Tink Credit: Olivia Obineme

At the end of 2014, Calumet rapper-singer Tink positioned herself as Chicago’s next big thing after dropping her high-water-mark Winters Diary 2 mixtape and inking a deal with Timbaland’s Epic imprint, Mosley Music Group, Hell, and XXL magazine cemented that reputation when it listed her among its 2015 “freshman class” of rising stars, which also included Fetty Wap, Goldlink, and Vince Staples. But Tink’s career stalled under Timbaland’s watch; according to the Fader, Tink’s relationship with Tim started to sour after he delayed her debut album, Think Tink, which was originally scheduled to drop in July 2015, but I wonder if some of the downfall was because he wanted her to be someone else. When she headlined Metro in early 2015, Timbaland invoked Aaliyah’s name and compared Tink to the dead R&B star so frequently it raised the question of how much Timbaland cared for the person right in front of him. Tink ditched her contract with Mosley in December 2017, and in March she released an EP called Pain & Pleasure through her own Winter’s Diary label and G Herbo’s Machine Entertainment Group. These airtight tracks display Tink’s mastery of R&B as well as her playful inventiveness—on “Signs” she slips snippets of rapping between debonair and sultry sung verses as easily as the rest of us inhale and exhale.   v