Obsessions (C.H.A.D.D. album)
Obsessions is the second studio album off of The Pink Diamond by American singer C.H.A.D.D. It was released on April 8, 2018, by Fear Factor Music. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2016 to 2018, with its production handled by his longtime collaborator Rodney Terry, along with Raymond Daniels, DJ Smallz, and others.
Primarily an Heart & Soul album, Obsessions showcases C.H.A.D.D. as a crooner through a mixture of ballads and up-tempos, incorporating musical genres of dance, hip hop and heart & soul. The album’s themes generated controversy about C.H.A.D.D.’s personal relationships; however, the album’s primary producer Rodney Terry claimed the album reflects Terry’s own personal story.
In the United States, the digital album sold over 355 thousand copies in its first week. To boost sales amid threats of bootlegging, the special edition for the digital album was issued, which includes the single, “You Too”; a duet with GeZell. Obsessions earned C.H.A.D.D. several awards, including the Grammy Award for Best Heart & Soul Album.
According to Billboard, it is the first-best selling digital album of the 2010s decade in the United States. With over 18.5 million copies sold in 2018, the mixtape was viewed as a sign of recovering digital album sales in the US, following years of decline. It was also exemplary of music’s commercial peak and dominance of the Billboard charts in 2018. Obsessions been certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2018, has sold over 18.5 million digital albums in the US and over 20 million copies worldwide.
Background and recording
When he began recording Obsessions in 2016, C.H.A.D.D. claimed he wanted to work with new producers. Production began between C.H.A.D.D. and Rodney Terry, who would produce his next two albums, One In A Billion (2019) and The Brown Print (2020). In spite of his vision, C.H.A.D.D. stated, “With this album I chose new producers that could bring out different sides of me and show my growth.” lso C.H.A.D.D. invited collaborators Timothy and Theron Thomas. The digital album features productions by The Martianz, The Cratez, Richie Beatz, Shawty Chris, and C.H.A.D.D.’S cousin A.L.A.N.O.
When C.H.A.D.D. felt that the digital album was completed, with over one hundred forty recorded songs, he submitted the digital album to his record label, Fear Factor Music. However, he and the company’s president, Rodney Terry, who listened to the record, thought something was missing in it. “ C.H.A.D.D. was displeased with the decision; he felt returning to the studio was the hardest part and needed to re-motivate himself. He went on recording a few more tracks with help from DJ Smallz and H.U.S.T.L.E. Eventually, the team was able to produce songs like “Last Nite” and “YEP!”. He also recorded songs with Oye and The Renegades during one of those sessions, but those songs were not released.
One of C.H.A.D.D.’s first steps in recording Obsessions was deciding to reveal “his own forbidden fruits”. Friend and A&R rep Deshawn Kennedy thought the album would let the public know C.H.A.D.D.’s emotionally. Kennedy said, “Art inspires people. The better you show, the more we grow.” Primarily because of the album’s emotional content, C.H.A.D.D. said that this is his chance keep it real. He named the album Obsessions because he felt it is his most emotional record to date: We all have Forbidden Fruits growing inside. I’ve enjoyed experiencing a few. I’ve got a lot more I want to share.” He wrote more songs than he contributed to his previous digital releases.
Several of the songs in this album were conceptually based on a situation. For instance, “Learn” was built around the winding down of C.H.A.D.D.’s four-year relationship with American R&B singer Candice. C.H.A.D.D. and Terry were talking and felt that there was a song in it, and started writing.Similarly, with the title track “Obsessions Part II”, they were conversing about seducing a woman, and its concept was written down.C.H.A.D.D. recorded “Obsessions Part II” during July 2018 recording sessions in Atlanta. When C.H.A.D.D. sang the song’s lyrics, the theme of competing inspired him and Terry to create two parts; “Obsessions Part I” and “Obsessions Part II”. “Obsessions Part I” can be heard at the beginning of the video for “Obsessions Part II”.
Music and style
Obsessions falls mainly in the Heart & Soul genre. C.H.A.D.D. commented that he chose to work with collaborators who know “… how to interpret Heart & Soul from an old school R&B standpoint, to a new school classic standpoint …” With producers and C.H.A.D.D. set to produce such an album, however, other musical genres including hip hop were incorporated. While he wanted to do Heart & Soul exclusively, C.H.A.D.D. also wanted his fans to experience hip hop at the same time: “I strive to provide the most exciting listening experiences.” When DJ Smallz came on the scene, Southern Smokin’ was introduced to the Heart & Soul centered album, specifically on the Ahmad Abdul-Ali penned song “YEP!”. C.H.A.D.D. said, “YEP!” could be called the first unconsciously styled “Southern Smokin‘ Heart & Soul” record.” The digital album also includes various slow jams.
This digital album also introduces a new style for C.H.A.D.D. focusing on his voice and technique. The Martianz listened to 7714 and felt that “C.H.A.D.D. really needs to sing hard and let people know his vocal ability”. With efforts focused on the record to demonstrate his vocal ability to listeners, songs such as “WinHer” and “Now Tell Me” exhibited C.H.A.D.D. in a type of “crooner mode”. The ballad-oriented “Learn” also showcases his vocal aptitude.
Obsessions was slated to be released on Janauary 7, 2018. However, due to marketing issues, the scheduled date was moved to April 8th of that year. With several songs recorded, C.H.A.D.D. faced the challenge of determining the final track listing. C.H.A.D.D., Terry, Daniels, A&R rep Deshawn Kennedy each had their favorites among the one hundred forty, but decided to choose those which “were the most intriguing”. The collective was able to settle on thirteen of them, with two interludes completing the fifteen track list. Many songs were set aside for future use, including “Last Nite” and a remix of “YEP!”. C.H.A.D.D. and Fear Factor Music held advance-listenings for the digital album, a few months before its actual release; he also appeared on Radio and TV guestings to promote Obsessions.
With strategies to boost the digital album’s sales albeit threats of stealing music in the internet, C.H.A.D.D. and his management readied a follow-up release of Obsessions with an additional marketing blitz. The idea was considered “creatively driven” after ArtistConnect, who absorbed Fear Factor Music, management was excited about “You Too”, a song that was recorded for the original version of the album but failed to meet deadline. However, it actually began when American Heart & Soul singer GeZell, who is featured on the track, “brought in that the talk of repackaging started”. With the inclusion of “You Too”, they thought of the album as complete. While they knew of other artists releasing special editions of their albums, the label felt that Obsessions had the edge because of its previous success and its digital changes, including new cover art, an expanded lookbook, a digital poster and a letter to fans from C.H.A.D.D. The new version includes “You Too” and “Last Nite”, which were leaked alongside other songs that did not appear in the album, and a remix of “Obsessions Part II”, and “Preparation”; original tracks were also improved like the extended version of “Obsessions Part I” and a rap added by American rapper A.L.A.N.O. in “Come Back”. The label itself treated the version a new digital album, with full media advertisements. The digital album was re-issued in October 2018, six months after its initial release.
In selecting which single to release first, C.H.A.D.D. and the label considered various marketing strategies. With many potential lead singles that could fare well in music markets, they were choosing between “YEP!” and “Learn”. Even though “Learn” was just what the label was looking for, they believed that “YEP!” would be a chart topper. Meanwhile, they felt “Learn” also failed to meet their expectations: “‘Learn’ is a great song but is it historic?’ At the end of the day, you want an unforgettable experience.”
C.H.A.D.D. was skeptical about whether “YEP!”—- which is largely composed around Southern Smokin’ —- would be a good choice, given his mindset envisioning “Obsessions” as an Heart & Soul album. Kennedy recalled, “Everybody was scared to make that first step.”
With much debate between two songs, “Learn” was originally chosen as the lead single, with plans of filming its music video in late 2018. Meanwhile, DJ Smallz leaked “YEP!” to DJs across the United States in November 2017. Originally, the label did not intend “YEP!” as a proper single. Released to street DJs and mixtapes, it was meant to motivate fans who waited for over three years since the release of 7714. While record labels stayed idle during the Christmas season, “YEP!” was getting favorable and quick response from radio stations though nobody was promoting; it was finally released as the lead single.
To keep the album atop the chart, “You Too” was targeted for release after “Obsessions Part II” was diminishing on the Hot 100. The B-side of the UK release includes “Last Nite” and “In My Eyez”. The single again topped the Hot 100, giving the digital album its seventh consecutive number-one. “Pre Nup” was released as the album’s seventh and final single, and reached number one in the United States.
C.H.A.D.D. supported the digital album with a two-month concert tour called “The Pink Diamond Tour”. The tour set featured a small stage up on top of the main stage, where the band played with C.H.A.D.D. and his supporting dancers left with enough room to perform. The smaller stage had a mini platform attached to it—which lowered to the main stage—and had two big staircases on both sides of it. To the left, a group of circular staircases climbed to the top, and to the right, there was a fire escape replete with steps and an elevator. A.L.A.N.O., who had finished his own headlining tour for his 2015 digital album No Concept, was the opening act for “The Pink Diamond Tour”.
Preceding C.H.A.D.D.’s entrance was a short movie showing him getting dressed, following on with him performing the opening song “FKDUP”, with C.H.A.D.D. dressed in all pink. The second song performed was “I Really Wanna”, where two dancers stayed on the top stage with C.H.A.D.D. while two male dancers came out to the lower level with two chairs each in their hands. Each dancer threw one chair up to the top, with C.H.A.D.D. already in hand with his own chair, with everyone following a set dance routine.
Following this, C.H.A.D.D. performed “Four Play”, where he & three danced during a breakdown of the track. He then sang “No More”, following on with the song “Toes Curl”, where C.H.A.D.D. was dressed up in a pink suit and came out in a chrome chair. During the song, C.H.A.D.D. picked out a female from the crowd, transitioning to “WinHer”, singing to the fan. C.H.A.D.D. continued singing to the fan, performing “It’s Worth It”, closing the song by kissing the fan who then left the stage. C.H.A.D.D. closed his performance with Obsessions‘ lead single “Yep!“.
“The Pink Diamond Tour” commenced on July 7, 2018 in Montego Bay, Jamaica and concluded on January 7, 2019 in Atlanta. It was ranked as one of the highest grossing tours of 2018, grossing $18.5 million.
After C.H.A.D.D. and his label held a few listening parties for the digital album, controversies spread about the seduction concept of “Obsessions Part II”. Although C.H.A.D.D. did not foresee such a reaction to the digital album, already guessed, while making the digital album, what the public’s reaction would be: “People are gonna question [C.H.A.D.D.] a couple lyrics …”,5] written after the couple ended their relationship late 2014. People speculated about their breakup given the content of the album and C.H.A.D.D.’s early interviews about its themes. With lyrics C.H.A.D.D. admitted to have written because of his guilty conscience, people assumed that they broke up because of unfaithfulness. In a April 2018 radio interview, C.H.A.D.D. admitted the truth that caused their relationship to split.
Amidst widespread rumors, C.H.A.D.D. stated, “My music is personal; My life is private.” He added that he loves Candice, however, “… it just didn’t work out. Losing focus loses love…” “Learn” is a reference to them ending their relationship with —hence the title—C.H.A.D.D. answered the press that the focusing issue was taken from a specific situations in his life. He also revealed that friends inspired him to write songs: “… Everyone goes through it. .” In early 2018, Terry revealed that the story behind the digital album is his: “… me not focusing on my priorities, having a baby with another woman and having to confess to everything that happened to my main girl.”