Drake continues to prove his OVO team are masters of talent scouting. Signing to the now-elite record label almost three years ago, R&B/Pop duo Majid Jordan have shown their worth by combining moody synths, deep bass, and animated instrumentation with vivid vocals and melodies. As previously demonstrated on their two prior EPs, Afterhours and A Place Like This, Majid Jordan have found a way to add a nostalgic glimmer to a fresh, new, unmatched sound. To make things even more impressive, every single track on this self-titled debut has Majid Jordan in the production credits. Along with fellow OVO member PARTYNEXTDOOR, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky and others, it seems as though self-production is becoming the new wave. And with the likes of self-produced legends such as Kanye West, Mobb Deep, and Eminem, this generation’s modernized blend of Rap, R&B & Pop production is sounding extremely promising.
No one sounds quite like Majid Jordan, though. That was the main reason why I was so excited for this album release. And, boy, did these guys come through with something special. The album’s opener “Learn from Each Other” leaked late last year but that doesn’t keep it from being as infectious as ever. It just never gets old (to me, at least). One concern I had going in was the fact that half of the 12 tracks on this album were released beforehand. However, once heard in the totality of the album, each song becomes that much better. I’ve always loved the melody of the lead single “My Love” which features label head Drake, the lone guest vocalist that appears. Musically, it may be the least ambitious of the 12, but a crossover hit is needed to lure in fans of all ages and tastes. And once you press play, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. This album’s appeal is ubiquitous.
There is nothing vulgar or overly suggestive lyrically on this debut. Tender but far from corny, Majid Jordan loose a sensitive masculinity seldom exhibited without sexual saturation. These songs make you want to grab the one you love and go dancing. In the R&B and Pop genres only a few lyrical topics are generally accepted. Traditionally, fans don’t want to hear R&B singers talk about anything other than love, infatuation, or sexual intimacy. That can be immensely limiting to an artist/group’s creative process. But, once again, Majid Jordan shatter the norm due to the unique atmosphere their music holds. The only other act I could say reminds me of them would be a Chromeo with more swag. Majid Jordan give off an 80’s dance-Pop vibe with contemporary, fluid vocals laid over top. This is most evident on “Shake Shake Shake”.
Majid Jordan‘s greatest triumph is how comfortably each song transitions into the next. Besides themselves, the album’s production is handled by frequent The Weeknd engineer Illangelo, Grammy-nominated and back-to-back ASCAP Award-winning producer Nineteen85, Drake’s right-hand man Noah “40” Shebib, acclaimed hip-hop producer Vinylz, and even a quick appearance from London’s Electronic guru Jamie xx. Surprisingly, only one song wasn’t written by Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman (arguably the album’s best song, “Make It Work”). All 12 tracks have a signature and cohesive feel to them rarely heard on a rookie offering. The entire album flows within itself with seemingly minimal effort but exudes near-maximal musical craftsmanship.
Although this album may not be a perfect one, it is one of the more enjoyable projects I’ve heard to date. There are a handful of shaky vocal performances scattered throughout the tracklist. And some of the choruses here and there aren’t as powerful as they could be. Despite that, Majid Jordan made the exact type of album they wanted to create. Sure, there is only one true hit record on this debut. But, honestly, all we should ask for is great music, and that is precisely what this duo has given us: 12 tastefully constructed R&B/Pop fusion tracks. These two have a real chance to flip contemporary R&B on its head; and I am honored to be along for the ride.