Yesterday, the legendary, Mariah Carey dropped her fifthteen studio album, Caution. And although we’ve gotten new singles here and there, this is the first album in the last four years. Mariah, or what her die heart fans, like myself like to call her, Mimi, is showing us why she is one of the best selling artists of all time, and why no one can ever take her place in music. The new album, Caution, is giving us classic Mariah vibes with the classic riffs, harmonies, ballads, and hip hop collaborations, while still remaining current. Almost 30 years in the music game, and she still hasn’t lost her touch.
One thing I always admired about Mimi is, she stays true to her sound, and never tries to fit in or emulate what’s “hot” at the moment, but she still somehow makes the music current. Caution is a perfect example of her doing just that. From songs like “With You,” that could have easily been on her album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, because it sounds very similar to the song, “Angels Cry,” which is one of my favorites off that album. We all live for a Mariah ballad, where we get to hear those iconic riffs and whistle registers she does at the end of her songs. But the best part of “With You,” is that it’s produced by DJ Mustard. The producer is known for his uptempo, West Coast sounding beats, and we usually always hear his famous line at the beginning of his produced tracks, “Mustard on the beat hoe.” This beat is the complete opposite of what we are used to hearing from him. If you didn’t read the credits, you would never guess that that song was produced by him, but that just goes to show you how legendary Mariah is. She got one of the hottest producers out right now, to switch up his style and produce a song that fits hers.
She also worked with the veteran producers like Timbaland and No I.D. One of my favorite tracks on the album, “8th Grade,” which Timbaland produced. Mariah tweeted where the idea behind the name of the title came from, “ Track 8, 8TH GRADE, The title reflects on the melancholic feeling I used to have as a kid.” And we get to hear Timbaland’s classic ab-limbs, under Mariah’s vocals, which gives me old school vibes. And other one my favorites is the self-titled track, “Caution,” which is produced by No I.D. Mariah makes it her duty to work with classic hip hop producers for all of her albums, from Timbo, to Pharrell, to her longtime friend, Jermaine Dupri.
Another example on how she kept it classic Mimi, is with the hip hop features. If you’re a fan of Mariah, or just R&B music in general, then you know Mariah is the best at fusing R&B and raw hip-hop together. Remember back in the 90s when little sweet Mariah, joined forces with Wu-Tang Clan member, Ol’ Dirty Bastard for the “Fantasy” remix. That was the first time we saw Mariah have a hip hop collaboration, but it wouldn’t be the last. For the Butterfly album, she put West Coast group, Bone-Thugs N Harmony on a ballad track, and even emulated their fast flow in her chorus, which by the way, is my all time favorite song, EVER. From collaborating with The Lox on the “Honey” remix, to working with Nas, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Cam’ron, Da Brat, Missy, even newer hip hop artists like Meek Mill, Wale, and YG. Mariah is known for her collabs with the dopest hip hop artists. Well, this album was no different, she worked with new upcoming hip hop artist, Gunna, for the song, “Stay Long Love You,” and even hip hop’s pioneer, Slick Rick on “Giving Me Life.” And even worked with hip hop’s favorite hook person, Ty Dolla $ign on another favorite of mine on the album, “The Distance.” It’s always dope when a legendary artist collabs with new artists. When asked about why she chose to work with Gunna and Ty Dolla $ign in a recent interview, Mariah simply stated she was a fan of their music, and she always keeps her ears to the streets and on what’s happening currently in music.
Not only is “The Distance” ft. Ty Dolla $igns one of my favorite songs sonically, but it’s one my favorites lyrically. When I listen to the lyrics I can’t help to think she’s talking about her current relationship with her backup dancer, Bryan Tanaka. In the song she sings, “Ain’t nobody stopping us, what we have is dangerous. Left their opinions in the dust, said can’t nobody fuck with us,” and the chorus reads, “Said we couldn’t go the distance, (yeah.) Look at us, we’re going the distance. They just wanna be us, they don’t wanna see us going the distance (Yeah.) For laughs, for laughs.” Her and on and off again boyfriend, Bryan, two years relationship is always in the press, and a lot of people have said that their relationship wouldn’t last, due to the age range and financial differences. I feel like in this song, Mariah is talking to the haters who have spoke negatively on her relationship, and is gloating about proving them wrong.
Another one of my favorites on the album is, “A No No,” where Mariah samples Lil Kim’s most notable track, “Crush On You.” It’s dope to hear Mariah on that classic sample, and Notorious B.I.G ‘s voice in the background. It’s one of the few upbeat tracks on the album. My other favorites as I stated before is “Caution” and “8th Grade,” and “One Mo’ Gen.” On “One Mo’ Gen,” Mimi is talking very sensual and sexy, which is a change from her love songs. My least favorite song is “Portrait.” Don’t get my wrong, it’s a beautiful song, it just doesn’t grab my attention like the rest. But I can say it does reminds me of 90s Mariah, but those super slow songs from Mariah have never been my favorite.
Even besides the music, the album cover art and promo pictures, Mariah is taking us back and giving us Emancipation of Mimi vibes. She has pictures with a big pink shaped letter M light, which she had in the “Shake You Off” video.
Overall, I give this album a ⅘. It’s not my favorite Mariah album, but it’s a really solid album, that you can listen to without skipping any tracks. I can definitely see myself bumping this album in the next 5 years and beyond, like I do with her previous albums.