Mariah Carey's got more men than she knows what to do with — working on her upcoming record, that is. So far, the singer has enlisted a host of top rappers, R&B stars and producers for the project, now slated for a spring release.
When asked about the album recently, Carey responded coyly: "Oh, you don't want to hear about that now. You can just wait. No, the record is cool. I'm happy with it. We got ballads, we got uptempos, we got a lot of things."
So far, Carey has collaborated with Kanye West, R. Kelly, N.O.R.E., Jermaine Dupri, Swizz Beatz, James Poyser, Randy Jackson and, most recently, the Neptunes and Snoop Dogg. "I just did two records with the Neptunes, and one with me, Snoop and Pharrell," she said.
Jermaine Dupri worked with her recently as well, putting what he calls the "JD bounce" on a track called "Shake 'Em Off" and then stepping out of the producer's chair to duet with Carey on a song called "Can I Get Your Number." "Mariah is singing unlike we've heard her in a while," Dupri said. "Sh-- is hot."
N.O.R.E. concurred, saying that after he worked with the singer for her album, he immediately enlisted her services for his own forthcoming LP, One Fan a Day, due out December 21. One of his tracks — at first tentatively called "Friends" and now currently without a title — features a previously unreleased verse from the late Big Punisher. Carey, however, didn't have the benefit of hearing that verse before she came up with the chorus.
"I told her to think like Pun was still alive," N.O.R.E. said. "I told her to think of [Pun's] 'It's So Hard' and 'I'm Not a Player.' I know she was mad at me [because she didn't get to hear it], but I know the world is going to love it."
Yet another collaboration — this time with Scott Storch — was just as fruitful, but for someone else's album. Hearing a beat Storch made for Jadakiss' single "U Make Me Wanna" made Carey wanna ... be on the song (see "Jadakiss Has More Questions, And So Do Nas And Common").
"I was just like, 'This is hot tamale. We need to do this together,' " she said. "And then we went into the studio, and basically they had the 'La-La-La' part, and I started singing 'K-i-s-s me' because I was thinking of his name ..."
"She made it a hit," Jadakiss interrupted.
"No, I'm not trying to take no credit," Carey continued. "It's just that it was cute, so I started singing it, and they decided to make it the hook of the song, and then it came to be."
Now that she's softened up Jada's single, she's eager to have the rapper return the favor.
"When are you going to get some Kiss vocals on there?" the rapper asked her.
"I have a nice track that I would love for you to be on," Carey told him. "It's a Swizz Beatz record that's hot tamale, and we need you on it."
"No doubt. It's a done deal," Jadakiss said. "And I heard it first."
Since Carey's album is still in progress, it hasn't been determined which, if any, of Carey's pairings will make the final cut, her label rep noted.