Singer, rapper, and songwriter Tink broke out of Chicago’s hip-hop scene about a decade ago, becoming one of the constellation of new stars lighting up the city. Like many local artists who emerged around the time of drill’s first wave in 2012, she signed to a big label—in 2014 she closed a deal with Mosley Music Group (run by superproducer Timbaland) and Epic Records. Tim frequently compared Tink to Aaliyah, which did the Chicagoan few favors. Tink split from MMG in December 2017, after her album debut for the label, Think Tink, had collected dust for two years (it still hasn’t been released), and since then she’s frequently voiced her frustration with such comparisons. “I caught a lot of backlash . . . with him comparing me to her and telling me I’m the next Aaliyah,” Tink said on WWPR’s The Breakfast Club last month. “You can’t play with legends like that.” But Tink’s fortunes have improved lately, thanks in part to producer and Chicago native Hitmaka—she’s developed a working relationship with him, and they’ve made the kind of music that gets you invited on The Breakfast Club. They collaborated on her 2021 album, Heat of the Moment, as well as on her new Pillow Talk (Winter’s Diary/Empire). The new record makes plain that Tink has fun with Hitmaka, because as she explores romantic despair and ecstasy across its 16 sumptuous and occasionally salacious R&B songs, she never once sounds checked out or tired. Tink has been a professional musician for long enough that she can land just about any idea—her lyrics on “Goofy” are comically raunchy (“This dick got me goofy / Halfway past stupid”), but her sophisticated charisma makes even the most audacious lines go down smoothly.
Tink’s Pillow Talk is available through the artist’s website.