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Tinashe says she had no choice in releasing “embarrassing” Chris Brown, R. Kelly collaborations

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Tinashe has spoken about the songs of hers that feature R. Kelly and Chris Brown, describing them as “embarrassing” and stating that she had no choice in having the two men appear on her music.

Speaking on the Zach Sang Show, Tinashe was asked about the early stages of her career and her struggles with label RCA, with whom she split in 2019. The R&B artist has spoken out about her issues with the label in the past and Sang focused his questioning on how she came to work with Brown and Kelly at different points in time.

“You think I wanted [to do those songs]? I literally block out that R. Kelly song from my mind — I forget that it even exists,” she said of “Let’s Be Real Now,” a song from Kelly’s 2015 album The Buffet. “That is so embarrassing. That is so unreal that I even have a song with R. Kelly.”

Kelly is currently serving a 30 year sentence on sex trafficking and racketeering charges.

She told Sang, “I was so young too, which is crazy because I feel like I did that song when I just signed to that label… I was probably like 20.”

Later in the conversation Sang and Tinashe talked about the “lack of control” some artists have in terms of their music. “Especially when it comes to singles,” Tinashe said. “Like for example that song with with Chris [Brown], that was a song that… we all wanted it to be this big moment — this big single. So I feel like in [the label’s] mind, they were like ‘You need the support.’ And [Chris] was like their biggest artist that they had on rhythmic radio at the time.”

Brown appeared as a featured artist on Tinashe’s 2015 single “Player.” It’s a song she says she was uncomfortable releasing at the time. “I was like, ‘Well, this is a pop song so I really don’t feel like we should put Chris on it like that. I don’t like that. That doesn’t compute to me.'”

Tinashe released her latest project, a seven-song mini-album titled BB/ANG3L, last week (September 8).