Jhené Aiko 'Souled Out' | Album Review

Souled Out is Jhenè Aiko's debut studio album which follows on from her acclaimed EP, Sail Out which dropped last year. Aiko has been working on the album since signing to NoID's ARTium label in 2012. Her dreamy angelic voice captivated me on the Sail Out EP and I could not wait to get on this. It made me fall back in love with R&B.

Like most albums the first listen left me unsure, partly because I didn’t know what to expect, and I had hyped myself up so much. I expected the album to have as many features or more as her previous work however its the total opposite. With only two features, Aiko shows the audience that her product is not that of anyone else and as I listened more I begin to understand the purpose and concept of Souled Out. Aiko states in an interview back in 2007..

“Shortly before I conceived my daughter, I stepped back into the field and took a meeting with a label head. In this meeting, I was innocently told, to "sell" myself when walking into these meetings. That’s when I decided I would "sail" myself rather than sell myself."

You can tell from the off set that Aiko set off to do things her own way and this idea of spiritual preservation and resistance against the industry norm resonates through out her work. The album has a dreamy, mellow, roll something up kinda vibe, incorporating psychedelic, R&B and Hip-Hop elements of electronica. Aiko’s lyrics revolve around relationships, life lessons, philosophies and truths. My favourite joints include Limbo Limbo LimboTo Love & Die ft. Cocaine 80s, The PressurePretty Bird (Freestyle) ft. Common and Promises (a track dedicated to her daughter NAMIKO who features on the track with late brother Miyagi. In conclusion, Souled Out is a solid debut, you need this in your life. A definite must listen. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. Jhené Aiko has definitely got more to offer and this is only the beginning. 

The Pressure

To Love & Die ft. Cocaine 80s



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