Jhené Aiko’s major label debut is an emo’s jackpot. With a title like Souled Out, there’s a high probability that any (or all) of the songs will have you all in your feelings by first listen. The offering poses the perfect sequel to her 2011 mixtape sailing soul(s), but make no mistake, Jhené is a grown woman and can do whatever she wants. VIBE got an advanced listening of the highly anticipated LP and here’s a handful of songs +1 that deserve your undivided attention once it sets sail on Sept. 9.
Why You Need To Hear It: The opus’ opener (which co-stars Cocaine 80s) heralds the raw vulnerability that defines Souled Out. With lines like “Please don’t take my hand if you don’t plan to take a stand and be a man who understands that I’m no walk in the park,” Track 1 is every female’s thoughts spoken out loud.
"It’s Cool" :
Why You Need To Hear It: The Fauntleroy effect continues as he contributes to this super chill record (no ice bucket challenge). While Jhené confesses her initial intentions (“I’m not gonna even front/At first I was just tryna fu..”), she pulls a Lil’ Kim and goes on-the-record for her crush. Your move now, player.
Why You Need To Hear It: The twinkly track offers up an ocean of emotion as waves crash onto the spacey Dot Da Genius-produced beat. Jhené plays the wading game for someone taking his sweet time and trust, patience never sounded this good.
Why You Need To Hear It:Confession hour: this reporter cried to this… twice. Dedicated to Jhené’s six-year-old daughter, Namiko Love (she sings here!) and late brother, Miyagi (who lost a battle to cancer), the song serves as a vow that things will always be OK, no matter what.
Why You Need To Hear It: In life, shit happens but as Jhené reminds you, “You gotta keep going.” The song’s title is an acronym for Miyagi’s favorite saying, “Why Aren’t You Smiling?” The melody is also a collaborative effort between her frequent producers, The Fisticuffs, alongside Clams Casino and Thundercat. Line that hits closest to home: “You have got to lose your mind just to find your peace of mind.”
"Pretty Bird (Freestyle)"
Why You Need To Hear It:J-Henny, Jhené’s rap alter ego, offers up a short spoken word performance backed by the lyrical genius of labelmate Common (the lone big name feature) and melody helmed by the project’s executive producer, No I.D. Even when feeling empty inside, the Slauson girl still sounds so fly.