Jazmine Sullivan hits the ground running in her fourth studio album, Heaux Tales, which embodies, love, sexual liberation, and relationships. This R&B queen stole our hearts in her debut album Fearless, which was released in 2008 but since her 2015 album, Reality Show, Sullivan has kept a low profile in producing music. However she’s been open about her personal life including her weight loss whom she clapped back at critics wanting to body shame her. Nonetheless, in this album Sullivan illustrates both traditional and non-traditional relationships and expectations in them.
Heaux Tales stays true to the name by incorporating different women’s stories about sex, love, relationships and loss. In the intro, “Bodies“, she was telling the girls how we got to get our shit together:
Bitch, get it together, bitch
You don’t know who you went home with, who you went home with again
Was it your friend? Or a friend of a friend? (Was he a?)
Was he a four? Or was he a ten? (I know)
And my mama wouldn’t like it if she knew about (All my)
All my rendezvous’ and all my whereabouts (I keep on)
I keep on pilin’ up bodies on bodies on bodies
Yeah, you gettin’ sloppy, girl
“Antoinette’s Tale,” follows the theme Sullivan speaks in the intro and vocalizes the importance of agency over women’s bodies and taking the same liberties as men but in turn says how women are to blame as well in this conversation.
“Pick Up Your Feelings,” deals with ending a relationship and doing what’s best for yourself and letting go.
Put a lock on the door where my heart once was (Mmm)
Boy, you had your fun
But I had enough
Now I’m really done
I deserve so much more than you gave to me
So now I’m savin’ me
And I made my peace
So you can run them streets
“Ari’s Tale” by neo-soul singer Ari Lennox who is also featured on “On It,” which features a similar theme to” Put It Down,” how good sex makes her want to basically give her man whatever he wants. I liked how this song gave a different dynamic that might be considered an ‘unpopular opinion’ on how women can be in relationships.
I can’t help it, it’s a shame what he do to me (Me)
My girls ask me what it is, I say, “It’s the D” (D)
I start going out my mind when he come around (‘Round)
That’s why he gets all my time ’cause he put it down
My only criticism of the album was the feature by Anderson .Paak but I would have preferred to keep the album with women features since the album is about women and the opportunity could have gone to a woman rapper.
In “Rashida’s Tale” she speaks of being in a lesbian relationship which added more inclusivity to the heterosexual relationships depicted throughout the album. “Rashida’s Tale” is followed by “Lost Ones,” which is the lead single. “Lost Ones” tells of how you know when you lost someone because you messed up which is what Rashida described prior.
You know when you lost one
A good one, 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 get faded, you feel like that’s your only options (Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh)
Besides the intro, “Girl Like Me” featuring H.E.R , has to be my favorite on the album. Jazmine and H.E.R compliment each other so well and their Tiny Desk performance shows how their presence translates together.
You must’ve wanted somethin’ different
Still don’t know what I was missin’
What you asked I would’ve given
It ain’t right how these hoes be winnin’
Why they be winnin’? Yeah (why they be? Why they be?)
No hope for a girl like me, how come they be winnin’? Yeah
(Why they be? Why they be?)
And I ain’t wanna be
But you gon’ make a hoe out of me
Overall, I am completely enamored by Jazmine’s body of work in Heaux Tales. Jazmine truly has not only a beautiful voice but this album shows how well she shows her artistry through storytelling.