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Album Review: Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show

3 min read

American recording artist Jazmine Sullivan is a beauty with attitude and one hell of a voice, her debut single Need U Bad demonstrated influences derived from reggae and soul music, and featured vocals from Missy Elliot who also produced the single, plus additional vocals from Salt-n-Pepa’s Sandy Denton; you know there’s a big talent on the cards when the big guns are called in to make their track a memorable milestone. Sullivan wrote every song on her debut album Fearless, which zoomed right up to the top on the Billboard Top RnB/Hip-Hop Albums and hit number six on the Billboard 200; her sophomore effort Love Me Back enjoyed similar production success with Elliot returning to the studio, amongst others including Ne-Yo and Salaam Remi. Now Jazmine is back with her third effort Reality Show, after a three year hiatus, and she had already had the critics raving with its debut single Dumb which was released in May last year.

Jazmine Sullivan - Reality ShowLead single Dumb kicks off Jazmine’s Reality Show, it’s almost theatrical with its wall of voices carrying the RnB fuelled track, naturally Sullivan nails it with that booming soulful voice; Meek Mill warranted a longer rap segment, he was gone before we could embrace his accompaniment. Mascara is a dragged out ballad about how the protagonist can’t leave the house without make up on, purely because she won’t be able to go on holiday if she “don’t keep her body tight” and because she likes making all the other girls jealous of her beautiful life. Brand New is a just decipherable shout out to all the chicks whose ‘n****s’ get famous from their rap mix tapes, once the money starts coming in they neglect their long term relationships; it’s ok Jaz, you’ve got a career of your own. What’s lyrically intriguing about Silver Lining is that it begins optimistic, the protagonist is looking up to a more positive outcome in life, but soon desperation hits and they are out doing what they have to do to pay the bills and support their family; Jazmine successfully captures the moment with her emotive vocals.

#HoodLove has an enjoyable and memorable soulful vibe, if you got rid of the hash tag the title would look a little more legit, and hearing the same profanities being repeated again and again is exhausting; there’s a better ballad with Let It Burn, we hear a more heartfelt tone to Sullivan’s vocal and the overall sound is captivating. What’s clever about Veins is that the intoxicating addiction to heroine has been metaphorically represented as a toxic love for somebody, this is the most gripping track on the album with its ambience and deep meaning; the soul/RnB fused Forever Don’t Last depicts the inevitable end of a three year relationship. Stupid Girl relays a powerful message to the women out there who subject themselves to the manipulative and derogatory notions of malevolent men, Jazmine’s voice really brings this one home; and whoever Stanley is, he’s lost a good thing because he showed no appreciation whatsoever and didn’t take his b***h out to dinner. Jazmine identifies herself as a work of art with Masterpiece (Mona Lisa), she acknowledges that despite her flaws she can still embrace perfection; inspiration flows through the veins of If You Dare as Sullivan attempts to get you to embrace life and live it right.

Jazmine Sullivan’s latest instalment is what it is, a Reality Show. Sullivan, whether she has based the songs on herself or not, she has written these lyrics so carefully to depict what goes on in peoples’ lives day in and day out; her emotive voice and enticing beats keep you hooked whilst you are reminded that there are people out there with real problems. Overall the production of Reality Show is mint, with the return of Salaam Remi among others and notably Key Wane; the sound stays refreshingly true to Sullivan’s RnB/Soul roots, so fans can expect another decent release from the singer.