With his song "I'm a Hustler" invading radio stations and mixtapes nationwide, Cassidy has plenty of reasons to boast. The track marks the return of Full Surface Records' flagship MC, and while the song is a departure from his previous female-friendly singles like "Hotel" and "Get No Better," Cassidy says it shows just one more part of his personality.
"I've always done the hardcore stuff, but when I came out with 'Hotel' (see "Cassidy Says R. Kelly Was Unplanned Guest In His 'Hotel' ") and 'Get No Better,' I gained a new audience," Cassidy said of the single's success. "I accomplished a lot with the first album, so my label feels more confident in me now. That's why you see the song taking off like it is."
Cassidy even gets some help from Jay-Z on the Swizz Beatz-produced "I'm a Hustler," but not in the way that some might think. The single's hook features a sample of Hov's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder."
"I had heard the beat before we included Jay," Cassidy explained. "Me and Swizz just started adding and subtracting stuff. Then I heard these words that attracted me: 'I'm a hustler/ N---a, ask about me.' It's not like we had the idea going in, we just went in and cranked it out."
The success of the track, which was first released as a promotional single via Swizz's Full Surface imprint, has also led Cassidy to start thinking about a possible video. "We were just putting it out for the streets, but the streets loved the song so much that we have to give them a visual to go with it."
"I'm a Hustler" has even prompted Cassidy to fast-track the recording of his new album, Personality Change. Due this spring, the LP marks a new turn in the young MC's career.
"I'm going in a new direction on this album," said Cassidy. "It's harder and more street, but still commercial. I'm still trying to please the pop crowd, but I wanted to get a little more lyrical with them on this album.
"I showed you three of my personalities on the last album," he said of last year's Split Personality. "This time, I'm a whole new man, hence Personality Change. I look different, I sound different and I want my fans to grow with me."
Given the current climate of the game, Cassidy believes his return will fill a void in hip-hop.
"It's a little gap in the game right now," he said. "Cats that are supposed to be #1 are releasing garbage, so there's room for a new cat to come hold down that position. I hope to do that with this album. There are no more introductions, no more rumors about what I can and can't do — it is what it is. Cats are going to have a lot of trouble with this record."