[Written By // @shanglennon]
Although Jacquees has been consistently releasing music for the past five years with several mixtapes and two EP’s to date, his name hasn’t been as prevalent as other young, talented singers who have surfaced within that same time. With MOOD, his most recent drop, we’re given a further developed and experienced artist who can undoubtedly compete in today’s heavily saturated R&B market. The young tenor resonates with fans of a traditional R&B sound with his melodic composition and his sexually blatant lyrics are something that most R&B fans can appreciate. With fewer features than on previous projects and a clearer arrangement, we really get to hear Jacquees’ talent stand on its own.
If Boyz II Men were the love-making, emotional group of their era and Jodeci were The Bad Boys of R&B, Jacquees is the offspring with a sound directly derived from the two. While you could argue that all male R&B singers are shaped from those groups, most lean toward one or the other; Jacquees’ tender voice juxtaposed with his aggressive lyrics embody the perfect blend. His first two mixtapes – Round of Applause and Fan Affiliated – showed off his impressive vocals, and though the tracks were R&B adjacent, they felt a bit superficial insomuch as they weren’t as lyrically clever as they needed to be. Quemix and Quemix 2, as their names suggest, were composed of remixes of popular songs, so while catchy (and sometimes better than the originals if we’re being honest), they weren’t purely Jacquees projects. With MOOD, we get a more polished effort while being treated to an incredibly talented artist on the rise to his creative peak.
This first label release under Cash Money is purposely made for the bedroom. The tape opens with “New Wave”, a short intro that frames the project’s intended course, and the subtle shout to SWV can easily hook listeners. It’s ironic that new wave, at least musically, is commonly referenced when creating something fresh or replacing the existing state of a genre with a new sound or technique and while he is bringing back a sound that has recently been lacking, it isn’t new by any means. The 16-track mixtape allows fans of R&B to hear the full spectrum of that specific sound. With songs like “Pandora” and “Know You”, we get the softer, more sensual values of the genre while the overtly sexual themes can be heard on tracks like “Hot Girl” and “Bounce”, among others.
You can hear the knowledge Jacquees has of the genre throughout the project with well placed samples that reinforce his commitment to R&B. “Come Thru” (originally released on 19) has not only been remixed to feature Rich Homie Quan, but has an added Cameo “Candy” sample that takes it to the next level. He pays homage to Adina Howard with “T-shirt & Panties” while a verse from Avant’s “Read Your Mind” can be heard on “B.E.D.” (this also being the song in which he dubs himself the “2015 Wanya”). The few features he does have add to the already solid tracklist. Dej Loaf lends her unique vocals to “Set If Off“, Kevin Gates and Young Scooter add their aggressive tones to the sensual ‘9” and Birdman himself assists on not one, but two tracks; “Ready” and “On It”. Kirko Bangz also make an appearance on MOOD. If you couldn’t tell, the majority of the project is defined by baby-making songs, for lack of a non-PG term. The growth from his 2014 EP 19 (which was made up of songs more geared towards romance as opposed to sex) can perhaps be attributed to him no longer being a teenager, and you can hear that confidence in his lyrics. “Set It Off”, “9”, “B.E.D.”, and “T-shirt & Panties” all eliciting feelings of bliss that can only come from another person. It’s a delicate line to tread, but Jacquees navigates being too raunchy and too sensitive with relative ease. There hasn’t been a project solely dedicated to that specific activity in some time and it’s exciting to get an extensive piece of work that not only satisfies those feelings, but is supremely well done.
R&B has changed – there’s no debating that – but change isn’t always indicative of something bad. That being said, it’s refreshing to hear singing exclusively, with the exception of some features, versus this rap/sing mix that’s permeated mainstream as of late. You’re allowed to appreciate more than one way of creating music and while a lot of singers have the notion that they should be rapping as well, there’s a place for it all. You can’t disregard one lane of R&B while claiming to be a fan of the genre as a whole.
There’s no question that the content Jacquees has put out is on par with other artists of the same ability. It’s unclear why some of those artists appear to get lucky with their ascent to success with one hit, no visual content, and no clear plan of how to sustain that success while others can consistently release well done (and much needed) music without much fanfare. I suppose it’s just trial and error until you break through and with the state of R&B as is, MOOD will deservedly propel Jacquees into that conversation.
- “Hot Girl”
- “On It”
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