When it comes to the current state of rhythm & blues, the two names most people mention are Beyoncé and Rihanna. Both of whom I love, but there are a lot of other Black women out there making great music. One in particular is Jazmine Sullivan.
I first heard Sullivan’s music when I saw the music video for her debut single “Need U Bad” on BET (back when they actually played music videos). She immediately captivated me with her voice. Early on, many compared her to Lauryn Hill, which I can see.
Her debut album Fearless, released in 2008, earned her several Grammy nominations in 2009, including Best New Artist. She lost to an artist that I would compare her to — Adele. They have very similar voices and command the stage with their voices alone. Fearless is a great album featuring one of my favorite songs by Sullivan, “Lions, Tigers, and Bears.” It’s a ballad about not being afraid of anything except for love, which I’m sure that a lot of people can relate to. A fan favorite from this album is the track “In Love With Another Man.” The title is self explanatory. It’s beautifully sung and shows Sullivan’s voice at it’s best.
Sullivan released her second studio album Love Me Back in 2010. The second single from this album “10 Seconds,” is one of the best tracks on this album in my opinion. Another standout track is “Excuse Me.” This album was also really good. She received one GRAMMY nomination for the first single from this album called “Holding You Down” (Goin’ In Circles).
Sullivan took a 5 year break from music before releasing her third studio album Reality Show in 2015. She said that during her hiatus she suffered through a bad relationship that inspired this album. I really enjoyed this album. One of my favorite tracks from it is the second single “Forever Don’t Last.” This song touches on the bad relationship and how she tried to make it work, but it didn’t happen. It’s a great ballad that really showcases Sullivan’s vocal range.
Another track that I love from this album is called “Let It Burn.” This song is pure R&B and it’s so good. It samples the R&B group After 7’s signature hit, “Ready or Not.” Sullivan received two GRAMMY nominations, one for Best R&B Song for Let it Burn, and another for Best R&B Album. I felt that she deserved to win both awards. On this album, Sullivan experimented with different sounds including disco on “Stanley” and “If You Dare,” which had crossover appeal.
All of this is to say that I feel that Jazmine Sullivan is one of the best R&B singers of this generation, and she doesn’t get nearly half the credit that she deserves. I hope this post will introduce an incredibly talented artist to a new audience.
What R&B or hip-hop artist do you love that is underrated? Let us know in the comments below!
Presenting R&B All-Star Jazmine SullivanDownload her music from Freegal
Kayla works at Squirrel Hill as a Clerk, so when you come up to the customer services desk you might see her face! When she’s not at the library she enjoys reading, watching TV & listening to music. You might also find her at your local Starbucks, because she loves her Frappuccinos.