Cassie is eyeing a September release for her sophomore Bad Boy album, and label head Sean "Diddy" Combs tells Billboard fans are in for a surprise.

Cassie is eyeing a September release for her sophomore Bad Boy album, and label head Sean "Diddy" Combs tells Billboard fans are in for a surprise.

"That's going to really, really catch people off guard," he says. "There's a huge [cry] out there for a younger Britney Spears, a younger Janet Jackson. Those two great artists have paved the way. She has a single out called 'Official Girl' and Danja produced it, and it is a smash.

Cassie released her self-titled debut in 2006, which went on to sell 321,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan. Single "Me & U" peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 3 on the Hot 100. It has also sold more than 1 million digital downloads.

Diddy says Cassie has grown significantly since the debut; at one point during the promo cycle for the album, the pair used viral video to apologize for her poor performance on a radio show.

"I just don't think she was ready," Diddy says. "I think that we threw her into the spotlight without the artist development -- that goes on with a lot of new artists. We pulled out, we took our time, we developed her for like, a year-and-a-half. People are just going to see her there and be like, 'Wow, she's really cocooned into a butterfly.'"

Although the track list isn't finalized, Cassie told Billboard earlier this year she'd worked with mentor Ryan Leslie, Seven, Mario Winans, Bryan Michael Cox, Eric Hudson, Sean C and LV on the project.


Additional reporting by Bill Werde.

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