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Monday, April 15, 2024

Review: “King of R&B,” Jacquees hones in on traditional rhythm and blues

Is it worth a listen? 

Rhythm and blues artist Jacquees has made headlines recently for claiming he’s the “king” of R&B, sending social media into a frenzy. Although his self-proclaimed title is debatable, Jacquees is well-known for several singles such as “You,” “B.E.D” and his controversial Ella Mai “Trip” remix.

It was through his remixes of other R&B and popular songs that I first heard about Jacquees. I can admit, I really enjoy a few of his songs.

So naturally, when I heard he was releasing his fourth studio album entitled “King of R&B,” I had to give it a listen. The hour-long album was released on Nov. 8. 

With features from big-time artists such as T.I, Tory Lanez, Young Thug, Gunna, Summer Walker, Future, Lil Baby and more, here’s a breakdown of the 18-song tracklist.

The album starts off with “King” featuring T.I, an understandable choice given the name of the album and T.I being known as the “King of the South,” yet it fails to set the tone. It’s a mediocre song, but it isn’t a preview of what is to come.

“Round II,” which follows “King” would have perhaps been a better choice to feature as the first song. It’s along the lines of traditional ‘90s R&B mixed with the more explicit nature of the genre today. Especially for a non-feature song, Jacquees really sets a mood with this one, and it’s a nice blend of what’s on the album.

I had to laugh a little at “EEeee” featuring TK Travis, just because the title alone is characteristically Jacquees. The song itself doesn’t stand out, but it fits with the tone of the album.

“Come Get It” featuring FYB is actually one of my personal favorites. Although it’s typical of a modern-day R&B and Rap crossover, choosing a lesser-known artist like FYB gives the song an unexpected edge.

One theme that stands out from the album as a whole is the quality of Jacquees’ solo songs. Especially since he’s known for remixes and features, his standalone songs really showcase his ability to hold his own as an artist.

“Good Lovin,” “Out of the Ordinary” and “Fact or Fiction” are prime examples of Jacquees standing out on his own and honing into the essence of traditional R&B. The production on these tracks stands out with the simple, yet beautiful, use of electric guitar chords.

“Never Say Goodbye” is also a great slow jam, tipping the lines of the 1990s and early 2000s.

If you’re not looking for that traditional ‘90s feel, Jacquees also has some other more R&B/Rap solo songs throughout the album. “Warning” and “New New” are good go-to’s for that type of sound, especially when it comes to the beats.

Now, as far as big-name features are concerned, it’s a mixed bag. Besides, “You” featuring Lil Baby, which was already a popular single before the album, the rest is mediocre.

“Risk it All” with Tory Lanez and “Hot for Me” featuring Lil Keed and Lil Gotit are my personal favorites. Jacquees’ chorus complements Lil Keed and Lil Gotit’s rap verses. I also enjoyed the Summer Walker feature “Superstar,” but I expected more from the R&B duo.

I would categorize “Verify” with Young Thug and Gunna as an unexpected bop. Not that I didn’t anticipate a great collaboration, but their chemistryis evident. In other words, it’s not your typical copy-and-paste feature.

The Quavo record with Bluff City, on the other hand, was disappointing. In theory, this feature had so much potential, and although I like parts of the song, it somehow ends up missing the mark. At times, I found myself questioning why Quavo was even on the record.

Overall, I would rate this album a seven out of 10, and if I had to sum it up in one word, I’d probably say it’s cool. Jacquees really held his own for a couple of the solo songs, and there are some features I enjoy as well.

The biggest downfall to this album for me is that it’s really something you need to sit and listen to a couple of times. Then again, I’m sure his fans appreciate the body of work, and as with most R&B projects, it’s probably something I’ll end up revisiting. 

Written by: Nahima Shaffer — arts@theaggie.org 

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