Album Review: Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan

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Jazmine Sullivan is a singer and songwriter from Philadelphia. She originally released her debut album, Fearless in 2008 and it had commercial success. After the release of her second album, she officially went on hiatus in 2011 since she said that making music wasn’t fun anymore. However, she was able to come back to the music scene in 2015 with a brand new album. Now, 5 years later, she releases a new project (EP) titled Heaux Tales.

The first track from the album is Bodies (Intro). You are greeted with some sweet synth lines and Jazmine’s vocals. It’s not much instrumentally, but the layers of vocals, especially towards the end adds to the emotion of the track. She opens up the track talking about not drinking so much and questioning what she had in her drink the night before. This track basically is Jazmine telling herself to stop drinking and going out since it leads to bad decisions.

Antoinette’s Tale is the first of many tales from this album. This is also the shortest tale on the album, just a bit over thirty seconds in length. On this spoken word track, Antoinette Henry seems to focus on the topic of sex and talks about how men are wrapped up in their conquests, even though women have the same sexual needs as men. She also ends the track with a powerful message of saying that women’s desires and their pussy is their own.

Pick Up Your Feelings continues with the wavy and changing synth lines. Jazmine’s vocals on this seem so bouncy, but in a catchy way, especially during the chorus. At the beginning of the chorus, she talks about having a new phone, but it more so seems like she actually deleted this person’s number. She is finally putting this person in the past and moving on from all the drama, and the potential heartbreak in the past.

The next tale, Ari’s Tale, features none other than Ari Lennox. While it doesn’t look like she’s featured on the next track, she does return for a later track. This tale is a bit more lively since there are some percussive parts added towards the middle. On this tale, it seems like Ari was about to throw out her entire career for this one guy. She seems a bit embarrassed by this since she said she would be crazy to do this.

Put It Down opens up with Jazmine’s vocals distorted a bit. After letting the beat ride a bit, her vocals finally come in clear, and this track definitely has more hip hop influence than some of the previous tracks we have heard so far. While there isn’t as much emotion thrown into her vocals, I would say this is one of my favorite tracks on the album with the catchy drumkit and the lowkey notes hiding in the back. Just like some of the previous messages, it all comes back to ‘the d’.

Ari Lennox finally returns for the track, On It. It opens up with a quiet acoustic guitar in the background, and then we have Ari and Jazmine singing and switching verses with each other. It does sound kind of corny, and perhaps cringy with the opening line, ‘I want to sit on it.’ I hope I don’t have to go into too much meaning with that line, so I’ll let you go to your first assumption. They basically want their man to tell them why they deserve sex.

Next, we have a tale titled Donna’s Tale that features Donna Anderson. Again, there is some classical type of music playing in the background during this tale, and we also have a variety of other voices mixed in here as well. Again, the tale continues on the topic of sex. On this tale, she talks about how women have sex with their husband’s because they want something out of it. She also says that women trick them so they can get what they want the next day.

We get a surprising and exciting feature from Anderson .Paak on Price Tags. The beat for this track is so hypnotizing and entrancing with the bass and glitzy high notes in the background. Again, this is a track where have Jazmine rapping more than singing. She seems to talk about how as long as her man gets something, she’s willing to have sex. It seems like she just wants to stay with this person for their money since he’s buying her nice things.

We’re on to a new tale titled Rashida’s Tale and it features Rashida Northington. Instead of instrumentals, we do have an inaudible chorus of vocals in the background during the telling of her tale. On this tale, instead of a male being the main focus, she talks about meeting this girl and how they had this connection. They ended up moving in together and getting engaged. However, when they slept with each other one night, it ended up ruining the connection.

Lost One seems to open up slowly with a distorted acoustic guitar. Similar to what we heard at the beginning, we have the emotion poured into this track, especially with some of the topics described on this track. Just in the first verse of the track, she talks about knowing when you lost a good one that was meant to be. To cope with the loss, she talks about going out, sleeping with others, and drinking to numb the pain. She knows there’s nothing she can do to make things better so she tries to reason with that person.

One of the later tales on the album, Precious’ Tale features Precious. It’s one of the shorter tales, but she does throw a lot of her thoughts on here. There are also some light beats playing in the background so it’s not just a straight talking piece. She talks about how she’s attracted to men that have money since she knows what it’s like to be broke. She decided to get money herself, but she won’t settle for someone that won’t work for themselves.

The Other Side is another slow and peaceful piano track. The piano seems to fade out and switch with a bass when she starts her ‘ooh’ section. The beat slowly morphs into something new afterwards with strings and grand chorus sections. On this tale, she talks about how she wants to start a business since that will bring in money. She also talks about living the luxurious life and having all of the expensive things she wants.

The last tale on the album is Amanda’s Tale and it features Amanda Henderson. It’s also another short tale on the album, just over thirty seconds in length. Also, this one doesn’t seem to feature any type of backing beat. On this tale, she talks about how it’s difficult being confident, especially with so many of the other women influencers on Instagram. She has mixed feelings since she knows she said she can find her worth with sex.

The last track on the album is Girl Like Me which also features H.E.R. Like some of the other tracks, it just opens up with an acoustic guitar. We also have some random ad-libs thrown in there while the track is building up in intensity. When H.E.R.’s vocals come in, it compliments Jazmine’s voice so well and it’s a bit disappointing that she doesn’t have a longer verse on here. This track talks about a break up and how this break up has her judging and reflecting on herself. The chorus goes back to focus on how the guy doesn’t know what they’re missing and that there’s no hope for women like Jazmine.

While this is the first time diving into Jazmine’s music, it has blown my expectations away, especially with her amazing vocals. Also, I enjoy the smooth transitions between her rapping and singing voice on several different tracks. She definitely has the potential to make the shift back to music.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Favorite Tracks: Bodies (Intro), Put It Down, Price Tags, Lost One, The Other Side

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