Vocals/Flow – 5
Lyrics – 5
Production – 5
Jhene Aiko has been a heavy hitter on the R&B and Hip-Hop charts for something over a half a decade now. Though she has many successful single and feature credits as well as memorable mixtape moments under her belt, her latest release, Trip is only her 2nd major record label release on producer No I.D.’s record label ARTium. Released with little prior promotion on Septempter 22, 2017,Trip boasts an extensive length of 22 tracks and was released with a 23-minute autobiographical film of the same title released on Sept 21st which was co-directed by Aiko herself. Jhene has been busy with her grinding, but is still keeping it smooth as electric velvet with her vocals. Don’t buckle your seatbelt this is the kind of trip you want to be relaxed for.
An R&B romantic at heart Jhene Aiko was sure to pack some feel good love songs for us with the Big Sean assisted “Moments” and “OLLA (Only Lovers Left Alive)” and Trip’s lead single “While We’re Young”. Aiko, who could sound pleasant speaking, let alone singing, a phonebook also takes care to take us to the darker side of emotion with the loneliness on “Nobody” and quandaries of emptiness and the necessity of sadness on “Oblivion”. “Oblivion” also features spiritual wisdom brought to us by Dr. Chill a mellow speaking soothsayer, but is just one of the theatrical transitions of the album as the LP is structured to tell an experience of doing LSD or some other drug and the highs and lows of such an experience. “Psilocybin (Love In Full Effect)” closes with more of Dr. Chill speaking with smooth jazz saxophone accompaniment over a gentle tribal groove and is even something of Jhene’s moment of calming you down as if you were the one experiencing the panic moment from the “Bad Trip (interlude)”. The freestyle tracks on the album have their own vibes, but are somewhat ambience to lull us between the solid songwriting on later songs like the mother daughter duet “Sing To Me”, which features Jhene’s daughter Namiko Love, the peace binding chantra-mantra “Frequency”, and the tender “Ascension” which features the 90s R&B legend Brandy. “Ascension” falls in line as a hymn to the universe that you could imagine being chanted by your local hippy chick, but Jhene and Brandy’s vocals compliment each other well to create harmonic synergy reminiscent to 90s R&B girl groups. A passing of the R&B torch moment? Someone make a toast.
Jhene Aiko is a lit little maniac woman. She goes wild for a while, but she’s always been her to give a good time. Issa-vibe with Jhene and we are always a little happier hearing her voice on hip-hop club bangers and the like, but she always brings her own brand of sonic relaxation. She’s known that we’ve need a vacation since her collaboration on Big Sean’s previous album and forTrip she digs deep to take us far. If you aint got your ticket then you really are tripping. Get with the program and evolve.