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Def Soul

Musiq Soulchild's 'Juslisen' And The Art Of Writing About Love

To mark the album's 15th anniversary, we revisit each track to follow Soulchild's musical journey in the language of love.

You can't just listen to Juslisen on a partly sunny day. The skies have to be as clear as Lupita Nyongo's skin and the sun has to show out in all its splendor like Saturday's NYC weather (May 6). The grooves of a hip-swaying bass to the endless melodic discoveries of a stage piano deserve to be listened to on that perfect day. However, in addition to the instrumentals stand the lyrics of unabashed love and passion.

To mark the 15th anniversary of that chart-topping soundscape, we revisit each track to follow Soulchild's musical journey through the language of love. So gather around and get in harmony below.

"Newness"
Soulchild begins his journey to the land where lovers lay by getting over those awkward phone conversations. Via his cellular device, he gets to know his potential lifelong partner through a set of questions from "what's your sign" to occupation to meeting the parents one day. "Everything is cool when love is all brand new/ 'Cause you're learning me and I'm learning you," he sings.

"Caughtup" feat. AAries
The utilization of a woman's voice plays a central role throughout this soundscape. AAries serves as that vocal figure on "Caughtup" where Soulchild seemingly rekindles an old flame that he plans to pursue once the formalities are out the way.

"Stoplayin"
The moment when you try to figure out the difference between "talking" and "dating" rears its head on this thumping track. Soulchild is ready to become exclusive, but he can't tell if his other half is on the same wavelength. This melody could've been the precursor to 2007's "B.U.D.D.Y." with all of the "maybes" that are littered throughout the track.

"Religious"
The Philly native pledges allegiance to his girl's love kingdom with the fervor of a church choir. From the knock of the church organ to the rattling of a tambourine, Soulchild stands before the congregation to testify on a love so profound that he had to shout hallelujah. With a clever double entendre, he belts out, "I wanna thank your father/ For making you on that day."

"Babygirl"
With croons that are reminiscent of Aaliyah, it's fitting that this song is titled "Babygirl." By the time we reach track No. 6, Musiq is ready to share his fountain of love that seems to overflow when he stares at his lover—so much so that it pushes him to the brink of insanity as heard down below.

"Halfcrazy"
The question of can you sleep with your friend and not catch feelings is explored on the replay-worthy "Halfcrazy." Soulchild caught feelings for a longtime confidant once they "crossed the line." Now, it looks like those days of just chilling and joking are far behind them.

"Time"
This melody follows the quintessential template of rhythm and blues: regret, love lost and a production that pulls at the heartstrings just as forceful as the lyrics. Soulchild reminisces on a past relationship and although it didn't work out, he doesn't regret the mistakes he made because it "enhanced" his character.

"Future"
The self-confidence continues on "Future." If you need a pick-me-up, hit play on this track and allow Soulchild to be your life coach in fulfilling those goals that are within your reach.

"Intermission: Juslisen"
This doesn't serve as a bathroom break in the middle of the 19-track project. The dance party is just getting started as Soulchild doesn't allow a former acquaintance to kill his vibe.

"Realove"
Soulchild puts on his specs and lab coat to diagnose an unidentified woman with the reasons why love seems to be a figment of her imagination. While he's laying out the causes, he's also showcasing why he's the antidote to her love drought.

"Onenight"
Channeling his inner Marvin Gaye, the time for intimacy is on Soulchild's mind, but his partner's mixed signals make it hard for him to decipher if he should set the mood or wait for the right moment. He chooses the latter and saves his future lover from having to admit that she's not ready to go to fourth base. "We can take our time girl/Lets get it right," he sings. "Make it last forever/Not just for one night."

"Previouscats"
The urge to compare your current beau to the beaus of the past can be an unavoidable ordeal. Penned by fellow R&B crooner Eric Roberson, Soulchild calls out the trust issues that have made a bed in his home and reassures his lover that he's not a carbon copy of the exes that preceded him. "See now I'm not to blame for the pain/ That was caused by previous cats/ Who had your heart before me." We see you for you too, Souldchild.

"Solong"
While out clearing his mind, Soulchild is approached by a woman who seeks to guide him to the world of temptation, but there's much at stake that could get tarnished if he gives in to his burning desires. He's strictly a one-woman-man as we wipe the sweat off our brow for what could've been a head-shaking moment.

"Bestfriend" feat. Carol Riddick
Welp, those sweat beads have returned. The lovers drift apart over meaningless arguments and tuning out each other's feelings. Carol Riddick's runs and advice serve as a source of therapy for Soulchild who returns to the drawing board to save his relationship.

"Dontchange"
This tune probably remains on the extensive list of first-dance wedding songs. One of music's most heartfelt melodies tells the tale of "through thick or thin" and the fact that as long as love's foundation remains firm, any dark day can easily turn into sunny skies.

"Motherfather"
Taking pride in the type of man that he is today, Soulchild recorded an ode to his parents where he reminisced on their life lessons and unwavering support. Let this tune serve as inspiration to call your parents right now, folks.

"Something"
There's an unknown quality about Soulchild's lover that he can't quite put a finger on. Is it her smile? Is it her style? Either way, it looks like Soulchild is here to stay while the guessing game plays on.

"Ifiwouldaknew (Girlnextdoor Remix)" feat. AAries
To close the album on a high note, Soulchild sampled DeBarge's "Stay With Me" (also used by Biggie Smalls and Ashanti) to admit his attraction to a childhood friend many years later. Time to shoot your shot? Soulchild thinks so.

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CLRD Entertainment

Audio Push's Price Is Spitting For Everyone Black

For over a decade, California rap duo Audio Push gave hip-hop’s newer generation consistent flames via four studio albums and a bevy of colorful mixtapes. In 2020, the fire outside of the music industry burns brighter and angrier. Larry Jacks pka Price—one half of Audio Push—is fully aware of the racial and political inferno ablaze nationwide. Although the 29-year-old is coming off a hit single for the fourth season of Insecure (on Issa Rae’s new label) and is a collaboration go-to for artists like Travis Scott and Ty Dolla $ign, Price felt his next mission in music was to speak on and for his people. That ode to Brown and Black people around the world comes in the form of his latest album CLRD, a short ride of modern fresh production and lyrics which celebrate the Black experience. While the album is a homage, it is also set in a classroom to serve as edu-tainment. The eight-track player dons feature production from Boi 1da and song titles like “Tuskegee” and “Mufasa,” intended to inspire pride and awareness for today and yesterday’s ebony narrative.

On the eve of the release for CLRD’s second single, “Maya,” VIBE raps with Price on his stellar solo composition, signing with a Black woman-owned record label, and how making money outside of music allows him to speak to white people however he pleases.

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So much has and still is transpiring for Blacks in America. Was there anything specific that inspired CLRD?

People aren’t going to believe me but I had this project done at the beginning of quarantine—like February-March before we were marching and the enemies were sticking knees on our necks. I just wanted to show the beauty of being Black. It’s a greatness that never gets showcased. We always just talk about the struggle, but I wanted to show something different. Things that aren’t making The Shade Room.

Why exactly did you title your second single “Maya”?

I produced the beat and, for some reason, while I’m playing the loop, Maya Angelou’s [poem] “Caged Bird” kept replaying in my head. For no reason at all. It wasn’t even a melody. Just the essence of what she was saying. It’s one of my favorite songs on the project.

I figured it was inspired by Maya’s poem, but I love that you didn’t make a direct reference.

Yeah, like I got a son that’s nine-years-old, baby brothers, nephews who don’t know who Maya is. They know about Mufasa because of Lion King, but they don’t know the spiritual essence of Mufasa and Lion King. To me it’s just finding ways to talk to the youth. I want to spark that in them. Now they know about Maya Angelou and wanna research her.

Why did you feel the statements made on CLRD needed to be conveyed as a solo artist instead of with Audio Push?

Fire ass question. I felt that the statement needed to be made solo because even though the Audio Push catalog has plenty of pro-black music, me and Oktane, we share different seats on our road to life. My dad gang banged. He was in jail since I was five years old. I watched my family sell dope. My family was a part of the Jim Jones massacre. I was gang banging all my life and selling dope at 16. I just survived a different struggle. [As Audio Push] we had to fuse our stories for so many years and make it one. But I have a completely different story from my brother.

How was it like landing the lead single on last season’s Insecure soundtrack?

It was amazing to be a part of Issa Rae’s vision. She’s done many soundtracks, but she’s never done one on her own label. Just being a part of that camp was dope. I knew Pink Sweats before he was even Pink Sweats. We had a session before, so when we worked this time it just felt like it was overdue. I was in there going from room to room trying to get on everything. I was a part of a lot of songs—like six—but luckily [“Cadillac Drive”] was the single. We did the record in like 15 minutes because Pink Sweats is fast! I couldn’t even help with the writing process. I wanted to write some of his parts, but he’s so fast and so fire he was just running through it. I just had to have a verse ready.

You’ve worked with not just superstars, but exceptional talents. Travis Scott is one that most wouldn’t normally associate you with…

I’ve worked with Travis from the beginning! Before he even had braids and shit. I worked with him on Pusha T’s “Blocka;” I co-wrote a lot of songs on his first and second album. I co-wrote “Antidote.” Yeah, that’s my dog.

You’ve also worked with Ty Dolla $ign. How do you add on to someone with that much writing and production talent?

I’m solo so I gotta pop my sh*t (Laughs). We been fucking with Ty before Ty was Ty. That’s my ni**a, for real. We was pulling up on Ty’s shows at the Key Club when there was twenty people in the crowd. Then he was coming to our shows when like 600 people showed up. He was on “Sweat” with us, a lot of records. I’ve been in this music sh*t since I was 13-years-old. I’m just finally coming into my own where I can walk into these rooms and talk to these white people how I want.

How did the partnership with Madeline Nelson’s Heads Music label come into fruition?

There ain’t an interview or press run that could compare to [my publicist, Jennifer Williams] plugging my relationship with Madeline Nelson. Jennifer really loves us and our music so she was just sharing the music, putting me in position to meet dope people. Sadly, I had never before heard of Madeline Nelson. So I did my research. I’m like, “This is a Back woman who started her own company? That’s bossed the f**k up!” I’m a big fan of Dame Dash and one time he said if you can surround yourself around women, especially if you’re a Black man who’s a boss. First call with Madeline, she’s like I’ve been listening to this album all day. She’s shouting out lines and providing an energy that let me know she was really rocking. She provided a deal and partnership that I would’ve been a fool to turn down. And I’ve had dope offers. I’ve also had major offers that were shitty. I’ve been signed to majors twice. I’ll never do it again. Ever.

You’re seriously never signing with another major?

I don’t ever see myself signing to a major label again. What I would do is one off partnerships where I own all my masters. So I’m gonna run it up with Heads Music until I create my own distribution company. This is why I’ve created companies outside of music. There’s a real luxury to not having to wait on music checks. I don’t have to talk to labels. I can create my own flow and run at my on pace. Ten million [dollars] won’t even be enough. I’m not even doing what Master P did. He still got in bed with Priority. I ain’t playing none of those games. Talk to me nice.

You mentioned owning businesses outside of music. Most rappers don’t own food trucks and BBQ restaurants. How did you get into the culinary business?

Carrie’s ended up falling in my lap from my family. My mom and my step pops wanted to get into it. I had the bread to invest. It kind of fell into my lap. My mother and my step pops got a divorce and was like f**k the restaurant. I’m like, “What? Business is cracking. We making $1000 a day. We not giving this sh*t up!” I was blessed to have an aunt that was an incredible chef. She’s damn near the smartest person in my family. Put her in position, we partnered and ran it up. Sticking it out with my restaurant taught me the most about business. I didn’t care about selling food. Honestly, I don’t care about selling barbecue like that. If we’re being 100% transparent, I don’t eat pork. But we gonna cook it right. We’re gonna cook it right and pure. So instead of going to Johnny Ray’s, come to Carrie’s and buy Black.

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DJ Cassidy

DJ Cassidy Returns With More Legends Of R&B In His 'Pass The Mic Vol. 3' Series

DJ Cassidy is back with the third installment of his live performance series "Pass The Mic" of 80's and 90's Hip-Hop and R&B's legends doing a virtual house party concert. The mix is amazing to witness as it is seamless in flow, as over 40 hit-making stars like, SWV, After 7, TLC, Keith Sweat Full Force and so many more perform their biggest tracks from the comfort of their homes.

With this being number three in the series (where the first volume showcased the 70s/80s, and the second featured damn near every Hip-Hop icon from the golden era of 88-92), this version mainly salutes the New Jack Swing era of the early 90s. Cassidy keeps the party moving by the perfect song selection, while the likes of Father MC, Christopher Williams and En Vogue sang their hearts out.

Having these icons in his digital mix gave way to Cassidy thinking on the times when he saw some of his participants on the covers of our magazine. Read his thoughts below and check the amazing show he and these incredible talents put on for the people of the world!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thank you @keithsweat @kcihailey @officialswv @therealcokoswv @tajgeorge @therealleleeswv @shaniceonline @stevenrussellhartss @chuckiibooker @after7music @therealkevonedmonds7 @hakimabdulsamad @envoguemusic @cindyherronbraggs @terryellis @officialmissrnb @iamdireed @aquilaphil @therealmangelo1 @kirkland_ek @free_dadreamer @bigbubtoday @fullforceworld @thebowlegged1 @therealpaulanthony @beeisbad @geeniusmusic @therealfathermc @officialchristopherwilliams @realjohnnygill22 @officialbellbivdevoe @mrrickybell @617mikebiv @bigrondevoe kingbobbybrown @therealralphtresvant @teddyriley1 @boyziimen @wanyamorris1 @shawnstockmanofficial and @nathanmorrisphd. You are all my heroes 👑🎙👑.

A post shared by DJ Cassidy (@djcassidy) on Oct 13, 2020 at 9:45pm PDT

JODECI "COME AND TALK TO ME"

VIBE AUG. 1995 ISSUE

"Written and produced By Devante Swing and Al B. Sure, 'Come And Talk To Me' defined the beginning of a new era of R&B that went to be referred to by many as Hip Hop Soul, and Jodeci was at the forefront of that movement. There’s a reason Jodeci graced the cover of Vibe. They were a cultural shift. The EPMD interpolation, the voices, the sound, the style. With Andre Harrell and Puff Daddy behind the scenes, this song changed the game."

 TLC "BABY BABY BABY"

VIBE NOV. 1994 ISSUE

"Everyone has those few songs that they always put on when cruising in the car on a sunny day. 'Baby, Baby, Baby,' is one of those songs for me. It’s instant sunshine, it’s instant breeze, it’s instant smiles. Everytime I hear it, I picture myself in the music video which I remember watching as a child, enamored by the scene, wanting to deejay a vibe like that when I grew up. The feeling this song gave me then is the same feeling it gives me today. LA and Babyface’s production defines the phrase 'feel good.' Chilli’s adlibs are as memorable as T-Boz’s hook. TLC has a long list of iconic records, yet this one holds a special place in my heart."

EN VOGUE "HOLD ON"

VIBE APRIL 1994 ISSUE

"The Motown 'Who’s Lovin’ You' acapella intro, the James Brown 'The Payback' sample, the bassline, the harmonies...This song might be one of the coolest records ever made. The track itself can go head to head with the greatest Hip Hop instrumentals of all time. Mix that with the most flawless harmonic voices, this song will always be in a category of its own. 

BOBBY BROWN "MY PREROGATIVE"

VIBE OCT. 1996 ISSUE

"Bobby Brown’s 'Don’t Be Cruel' is one the greatest R&B albums ever made and, with 'Thriller,' is one of my two favorite R&B albums of the decade. It’s sold over twelve million copies. 'My Prerogative' is the definitive Bobby Brown anthem, in many ways, similar to what 'Billie Jean' is to Michael Jackson. It’s so cool, it’s so mean, it’s funky. Produced by Teddy Riley, it’s also one the definitive songs of this era in which the energy of Hip Hop transformed R&B. Thirty-two years later, this song remains a dance floor monster, instantly explosive on dance floors around the world, no matter where I am, no matter who’s in front of me. 'My Prerogative' transcends New Jack Swing, it transcends R&B, it transcends genre. It's one of the greatest Pop records ever made."

NEW EDITION "IF IT ISN’T LOVE" 

VIBE NOV. 1996 ISSUE

Three years from now, New Edition’s debut single 'Candy Girl' will have been released forty years ago. They are simply the greatest R&B group of the past four decades. Their cultural influence - from music to dance to style - is immeasurable. Not only does the group itself have countless hits, but each of the group’s six members are stars in their own right. Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, and Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie Devoe of Bell Biv Devoe have all released undisputed smashes, and each does something special on Pass The Mic: VolumeThree. With this edition (pun intended) of Pass The Mic, I focussed on the game changing R&B of roughly 1987 to 1992, a time period in which there is no more iconic New Edition record than 'If It Isn’t Love,' produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Everyone knows the choreography (and its influence - check Beyonce’s 'Love On Top') and watching people on dance floors around the world break into it the second they hear it is a beautiful thing. Even Puffy, Usher, Jay Z, and Beyonce all had circles around them when I dropped it at Puffy’s 50th birthday last December."

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Premiere: Jucee Froot's "T.H.U.G." Places The Mirror In Front of America

In a time of social unrest within America, a multitude of rap artists has stepped up to the plate with music that channels the pain, frustration, and despair of minorities while chastising the powers that be. Memphis rapper Jucee Froot, the creator of the theme to the Starz hit TV show, P-Valley, is the latest artist to address these pressing matters with the visual to her latest release, "T.H.U.G.," inspired by the ongoing police brutality and racially-charged incidents dividing the country.

Shot in Atlanta, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orson Swells-directed video captures her holding court from a podium on the community's frontlines in between black-and-white clips of local riots. The song, inspired by the late Tupac Shakur's acronym for ‘The Hate U Give,’ captures the grim reality that comes with being a person of color in America. Contemplating "[if] you can't call police on police, who gon' save us," Jucee Froot—who felt compelled to address the elephant in the room as a mother of young black men herself—puts forth a powerful statement in "T.H.U.G." that doubles as a sign of the times and a testament to the range of her artistry.

And with a follow-up to her last full-length release, Black Sheep, on the way, "T.H.U.G." could be the calm before the storm as the Atlantic Records signee looks ready to take the next step in her evolution.

Join us for a live Q&A with Jucee Froot tomorrow, October 14 at 9 pm ET on VIBE's official Instagram page.

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