Big Sean’s witty style and low key singing, complimented with Jhené Aiko’s soothing melodic tones and swagger, shed light on the present-day robotic relationships in a Hip-Hop/R&B album called TWENTY88– a self-proclaimed name given to the two when collaborating with one another.
Story: Nico Blitz // @nicoakablitz
Images: Flaunt Magazine
Released on April 1, 2016 the duo’s combined talent– previously showcased from Sean’s albums in songs “I’m Gonna Be”, “Beware”, and most recently “I Know”– exhibits how versatility and entertaining use of punch lines can bridge the gap between reality and commercial music that surrounds topics of a relationship gone bad.
When reading the track list, and before listening to any of the songs, TWENTY88 hints the stages of a typical relationship going through familiar feelings – portrayed in the first track, “Deja Vu”– and ending in historical disaster – portrayed in “World Ablaze”-sounding “London Bridge”. To further amplify this album’s quality, the duo features Detail, and the “All My Life” singers K-Ci & Jojo.
TWENTY 88 Track List:
- Deja Vu
- On the Way
- Push It
- 2 Minute Warning
- Talk Show
- Memories Faded
- London Bridge
The two infused their individual styles into one; Sean’s catchy punch line flow rubbed off on Jhené’s soulful tones and heartfelt lyrics, and vice versa. Expect to hear Finally Famous Big Sean mixed with Souled Out Jhené Aiko, along with majestic synthesizers, reverbing snares, soft kicks, and multi-rhythmic hi-hats.
According to TWENTY88, Jhené Aiko and Big Sean are both robot fantasy geeks, and had that common denominator in mind when creating their self-titled album.
“It’s a 70’s aesthetic, but we’re in the future. We’ve created another world. Both me and Sean are super into fantasy-driven movies and so combining stuff like robots and sex, that pretty much sums it up.” – Jhené Aiko
Keeping this in mind, we live in a time where relationships are becoming more casual and less committed. Sex is commercialized and is popularizing amongst millennial youth. By the time the youth reach their 20s, they’ll probably feel these robotic-like symptoms of a relationship – the routine and predictable stages that they’ve encountered in the past.
This album shed light on the unfortunate robotic day and age of relationships, and was definitely a wake up call for all musicians to sentimentally step their game up.
“Music now doesn’t really cater to the feelings of a real relationship. It’s all about trapping and bragging. I feel like this project is something that’s needed right now. Especially a whole project, is just good for people to see.” – Jhené Aiko
I’ll have to agree with Jhené on this one. Musicians, particularly rap and R&B artists, need to cater to an audience by emotion – that endangered aspect of life that commercialized Hip-Hop artists strive to stay away from.
TWENTY88 tackles on real world situations of love and heartbreaks, and it’s just about time that two of Hip-Hop’s most influential artists came together to spread a sentimental message.
The album is currently available for streaming on TIDAL.