By Courtney E. Smith
All the little Lambs are dying to know, what is Mariah Carey cooking up for her long delayed next album?
She was expected to release new music on the heels of last summer’s successful hashtag collaboration with Miguel, but in July she took to Twitter to announce it would be pushed back due to a creative backlog.
Immediately following that, Carey landed herself in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder, further delaying production. But then in November, we got a little taste of what Mariah had been doing with herself when she dropped the rumored title track, “The Art of Letting Go.”
She didn’t release any more new music until “You’re Mine (Eternal)” came in February. With the Valentine’s launch of that single came another nugget of news: Carey’s new album was now slated for a May 6 release date and it was as yet untitled – meaning The Art of Letting Go was finally let go.
When Radio.com spoke to her on February 13 though, it was clear that Carey still wasn’t quite sure what would be on this new album. But whatever it is, it will be led by old friend and production partner Jermaine Dupri.
For the last month, Carey has been documenting herself in a “make shift recording studio” on Instagram, once again teasing that this mystery project, due out within the month, is still in its early stages.
So what has she got in store? We dreamt up a few scenarios.
The How Mariah Got Her Hip-Hop Groove Back Direction
So look, in talking to her Carey let it drop that Q-Tip is going to be on the album. Maybe, if he approves his verse. The last time those two collabed was during the actual golden age of hip-hop, on her 1997 single “Honey.” And, as previously mentioned, she’s back with JD. But let’s not play around too much: everybody knows Mariah Carey’s most memorable features were the hardcore guys: Ol’ Dirty Bastard on “Fantasy;” Puff Daddy, Mase and the Lox were the real people on “Honey;” and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on “Breakdown.” It worked because there was a real yin and yang with her sweetness and their rough enough stuff. But it’s gonna look kind of weird if she’s all up in the place with French Montana or Kendrick Lamar on a hook, you know? It smells like desperation.
So let’s say Mariah hooked up with Mobb Deep and Ghostface Killah and Juicy J and maybe even some 2 Chainz masquerading as Tity Boi. It is way past time for a guest spot from Cam’ron. And while you’re at it, drag Lil’ Kim off whatever reality TV set she’s on to spit a rhyme. Since there’s an entire new generation reeling in their ’90s nostalgia anyway, let’s have Mariah get the originals, and show those kids why they need to respect their elders. It’s going to be real hard to top the line, “Me and Mariah go back like babies and pacifiers,” but it’s worth a try.
The Island Fantasy Direction
Carey has been recording at an unnamed beach location in hopes to find her happy place and wrap up this untitled album. Since her Twitter and Instagram are full of “pon” references and pictures of her swimming in a nice pool or looking out the window onto a nice beach, we’re assuming she’s in Jamaica.
When fully immersed in an atmosphere like that, it’s nearly impossible not to get a little of the flavor into your work. So why doesn’t Mariah get a little rocksteady or push it even further and go full dancehall. This being Mariah Carey, though, and seeing that she’s got her two kids with her it’s doubtful she’s out at the club. More likely we’d get a seeping in of beachy, light hearted reggae. Look out for hints of calypso, the best beach music possible.
The Sexual Chocolate Direction
Carey’s career thus far has, no doubt, been influenced by Janet Jackson. And if you know anything about Janet, you know she keeps it spicy and has never given up unabashed sexuality in her songs, no matter how many decades she keeps going. But Carey’s contemporaries are more like Mary J. Blige and Toni Braxton who, well, don’t like to kiss and tell. So at this moment, the R&B diva who is most like Mariah Carey right now is R. Kelly (we mean career-wise, not personal life-wise). And if Kellz can turn it up and release a sexed up album called Black Panties, why can’t Mariah get her sexual swerve on too? It’s not exactly what Sheryl Sandberg meant when she urged women to “lean in” but now that Beyoncé has made it her business plan to popularize the idea of women as sexual beings after motherhood, why doesn’t Mariah get on her surfbort and swerve on some dudes.
The Religious Fervor Direction
Or, perhaps Carey isn’t feeling so sexual. Maybe she’s found the spirit of the Lord, or a lord, or any number of lords. And it’s entirely plausible that “You’re Mine (Eternal)” was a song of religious devotion, go listen to it again if you don’t believe us. It’s not at all necessary to restrict the idea of a spiritual Mariah Carey making a Christian gospel album, à la Aretha Franklin. Look at it this way: the art of letting go could just be Zen Buddhism philosophy rephrased into marketable-speak.
The Cronuts Direction
If Kelis can have an album all about food, can Mariah Carey not have an album entirely about baked goods? We’re using “cronuts” as a generic sort of place holder here, but in some circles, cake is slang for lady bits. What if Mariah Carey were to bring it back around so that it is simply cake again? We know she likes using sweets as metaphors for romance because, hello, have you heard “Honey”? Also, there are three important things in the world with holes in the middle of them: vinyl records, CDs and donuts. So let’s stuff her with raspberry filling and dust some powdered sugar on top in preparation for Mariah Carey’s baked goods focused LP. Perhaps she could even borrow Katy Perry’s whipped cream bra since she’s certainly done with it.