Three. Long. Years. That's how long it's been since Jhene Aiko gave us a solo album. She helped bridge the long wait when she dropped 2088 last year alongside Big Sean, but other than that and a few features she's been relatively quiet. That changed last week with the surprise release of her new album. It took Jhene Aiko three years, but now she's ready to take us through her own personal trip.
Fittingly, 'Trip' opens up with 'LSD.' The drug inspired track prepares your mind for the journey we're about to go on. Jhene bares some of the themes on the album; nostalgia, drugs, psychedelics. Lines like "So the other night I/Took a tiny piece of paper and put it under my tongue" and "We did some shrooms and we smoked marijuana/ came all this way to escape all our problems," set the mood of the album, and then the album goes into what I like to call the Big Sean section.
'While We're Young' is the first single off the album and it's a beautiful song. From her voice to the lyrics, to the video, Aiko did this song to perfection. She sings about feeling so strong about somebody that literally she'll follow them wherever they go. Jhene says this song is her ideal love situation, so I'm assuming Big Sean is the inspiration behind it.
Big Sean makes his first appearance on the album on the next track 'Moments.' "These are the moments in time/ That we been waiting our whole lives to find," Jhene begins as she sings a verse about not only enjoying her time with Big Sean but about how much she needs his presence. Big Sean sends his reply on the second verse, "Cus baby in a room full of dancers/ You still are the answer/ These other hoes nothing to focus on." Strong rap verse from the only rapper on the album.
'OLLA(Only Lovers Left Alive)' is a Twenty88 collaboration and highlights Big Sean and Jhene's excellent chemistry. The track is an upbeat one, switching the beat to a faster, groovier one, one that people can dance to. Big Sean adds a verse at the end layered by Jhene voice, adding to the celestial, spacey vibes.
Other standout tracks on 'Trip' are 'Sativa,' 'New Balance,' 'Never Call Me,' 'Sing To Me,' 'Frequency,' 'Ascension,' and 'Trip.'
''Sativa' features Swae Lee and he absolutely rips his feature. He gives Jhene a break from chorus duties on the marijuana strain inspired track, showcasing his ability to dominate a song like he tends to do with his group, Rae Sremmurd. Their chemistry is remarkable, easily the best feature on the album.
'Never Call Me' is my favorite track on the album. Jhene gets nostalgic about her ex-husband and how bad of a relationship it was. "So let's stop pretending like we were in love/ We never shared anything but the drugs/We were both numb, never had anything real between us," Aiko admits and then goes into a beautiful but simple chorus. "You should've called me, why you never call me, why you never call me."
'Sing To Me' features her eight-year-old daughter Namiko and follows the same format as the song 'Promises' from her last album . Her daughter sings a simple chorus, definitely one of the brighter happier moments on the album.
'Frequency' and 'Ascension' show the talents and range of Jhene's voice. "Free my city, free my seed/ bless my situation, show me love" she sings throughout 'Frequency,' but when she sings those lines towards the end is when you hear the passion and power in her voice.
'Ascension' is more evidence to Jhene having the most beautiful voice in music. "What do you do it for/ What are you running for/ What are you running towards," she sings angelically, highlighting the purity of her voice. Brandy features on the song and her voice is no slouch either. She sings those same lines with even more passion than Jhene did.
"Trip' is a journey. Jhene Aiko takes us through her time of healing and new love one tab at a time. She starts the album needing to get away and by the end of it, she's figured herself back out and is ready to ascend past it all. She makes sure to fill us in on the in-between too. She talks about the high moments on tracks like 'While We're Young' and 'Moments.' She lets us into the even higher moments on songs like 'Trip,' 'Sativa,' and ' Psilocybin.' She even shares her low points as well on 'Overstimulated,' 'Nobody' and 'Never Call Me.' Once again Jhene took us through her healing process perfectly, just this time it took a whole lot more drugs.
So if you need some help getting over something, take a trip. Jhene proved you'll be alright.
For more of my thoughts on 'Trip,' Jhene Aiko, and all things music, follow WhyToby? on twitter: @_WhyToby