Jhene Aiko and the Sailing Soul(s) Crush

Jhene Aiko? So I dismissed any urge to download Aiko’s summer mixtape simply based on the cover (something you learn not to do in school, right?). I thought she looked like a second-class Beyonce or Rhianna, treading R&B waters, just trying to make a name via hipster R&B mixtapes. Can’t fault a girl from trying, especially in a dog-eat-dog world full of producers trying to meddle with various ingénues/wannabe-divas for the end result – just one hit. I must be blind to certain trends at this point, as I can’t identify (besides Drake’s “Marvin’s Room”) where Aiko is lamping over others’ creations/beats. I was introduced with “Snapped,” seen in the amazing Ah-Ha/Akira inspired vid below, which by all accounts is a Jhene Aiko exclusive.

As I was spewing out the virtues of Britney Spears’ recent Columbus show (review/or sort of review forthcoming), a good friend of mine asked how I decide on which parts of the plastic pop universe I choose to adore (since there’s so much). He wasn’t questioning my love for this ilk of sophisto-mainstream pop (he understands the general nostalgia), but just why I chose Britney over another. Or Beyonce over Rhianna (which I do). Or for that matter why Jewel’s “Intuition” is much superior to any other contemporary artist, in her predicament, who attempted to tap into that Top 40 realm down that alley. And for all those questions, I didn’t have an answer. It’s not a guilty pleasure, as there’s no such thing. Femme Fatale, Britney Spears latest masterpiece (yes, masterpiece) is not a guilty listen. It’s one I genuinely enjoy on many levels for its future-forward approach to pop and how it posits the star. Anyone who thinks Britney Spears continues upon a downward slope is definitely not listening to the music. It’s not her creation, fer sure, but the money and ingenuity attached to her persona is enough. I wish these behind-the-scenes wizards took more chances. Then, of course, a legitimate artist (?) like Jhene Aiko, or Sky Ferreira, or Nicki Minaj, would be in the running for this stable of production ohhhs and ahhhs. Instead, I suppose they all fight the good fight, against the Britney’s and the Beyonce’s of in their horizon. I’m sure some of them will prevail. I haven’t yet even tipped the iceberg of Tove Styrke (jeez, just wait). There is assurance, that much like her counter – let’s plug in the wonderful Cassie right now, Jhene Aiko has a bright, but predictably, unpredictable future ahead of her.

It was early morning, this week, playing this loud, that I was assured of Aiko's power.Go Here for the Mixtape.

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