Mixtape review: JoJo - #LoveJo

JoJo - #LoveJo | Mini album review

JoJo has been releasing music for free for quite some time now, much to the bitter-sweet adoration of fans; who are continuously grateful for the new material, but stay mad that JoJo is putting out such good music which could be retailed in a store had Blackground records not thrown shackles on a bitch for almost a decade. Not one to sit on her hands, JoJo had continued to make music and hone her craft, the culmination of which is #LoveJo - a short 3 track EP of covers. JoJo is no stranger to covering classics, garnering much attention over her masterful cover of SWV's "Weak", a rendition of which helped her get signed at the age of 13 and left Coko with a case of alopecia.

In an age where the word 'cover' illicits a wince, more so if it's a song we know and love; it's great, dare I say it even 'beautiful' that JoJo has managed to deliver 3 covers which not only breath new life into old songs, but re-imagines them in a way that makes you remember how good the original was, yet take JoJo's rendition as a standalone piece due to what she brings to the covers vocally and what Da Internz and Stevie Mackey serve up in the production.

JoJo covers classics from Anita Baker, Phil Collins and bookends this with a gospel rendition of "Oh, glory". She delivers each song in such a tasteful, classy and respectful manner that you can't help but just clap for the girl and then side eye every female in R&B twice her age who has phoned in a bad cover.

"Caught up in the rapture" is one of Anita Baker's most well known songs alongside "Sweet love". It has been covered many times, but JoJo's cover ranks as one of the better. The production on this song is a stunner, featuring live strings, all of the smoothness of the original glossed in a slightly harder R&B coat with mid 90's swing permeating the verses. Anita was well known for her husky vocals long before we had Brandy or Toni Braxton. But rather than emulate Anita or sing this song in a lower register, JoJo keeps things light, giving her freedom to really own the track and sing within her element. This would have made a great buzz / promotional single for JoJo and opened up her audience and fan demographic in a big way. She should definitely consider making this part of her live gig setlist and slapping it as a bonus track on her next studio album. If radio had sense they would add this to their Summer playlists.

JoJo's cover of Phill Collins' "Take me home" lays on the 'Urban angle' thick in the form of Trap style snares and 808's. It sounds awful on paper, but it really does work. This is definitely one to bump in the car as it's very much banger territory when the chorus hits. What makes this work is that the drums of Collins' original have a very R&B nuance to them, featuring a sequence pattern which many Hip-Hop and R&B producers use now and have been using for years. All Da Internz do here is dial it up so that it can sit amongst today's soundscape. But they do so in a way which doesn't feel gimmicky and will still sound hot years from now Trap is sealed in a time capsule 6 feet under. Phil Collins' music has often been sampled within rap and R&B, with many of his songs having more of an influence on the genre's than many realise. So the banger potential being tapped into in this cover fits perfectly. Then there are JoJo's vocals. Damn. Those vocals.

The final track on the EP is simply just JoJo going snatching left, right and centre. If there is one song on this EP which showcases JoJo's vocal talent (as if the previous two songs were not enough) it is this one. JoJo's rendition of "Glory" based on Kathleen Battle's stunning Operatic performance of "Oh, glory" is stunning. There are points in this performance where I could have sworn I saw Jesus when JoJo hit notes. Right before my eyes. Robe blowing all up in the wind and shit.

JoJo's vocal ability has never been in question. But her vocals really do shine on this EP in a way they haven't before. What JoJo exhibits on #LoveJo are 2 different registers she rarely sings in. Her lowest and her highest, and she retains great control in both. JoJo has also learnt one very important lesson: Oversinging does not equal good singing. JoJo has learnt at the age of 22, which broads such as Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé in their late 20's and 30's are yet to grasp.

As with her previous 2 EP's, #LoveJo shows another facet to JoJo. If Can't take that away was affirmation that JoJo had successfully transitioned out of that teen phase and Agape was JoJo showing that she can do a conceptual R&B set, then #LoveJo is a showcase of JoJo's confidence. A declaration that she really has nothing to prove vocally. What JoJo needs to ensure with her next studio release however is that the material is strong. As good as JoJo's first 2 mixtapes were, two thirds of the material on them were NOT memorable - so she needs to ensure her vocals are being graced on songs of a quality which match them. #LoveJo is a perfect example of the potential of this balance being achieved.



EP highlights:
■ Caught up in the rapture ★ J's fave
■ Take me home
■ Glory

19 comments:

  1. Glad you posted this. Jojo is a true artist, with a terrific talent. Hope she keeps blessing us with this time of releases.

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  2. When all yo' props fit in one room.

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  3. Homegirl can only keep this up for so long. This is a hobby. She ain't getting paid.

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  4. Says your gf after sex.

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  5. Hell yeah! The first remix was really amazing. I have really high hopes for this one :) Thanks for the article

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  6. I'm Homosexual so she wouldn't have much to laugh about.

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  7. I instantly fell in love with Jojo's cover of "Caught in the Rapture" when I first heard it weeks ago. I haven't listened to any of her material since her debut and I was never a fan. The mixtape is pure gold and I never would have thought she was capable of releasing such great mature sounding music. She has definitely evolved as an artist.

    Thanks again to fellow user 'Mel R' for spreading Jojo's latest work in a previous post. I've NEVER given her second thought until someone pointed out how her sound matured over the years.

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  8. gawd yes for that get outta my way" remix. gave me my entire life.

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  9. No Problem, I have to thank J for reintroducing me to her with his review of "Can't Take That Away From Me". I forgot about her after "Too Little Too Late". Honestly, I would take a look at her back catalog. She has quite a few jams on the High Road and her previous two mixtapes. Also, she has a lot of great leaked material; "Before We Take It There" is just perfection.

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  10. She got away from Blackground now and signed a deal with interscope I think.

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  11. Caught in the Rapture is the bomb I am really impressed with her vocals ability and her restrain also. I love Anita Baker so I am happy she did not try to immitate her this itself show that she is a great singer and she has confidence. Damn I rediscover Jojo it's been a while since her debut I am really happy hope she's gonna release new material, an album will be great.

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  12. I believe it was Atlantic.

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  13. Oh good. So why these mixed tapes? Is her stuff in stores?

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  14. Not really. Wouldn't touch you though.

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  15. LOL. Just a mess. *emoji sad face*

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