Nine years ago, we were singing about ‘busting the windows’ out of someone’s car or how bad we needed them, post break up to the vibracious R&B and reggae sounds of a memorable smash hit. But what drew us in the most to these records, was the powerful vocalist behind each lyric, Jazmine Sullivan.
Since the start of her aspiration as a singer, the now 30-year-old musician started off with notable credentials, securing a spot on Showtime at the Apollo, just at the age of 11.
Years following her showtime appearance, Sullivan continued to raise the bar toward her dreams. At the age of 13, she sang with Stevie Wonder for his grandson’s birthday and following that milestone received a record deal with Jive Records, but was soon dropped from the label, which also held back her debut album release.
Things seemed to work out for the better, when in 07’ she was grasped under a more promising wing, as she gained another deal with J Records, where hip-hop visionary and pioneer Missy Elliott became her mentor and with the help of Timbaland, began working on Sullivan’s official debut.
With Elliot on the production and writing credits, but Sullivan’s ability to showcase her writing chops as well on her own with the pen game, the singer’s first single, ‘Need U Bad,’ went number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs and ‘Bust Your Windows,’ hit a flourishing peek at number four.
Sullivan’s ‘Fearless’ album was one of the poster children for mixing hip-hop, R&B and soul into a relative story that reached black woman across different platforms and situations. This album for me alone, is still one of my top ten from a debut of any artist of any caliber, for what it meant for women in music and the fact that she co-wrote the entire project at the age of 19.
And the songstress didn’t stop there, winning ‘Billboard Women in Music: Rising Star’ Award in 2010, following her sophomore release of ‘Love Me Back,’ and going on to receive eight Grammy nominations, including one for Best R&B Album for her 2015 critically acclaimed project, ‘Reality Show,’ giving us hits such as ‘Let it Burn” and ‘Brand New,’ to name a few.
Her additional writing credits stretch from some of the most influential R&B woman in the game, such as a lead writer for Mary Blige’s thirteenth studio album ‘Strength of a Woman’,’ Tamia, Monica, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and even lending vocals to Frank Ocean’s 2016 visual album, ‘Endless.’
The emotion and lyrics with Sullivan’s vocal delivery indented her talent and position in music within my mind and others up until this day.
Kontrol are sharing five of the most underrated and skillfully written gems from our unappreciated and incredibly talented fave, Jazmine Sullivan:
This record was one of the smoothest escalations of a song I’ve ever heard. Sullivan meshed with the background instruments perfectly, as the tempo grew more and more stronger, mending into the rage of the song in regards to being over the endless games from a significant other.
You know I ain’t mad for nothing, I call my momma she go to my cousins, and they ain’t never liked you from the beginning, so listen I’m giving you only 10 seconds to go…
And then each ONE, TWO, THREE of a count-up to 10 is followed by an even fierce vocal range from the singer, that she seems to present so well, every time.
Just don’t let me get to 10 oh boy…
‘Lions, Tigers & Bears’
The fourth-single released from ‘Fearless,’ and receiving two Grammy nominations for the song alone, signified the fear of love and the relationship before falling in, being tarnished due to accepting everything two people can be.
I’m not scared of Lions and Tigers and Bears, but I’m scared of, loving you, I’m not scared to perform at a sold-out affair, but I’m scared of loving you. Am I the only one who think it’s an impossible task? Why it don’t last is that too much to ask?
Why do we love, LOVE? When love seems, to hate us?
‘After the Hurricane’
The context of this record is the aftermath of a love gone wrong, trying to mend back the pieces and fix what’s been broken with the strength you have left, within yourself.
‘Cause wind the tears start flowin, and the winds start blowin, that’s how you know its comin for you, when the rain starts fallin and you feel the pain comin, that’s how you know its comin for you
As one of my personal favorite ballads from ‘Fearless,’ this track gave the greenlight for us to know Sullivan too, experienced heartbreak and created an exceptionally hard but beautiful way to express it.
Now my life is shattered, and I’m left to pick up the pieces, and find a new beginning and put it back together again. After the hurricane, the hurricane…
A track for everyone who stuck beside someone who struggled to get where they want to be in life, just to end up being paid dust. This is one of the few songs where we got to see Sullivan’s flow-game as she went through the verses so smoothly, ranting on about her ex-lover who made the switch-up once he hit the glo-up of his greatest goals.
This one’s for all the baby mamas and the down ass chicks remember yall used to take bathroom pics, in the crib, and he said if he ever got rich, we’d be out this bi*ch, believe dat sh…
The soulful-jazz trumpet carried the beginning of the song but Sullivan’s sass and sing-rap meshed together one of the best songs from her ‘Reality Show,’ album.
Well baby f… you and then the new crew you’re rolling with, they don’t know you like I do, I swear when n****s start making money, they start acting funny, it’s no love, when they come up, they be BRAND NEW.
‘In Love With Another Man’
Even if you’re not in the heart-wrenching and completely complicated and screwed-up scenario of falling out of love with someone because your heart yearns for another, the emotion and story alone of this song puts yourself in the same situation as the person singing it. Sullivan’s execution through her dominant voice did just that.
You should go and find someone else, who can treat you right, give you the world, someone who understands the man you are, cuz baby you shine so bright, and I would just dim your star.
Self-guilt inflicted into trying to be a better person due to the decisions you’ve already made is what Sullivan portrayed (I can’t explain why it’s him and not you, but at the end of the day, baby I just don’t want to) and it was the bridge and the vocally controlled rifts after that had me sold, as her flawless runs executed her pain ending off with:
I’m in love with another man and I’m so sorry, heey, but I love someone else…
Those Seventeen Magazine staffers in the video above must’ve just been speechless because during the entire four and a half minutes of her singing, there would’ve been endless proud black girl commentary to the pure talent before us.
For music’s sake a lot of us are rooting for a fourth studio album from the vocally gifted, powerhouse. After the release of her promotional duet with notable R&B artist, Bryson Tiller on the ‘Insecure,’ track, it’s just a matter of time before listeners want another soulful selection from the musically inclined, Ms. Jazmine Sullivan.