When Tink announced that she’d parted ways with producer Timbaland, her longtime fans salivated at the possibility of a return to form for the 23-year-old Chicago singer/MC. That’s exactly what she’s given them with the release of her first new self-produced EP, Pain & Pleasure. Over the course of six all-new tracks, Tink celebrates her newfound independence by going back to the silky melodies and slinky rhymes that first made her a favored prospect for a breakout debut.
Gone are the awkward, forced, and preachy song concepts that she delivered under Timbaland. Pain & Pleasure‘s trim tracklist sounds more akin to her Winter’s Diary series of EPs, smoothly blending R&B and hip-hop and easily gliding between lanes. Her gift has always been a Drake-ish ability to switch instantly from melodizing to spitting cocky lines about how fly she is, and she exercises it to maximum effect here on tracks like “Part Time Lovers” and “On To The Next One.” She proves just as adept at straight up R&B as she is at rapping, and the slim runtime smartly makes it easy to get into for newcomers, while leaving you wistful for just a little bit more at the end.
If there are any complaints to be made, it’s that Tink doesn’t really show much evolution from the Winter’s Diary joints here; any song on Pain & Pleasure could just as easily be transplanted without missing a beat, and the overall downtempo melodies would get pretty sleep-inducing quickly if it weren’t for the breezy runtime. However, that could just as easily be chalked up to her wanting to return to a consistent sound to appease day-ones who were disappointed by her Timbo-enforced left turn or just getting out a few of the ideas that he’d held back in trying to turn her into a new Aaliyah.
Overall, Pain & Pleasure does what it’s supposed to do: Reassure her fanbase, get her name back out into the world, and generate excitement to see what Tink is going to do next. Check it out below.