Tinashe on “embarrassing” time she was forced to work with R. Kelly and Chris Brown

Tinashe has revealed she feels “embarrassed” about being forced to work with R. Kelly and Chris Brown by her former label, RCA.

In a recent interview with Zach Sang, the LA-based star spoke about her latest release, the ‘BB/ANG3L’ LP, as well as being an independent artist. Sang asked Tinashe if her 2015 collaborations with R. Kelly (on ‘Let’s Be Real’ from his 16th album ‘The Buffet’) and Chris Brown (who featured on her non-album single ‘Player’) were “label-ly” things she was obligated to do.

“You think I wanted to [do the collaborations?],’ Tinashe started to reply before laughing. “I literally block out that R. Kelly song from my mind. I forget that that [song] exists. That’s so embarrassing. That is so unreal that I have a song with R. Kelly.”


“I block out that song from my mind” @Tinashe on working with R. Kelly #tinashe #rkelly #embarrassing #zachsangshow #zachsang #fyp #foryou @Amp

♬ original sound – Zach Sang Show


The 30-year-old also recalled how young she was making the song with R. Kelly, saying she was “probably like 20” and had “just signed to that label [RCA].” Sang then chimed in, mentioning that “the public would think [Tinashe] was doing that willingly” despite “lacking a lot of control in that situation.”

Tinashe agreed, replying: “Especially when it comes to singles, for example, that song with Chris [Brown] was a song that we all wanted it to be this big moment… 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.”

This confused the alt-R&B-pop star since she “was like, ‘Well, this is a pop song” and didn’t “feel like [they] should put Chris on it.” However, they did and ‘Player’ didn’t do well on the charts, peaking at 84 on the UK. “I don’t like that,” Tinashe told Sang, “That [decision] doesn’t compute to me.’”

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You can watch the full interview here.


Brown later responded to Tinashe’s comments by commenting under a post of the viral clip. He wrote, “Name [five] Tinashe songs or die… Everybody dead.”

Chris Brown and R. Kelly have been publicly condemned for their controversial behaviour towards women. In February 2009, Brown got into a physical altercation with then-girlfriend Rihanna after they left a pre-Grammy party. He pled guilty to one count of felony assault and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation.

Since then, he has been accused of numerous assaults against women, the latest being in 2021 when he was under police investigation for allegedly slapping a woman “so hard her weave came off.” That case was ultimately dismissed because of “insufficient evidence”.

As well as this, Brown humiliated Tinashe months following the release of ‘Player’. He called her a “hobbit face ass” after she unfollowed him when the then-26-year-old told Kehlani to “stop flexing on the gram” after sharing the news of their suicide attempt.

R. Kelly is currently in prison after being found guilty of six counts of owning and producing child pornography and enticing a minor back in September 2022. On February 23 this year, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which he will serve simultaneously alongside the jail term he received last year for racketeering and trafficking – totalling 31 years in jail.

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In other news, this the Ivor Novello Award winner Tinashe dropped her sultry and boundary-pushing sixth LP ‘BB/ANG3L’. The record is the follow-up to her 2021 fifth album ‘333’ that NME gave four stars.