The Breakdown | Jazmine Sullivan - Heaux Tales
6 years on from ‘Reality Show’, Jazmine Sullivan gifts us with the outspoken and unapologetic ‘Heaux Tales’. The project is undoubtably long-overdue, and Jazmine did everything but fail to deliver. From start to finish, ‘Heaux Tales’ is an authentic, raw and refreshing account of relationships and sexual encounters from both herself and other females.
“Bitch, get it together bitch”
Jazmine brazenly sets the tone on intro ‘Bodies’ amidst her sweet signature harmonies, giving us immediate insight into what we are about to experience. When I gave the project its first spin, this track was the one that unquestionably let me know what’s up. I said “Oh ok, it’s like THAT”. A small part of me screamed in excitement hoping that she was gonna give us what I thought she was going to…and boy did she deliver.
‘Pick Up Your Feelings, the first full-bodied track on the line-up, encapsulates the soulful and sexy essence of the EP as she chimes in with howling vocals, and unapologetically reminds us just why her auspicious return was necessary.
“My girls ask me what it is, I say it’s the D”
As we move through the project, Jazmine shimmies further into her “Heaux” persona, voicing all of our unspoken desires on ‘Put It Down’. Is she giving us permission to admit what we normally wouldn’t want to? I think she is.
“He live with his Momma but I treat him like a King”
‘On It’, featuring fellow songstress Ari Lennox, is ‘Heaux Tales’’ crowning example of why it is intact the gift that keeps on giving. By this point I was cheering inside and praising God for such a timely and necessary anthem.
“Lil bow-legged hood n*gga with a nine inch, put it in my face”
Ari and Jazmine both wickedly caress the track, emotionally gripping us and taking us on a journey of intense sensuality and spice.
“I’ma take all I can get, that money keeps that pussy wet”
The EP features six interludes between each track; intriguing personal accounts of various women’s sexual experiences and relationships, including one from “Shea butter baby” Ari herself.
“To be honest, money makes me cum. It’s like, I feel like, when I see a man out here hustling and thriving in many different ways...that turns me on more than anything. I’m not dealing with anyone who does not have money”
This touch is something I feel elevates the journey that Jazmine endeavours to take us on as a listener, showing us and telling us stories right from the source; making the message even more bona fide in its entirety.
Despite having an overall cohesive sound, ‘Heaux Tales’ features a cocktail of different flavours; ‘Price Tags’ featuring Anderson .Paak provides a funky yet soulful vibe with an audacious subject matter. Jazmine then continues to illustrate how versatile she is, slowing it down towards the end of the project with heartrending ballad ‘Lost One’; the context of the track oozing with sincere vulnerability.
“You know when you lost one, you go out and fuck different people to cope and ignore all precautions. You drink and you drink and you get faded, you feel like that’s your only options”
This theme of unashamed openness is carried through into ‘The Other Side’ - a soothing pop number, invigorating in its playful and honest expression.
“I’ma move to Atlanta, I’ma find me a rapper. He gon buy me a booty, let me star in the movie”
Jazmine joins forces with fellow femme songbird H.E.R for harmonious closing track ‘Girl Like Me’. Synergistic in it’s composition, the pair prove without doubt that this was a fitting collaboration.
The narrative that struck me repetitively throughout the EP is that this is a body of work that was NEEDED. ‘Heaux Tales’ is a musical hall pass for women no matter their circumstance. It opens up the door to a sense of liberation, to not only embrace but to shout about our sexuality - to celebrate it. Jazmine allows us to poignantly feel the entitlement that many women have withheld for fear of being judged or seen as, quite plainly, a “hoe”. “Heaux” tales flips the script and empowers us to walk in our sexual power - whatever that may look like.
In essence, for any woman that can ascribe and identify with ‘Heaux Tales’ in any way, it’s somewhat a Bible. Bold statement, I know, but Jazmine without question set the levels with this one.
Part 2, please?