Available on: Self-released mixtape
On 2012’s Winter’s Diary, Tink established herself as a talent to watch: a voice equally adept at both R&B (‘Can I’, ‘Bonnie’) and rap (‘Bad Girl’). A steady stream of mixtapes has followed, but perhaps none with the songwriting chops demonstrated on her first effort. Thankfully, Winter’s Diary 2 follows its precedent in mood, style, and quality.
Amid the usual sex jams (‘Freak Like Me’, ‘Dirty Slang’) are tales of Tink looking for (and sometimes finding) love that extends past the bedroom. Standout ‘Treat Me Like Somebody’ carries a simple message of empowerment, achingly shared by someone who seems too young to be this world-weary, already “trying to find love in a world so cold.” “I want young girls to really have that in their heads—that they need to be treated like somebody,” she told Rookie. “Like, honestly, we’re queens, so why wouldn’t we want to be treated like that?” Tink returns to that well, with memorable results, on ‘Count On You’, asking “would you dive to the bottom of the ocean… Will you be a fool for your lady?” over a hazy beat reminiscent of Drake mainman Noah “40” Shebib.
It’s not all yearning, though. On ‘Your Secrets’, Tink raps about a relationship where she is treated like somebody. Over a pitch-perfect sample of Alicia Keys’ ‘Diary’, Tink lays it out: “he know my flaws and he know my past / But it never matters ‘cause he still with me.” However, she does acknowledge that not everything is respectful, reciprocating, judgement-free love. She’s fired up on ‘Talking About’, trading verses with Lil Herb (who plays the role of absent/cheating lover) and shading with true-to-life detail (“I need you to not leave the crib when I’m asleep”).
Sonically, Tink does a lot with a little; most songs are built upon little more than finger-snaps, acoustic guitar trills, and gossamer music box melodies, although there are splashes of trance synth and Auto-Tune for good measure. Songs like ‘Time’ and ‘2 and 2’ have the type of nearly-timeless R&B beats that would be at home at any point over the last two decades, and while the songwriting is strong throughout, ‘When It Rains’ is a clinic on arrangement: Tink’s vocals are layered like sheets of rain, whether she’s going double-time or cooing for effect.
Still only 18-years-old, Tink is as impressive as ever on Winter’s Diary 2, her most confident and self-assured offering yet. The 15 songs may differ in tone, but there’s a common thread: Tink demands respect as a singer, a rapper, an artist, and a woman.