01. Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show
They say that art imitates life and sassy soul siren, Jazmine Sullivan emulates this well on her third studio album, Reality Show. The 27-year-old Philly native’s first release in five years, is an unscripted showcase of what really happens when growth, love, and self-respect are earned, not given. Arguably the singer’s best album to date, it’s an epic symphony of gritty hip-hop soul, fervent blues, and boisterous rhythms. Jazmine’s energy is palpable on each track as she sings, trills, and chants mature melodies. She’s still a down ass, ride or die chick but, this time around, she not busting out windows; she’s busting egos. She’s proclaiming her worth and letting it be known that she is a rare gem that requires specific care and reverence.
Featuring production from Anthony Bell, Saalam Remi, and Key Wane, Reality Show is a triumphant return for Jazmine, after her self-induced three-year-old hiatus. She must’ve sensed that we needed her bad because she’s back with raw power. The only thing unreal about her return is her humility about rejoining the industry, as she says, “I’m grateful that people are still checking for me.” Although she’s still relatively a newcomer, Jazmine’s husky vocals have cast a rapturous spell that won’t easily be broken.
Reality Show is a bodacious bevy of anthems, including the clever and militant first single, “Dumb” on which Jazmine let’s her bae know that his game has gone lame. On the confident and sultry “Mascara,” Jazmine sings about society’s shameless obsession with beauty. She tells haters, “Girl, don’t be mad ’cause while you’re cooking dinner for your broke n**** You could be in the gym working on your figure like me.” Jazmine’s versatility shines as she lures you in with seductive grooves, and then turns you out with hype jams like the disco infused, “Stanley” where she rants about feeling unappreciated and commands him to “Take a B**** to dinner.” Jazmine is irresistibly vulnerable on the After 7, “Ready or Not” sampled, “Let It Burn” which awakens that mature R&B nostalgia. Despite her lost loves, Jazmine puts on her big girl panties in the bluesy “Forever Don’t Last.” And she empowers females everywhere with songs like, “Stupid Girl,” “Masterpiece,” and “If You Dare.” Ms. Sullivan is a complex creature, full of contradictions that she is unafraid to reveal for reality’s sake.
Jazmine Sullivan’s Reality Show has earned Grammy nominations for ‘Best Traditional R&B Performance,’ ‘Best R&B Song,’ and ‘Best R&B Album’ and it is ThisisRnB’s choice for Best R&B Album of 2015. – Raquelle Harris