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tinashe

tinashe

on blunts, dicks, and the greatest performer today

If you’ve been to a party in the last 15 months or so, you’ve probably heard “2 On” and, by extension, Tinashe’s lovely voice as she sings about—what, exactly? What does it mean to get 2 on? It’s a question that you don’t really think about when you’re at the party, but instead when you get home and you’re sober enough to ponder such troubling issues. Interpretations have varied from smoking two blunts at the same time to taking two dicks at the same time. The true meaning is probably the least cryptic one: If you love to get it on, you should really love getting 2 on, as in getting more than one on, since two is greater than one. It’s just basic math.

“2 On” was likely engineered to be a meme and was thus a bit of a fluke. It was an effective fluke (and an effective meme, given the funny interpretations) because it made Tinashe, if anything, an interesting up-and-coming artist to follow. But “2 On” was not the best representation of Tinashe’s potential as an artist. It rode hard on the ephemeral dominance of DJ Mustard, whose now-dated production surely aided the success of “2 On.” Tinashe largely acted as backup; her voice wasn’t the strongest as she drifted throughout the track, singing about blunts or dicks or god knows what. The song’s still catchy, but it doesn’t really show off what she could bring to the table.

Granted, such a task is probably impossible. Tinashe is often compared to Janet Jackson, whom she paid tribute to at last year’s BET awards, not only because of their musical similarities—atmospheric instrumentals, albums full of interludes, a lot of explicit and seductive songs—but because there are few artists in history who match their abilities to dominate a stage. “Tinashe sounds like she sings while running on a treadmill,” one YouTube viewer commented on her Good Morning America performance of “All Hands on Deck,” and it’s true: Tinashe’s voice is always strong, despite what “2 On” would make you think, and her dancing was on point, easily putting to shame the majority of today’s pop stars.

It’s not just her skills as performer, though, that put Tinashe on another level entirely. “Aquarius,” Tinashe’s debut LP, is full of songs that are meticulously crafted for whatever people are doing on Friday nights: partying (“All Hands on Deck,” “Watch Me Work”), crying (“Wildfire,” “Far Side of the Moon”), fornicating (“How Many Times”), or crying while fornicating after the party (“Pretend”). She raps, she belts, and she shows off her pitch-perfect falsetto, sometimes all in one song (“Cold Sweat”), and the multifaceted nature of the album is required listening for anyone who thinks the comparatively frivolous “2 On” is all she’s capable of.

Because there is no justice in this world, Tinashe has not been able to continue the success of “2 On” with her recent singles or “Aquarius.” That hasn’t stopped her from giving it her all; she’s had tons of jaw-dropping performances and amazing collaborations (“Player” with Chris Brown, “All My Friends” with Snakehips and Chance the Rapper, and “Drop That Kitty” with Charli XCX and Ty Dollar $ign are all songs you’ll likely hear on Saturday) that’ll make you want to dance your ass off. In the meantime, go watch any Tinashe performance and get hyped for when she gets on stage on Saturday and absolutely murders it. You’ll be more than getting it on. You’ll be getting 2 on. Let’s roll.