Remember that girl who sang that big woman-scorned anthem, “Bust Your Windows”? She was sultry, soulful and super pissed. That song, which topped the Billboard charts and won a Grammy nomination, was fire. And that girl was Jazmine Sullivan. The revenge-fantasy song was featured on her Grammy-nominated debut album, Fearless. She followed it up with one of my faves, “Lions, Tigers & Bears,” and another chart-topper, “Holding You Down (Goin’ In Circles)” from her album, Love Me Back. The Missy Elliot-assisted gem was a straight 90’s hip-hop throwback (with actual scratching!) that also earned a Grammy nom. Jazmine was seriously on fire.
Then after all that success… radio silence. Jazmine Sullivan has been on hiatus and off the record for about three years now, claiming she needed to figure out who she was. In January, 2011 she tweeted, “I promised myself when it wasn’t fun anymore I wouldn’t do it.”
Well, I guess it got fun again, because she’s back with her third album, Reality Show. Unable to escape her “calling,” she told Billboard, “I’ve got to the point where I can say, ‘This is me. Take it or leave it.'”
We’ll take it. R&B certainly misses that distinctive husky voice. The result of about two years in the studio, Reality Show has 11-12 songs and is the first of Jazmine’s albums that does not feature Missy Elliot in the producer chair. Instead, Key Wane (Beyoncé’s “Yonce”/ “Partition”), and frequent collaborator Salaam Remi (“Bust Your Windows” and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black ), take the reins, among others.
The first official single from the record is “Dumb (feat. Meek Mill),” which was released in May. “Dumb” is another big woman-scorned anthem. Strong marching-band drums and the chanting of “Dumb, Dumb, Dumb” feels like an ominous haunt over the cheater. Jazmine’s voice is as layered and husky as ever. Great comeback to form.
“Dumb” – Jazmine Sullivan
But having experienced the full gamut of a relationship, Reality Show will not only showcase the “angry songs” for which Jazmine Sullivan is known. “The most personal song is called, ‘Forever,’ she admits. “I’m basically crying on that song… I feel like I came to a point in my relationship where [I needed] to let go and move on. I just had to do it.”
The song “Forever Don’t Last” opens with Jazmine crooning over a guitar, “I had high hopes for us baby / Like I was on dope baby…” The aching in her voice reminds me of Ms. Lauryn Hillon The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill mixed with a little Fantasia. She even sings a lyric-less break down (a la Stevie Wonder) which is all the more powerful because sometimes in love, there are just no words.The refrain “I guess forever doesn’t last too long these days,” is a clever ode to total heartbreak.
“Forever Don’t Last”- Jazmine Sullivan
It’s unclear when Jazmine’s new album will officially drop, but from the sound of things so far, we hope it will be sometime soon this year.