Cassie is the self-titled debut album by American R&B/pop recording artist Cassie Ventura, released in the United States August 8, 2006 on NextSelection Lifestyle Group, Bad Boy Records and Atlantic Records. Cassie was discovered by record producer Ryan Leslie, who helped Cassie record demo tapes. After Cassie was signed by P Diddy, the founder of Bad Boy Records, she continued to work with Leslie who produced the entire album. Musically Cassie debut album was R&B and pop rock with urban and contemporary R&B styles, the album contained "looming synthesizer patterns" and "ice-cream-truck melody to give it a slightly twisted and threatening edge", as well as containing "flippant playfulness".
The album was critically received well and praised for its production as well as being called "confection", the album also had comparaions to Ashanti and Ciara. Cassie debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 with 100,374 copies sold in its first week. It stayed in the top twenty for two weeks. As of April 2008, the album has sold 321,000 copies in the US
"Me & U" was released as the lead single from the album on May 16, 2006. "Me & U", peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit the top twenty in six other countries. "Long Way 2 Go" was released as the second single from the album on September 2006. "Long Way 2 Go", did not perform as well as "Me & U" in the U.S., only reaching number ninety-seven on the Hot 100, however the single did well in the United Kingdom and reached number twelve on the UK Singles Chart.
At the age of fourteen Cassie began modeling, and when she was sixteen, she was modeling for local department stores, Delia's fashion catalog, and Seventeen. Cassie also briefly appeared in R&B singer Mario "Just a Friend 2002" music video. Encouraged by producer Rockwilder, Cassie took vocal lessons as well as using her schools performing arts program, taking modern ballet. Cassie finished high school in 2004, instead of going to college like her peers she moved to New York city, where she returned to modeling and classes at the Broadway Dance Center. Whilst Cassie was in New York Cassie began booking print and commercial modeling gigs and being represented by Wilhelmina Models.
Ryan Leslie spotted Cassie at clubs and parties in late 2002 frequently. The two wrote a duet called "Kiss Me", and after recording the track, Leslie played the song for music executive Tommy Mottola. Mottola offered Cassie a management deal, and Leslie signed her to NextSelection Lifestyle Group, his music-media company he founded with online marketing partner Rasheed Richmond. Leslie wrote and produced Cassie's first single, "Me & U", in 2005. The song became a club hit in Germany. During this time, Diddy heard "Me & U" in a club, and Leslie convinced him to partner his Bad Boy Records with Leslie's NextSelection imprint for the release of Cassie's debut album.
Ryan Leslie produced most of the album, which is a mix of pop and R&B. Ventura said in an interview, "I rap, I sing, I do my R&B, I do my slow songs and stuff that the girls will love, I have a down South joint, I have a rock song that I did with my girls this band called Pretty Boys." She paid tribute to her Filipino culture by incorporating OPM sounds into some of the ballads.
Rolling Stone praised the album for Leslie's production, saying, "minimal electro hook, whether he's going for an R&B ballad ("Kiss Me") or hip-hop ("Long Way 2 Go"), and Cassie shines with her understated cool. Best of all, "What Do U Want" mashes bhangra with the Go-Go's, featuring some head-scratching cosmology from Cassie ("The devil made this sweet little cupcake/Now we got Brooklyn and Harlem to educate"). But the whole album coasts on the hypnotic groove of Me and U." Slant Magazine also praised the albums production and compared it to that of artists Ashanti and Ciara continuing to say "And the album, which is only slightly longer than half-an-hour in length, plays to the singer's strengths, maximizing her limited range by keeping the songs short and the production simple". Stylus called Cassies vocals "confection" adding to that saying "Cassie is possessed of a voice that's like candy: sweet, simple, and see-through-thin when you stretch it out like taffy. It cloys in large doses and if you tried to subsist on a diet of nothing else you'd end up on the floor with a stabbing pain in your gut".
Cassie debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200 with 100,374 copies sold in its first week. It stayed in the top twenty for two weeks, in the top forty for three weeks and on the chart for twelve weeks. As of April 2008, the album has sold 321,000 copies in the US. The album also charted on the chart Belgium Albums ChartFlanders at ninety six and on the Belgium Albums Chart Wallonia at seventy eight, in France the album peaked at forty eight. In Switzerland "Cassie" peaked at fifty six and on the UK Albums Chart it peaked at thirty three.
"Me & U" – released as the lead single from the album on May 16, 2006. "Me & U", peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit the top twenty in six other countries. "Long Way 2 Go" – released as the second single from the album on September 2006. "Long Way 2 Go", did not perform as well as "Me & U" in the U.S., only reaching number ninety-seven on the Hot 100. Its music video did, however, peak at number three on MTV's TRL, and the single did well in the United Kingdom and reached number twelve on the UK Singles Chart. The third single was rumored to be either "Ditto", "Call U Out", or "Kiss Me", but was canceled.