So hey, Jazmine Sullivan is back after something of a hiatus – we can only assume that she was temporarily locked away for busting all those windows (criminal damage is no laughing matter, people). But bloody hell, who’d have that a few years off the scene could yield something so fresh?
In a sense, it’s comments like these that Sullivan anticipates on Reality Show. Positioning herself rather powerfully as writer, director, and star, Sullivan knows we’re on the outside looking in. And she doesn’t flinch for a single second – that killer rasp is out in full force on the militaristic opener Dumb, which is spine-tingling in its heft.
And it’s reality that stays front and centre of this record, as Sullivan slyly opines on Mascara that “my tits get me trips to places I can’t even pronounce,” with the trade-off of remaining a trophy girl. Or the delightfully cutting Brand New, which slices down the success of the self-serving “nigga with the rap dream” and still has time to get the sass on fleek. If Jhene‘s playing scorned (badly) and Tinashe‘s going for sultry, Sullivan is a bold feminist voice addressing everyday truth.
As always with Sullivan, her album is dripped in soul – Silver Lining‘s throwback doesn’t feel a million miles from Jill Scott, and Let It Burn channels vintage R&B with Motown panache. It all makes for a surprisingly robust, sonically tight record – someone better call the Real Housewives, because we think we just found our new favourite Reality Show.