Jhene Aiko is doing “it” right now on the music front, and is making quite a name for herself in the process as the “it” girl to know about. The soulful songstress just released her sophomore album, Souled Out, on September 9th and we couldn’t wait to see one of her shows to see firsthand what folks have been buzzing about. We were witness to her performance last night in front of a sold out crowd at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, and what did we discover? That we’re officially “souled” on Jhene Aiko. Here’s five reasons why:
1. She’s Got That Good “Ah Ah Ah”
A signature sound – every great soul singer worth their salt in song has one. Luther Vandross had his guttural groan, James Brown hollered like no other, young legend in the making Luke James wins over the ladies every time with his oh-so-sexy “whew.” And Jhene’s melodic and ephereal “ah-ah-ah” effortly transports those who hear it to another space and time. She knows just when to throw it into a track for good measure and great effect on songs like “The Worst” off of her 2013 release Sail Out.
2. She Breaks It Down
Arguably, Jhene has the best “break-it-down-to-your-man” lyrics since maybe the “Queen of Soul” herself , Aretha Franklin. Jhene’s now-infamous lyrics “I don’t need you but I want you” has become the “check yourself before you wreck yourself” anthem for gals all around the world going through a moment with their guys, and is right on par with Aretha’s all-empowering “You better think about what you’re trying to do to me” manifesto. That’s right fellas, you got served!
3. She Loves the Lah
Jhene’s admitted in interviews to smoking that “good good” up to twice a week, she’s written a song or two about it, and last night during her Barclays performance she even joked about its scent in the audience air. With her public admission and adoration of the cannabis, Jhene joins the ranks of Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion and Rihanna as high-profile and successful musicians who mess with the marijuana. For more proof, or just a great musical buzz, check out her song “The Vapors.”
4. She’s Got That Fly Flow
Jhene’s recorded singles with the likes of rappers Childish Gambino, Drake, Kanye West and Big Sean, but this little lady’s got some impressive rap game of her very own. Her single “Stay Ready” features Jhene spitting a verse penned specially for her by Kendrick Lamar, and this verse was one of the highlights of her show last night. She spit it, and the crowd spit it right back at her (figuratively of course).
5. She’s Just Heavenly
Folks are still flubbing and faltering over the correct pronunciation of this ‘lil mama’s name, pronounced “Juh-nay Ahh-ee-ko” (we’re still practicing it) but don’t spend so much time on the name that you lose focus on where the lady who holds it is headed — to heights unknown and musical places as yet unexplored.