl group together?
Possibly. [Laughs] You know what’s so funny, I’ve always wondered if it would be cool to be part of a female group, but then I have to think that I can hardly deal with myself. I couldn’t imagine dealing with a lot of other girls.
That’s a lot of personalities and a lot of outfits to deal with.
What’s the idea behind your newest video, “King of Hearts”?
The song was produced by J2 and written by Phoenix, and as soon as I heard it it fit me perfectly. We changed it up lyrically a little bit, but we shot the video with Christopher Sims who shot the film part of the Gucci campaign, so that was kind of our inspiration behind this video. [We wanted] to make a moving picture.
Since fashion plays a huge role in the clip and many of the looks are provocative, is there a body part you particularly wanted to show off?
Clearly I’m not shy. I’m pretty open about showing my body; I’m a leg person. In the video I took it all the way there, but getting dressed on the regular? I think you leave one great body part exposed, and then the rest has to covered up in order for it to be a sophisticated outfit. So I would pick my legs.
Anything you’re not keen on showing?
I had some insecurities shooting the video and having my butt out. That was a little bit weird. I don’t do that.
Do outfits like those bring out the—for lack of a better term—horndogs of the industry?
It’s not that I have a “don’t fuck with me attitude,” but when people meet me in person I definitely give off the vibe that you need to respect me. I’ve never actually dealt with anybody that’s crossed any lines.
So it’s been six years since the first album. What do you think you’ve learned or gained since your first recording?
I definitely feel like time has given me the opportunity to learn about myself and really be observant, not just with other artists but with life in general—what works and what doesn’t, the pros and cons of making certain decisions. Over a six-year period with any young woman, you change a lot. I’ve just learned a lot and I’ve taken my time, and that will be reflected in the project for sure. I really took time to think about what I was doing and what I wanted to say.
What was it like for you when “Me & U” became so big?
I didn’t expect it at all. We threw it up on MySpace and people started adding it to their pages and it sort of went from there. I remember I was in D.C. doing radio promo and people told me my song went to No. 1 on radio, and I don’t think I really understood what that meant. And then it stayed there for seven weeks and I was like, “Oh, shit. O.K.!”
“King of Hearts” is definitely a dance track. Is that the sound you’re going for with this new album?
Not exactly. I’ve tried a lot of different stuff before I finally found my sound, and there’s a little bit of pop and dance, a little bit of hip-hop, ska and some ballads. As far as collaborators go, I worked with Jean Baptiste—who did “Look At Me Now” with Chris Brown—and J2, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
Do you think there’s any future for you on Diddy’s new television network, Revolt?
Possibly, possibly. I think it’s definitely a dope thing and it’s for music and to bring music back so I definitely hope to be a part of that.
What’s the best piece of advice he’s given you over the years?
Just to be patient. I’m not an impatient person but now that everything is kind of falling into place, the single is out and people are getting a chance to see and hear me, he’s like “See, patience helps you.” You have to be patient and accept that sometimes it’s your time and sometime it isn’t.
What about the craziest thing he’s said to you?
[Laughs] He says crazy things on the daily, so there are countless things that are hilarious.
We still love your hair. Do you have a name for the style?
Thank you! Right now I don’t know what to call it—an asymmetrical mohawk? When I first did it, I don’t even know. Everyone tried to call it an undercut but I just call it “The Cassie,” I guess.
Are people still surprised by the look?
At first it was: “You’re batshit crazy.” It took a couple months [for people to get used to it] and then for whatever crazy reason people started shaving half their heads and I realized it wasn’t so crazy after all.
No, you’re brave! And obviously quite the trendsetter. How does it work with men? Are they intimidated?
The more they tell me to grow it back, the longer I’m going to leave it, honestly. Guy are mad at me because their girlfriends are shaving their heads. [Laughs] I was leaving a party the other day and a girl leapt towards me and was rubbing the side of my head.
For good luck.
[Laughs] She kind of attacked me slightly.
Five things you can’t live without?
Let’s see… my family, water, I always have a blankie as a comfort thing since I travel a lot, lip gloss—can I just bring my whole purse?