Suede Jenkins – My Forever Vibe – Album Review
“When the beat too hard and the lyric too real my man…”
It has been more than a minute since we’ve had Suede Jenkins on our pages – so let’s rectify that today. We last checked in on the man back in 2016 with the release of his record F.I.L.O.D. – and believe it or not, Suede’s gone on to put out another four entire albums in between then & now – My Forever Vibe is the fifth! Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say I suppose – it’s great to have this guy back!
Besides – “gotta age that cheese?” right? Hellz yeah you do! “We Here” starts up the new Jenkins joint with an intense spark of inspired sound. From the slick glide through the initial verse, to the resounding confidence you’ll hear in bringing this track home for a solid win at the start – Suede flexes that superbly innovative style & sound we remember, know, and love to this very day. Listen to the spectacular tone he’s got goin’ on in the sample that fuels the melody of the music and how it trembles in the mix – listen to quick pop-culture references like borrowin’ a line from Snoop Dogg’s debut record along the way – and listen to the fact that Jenkins immediately presents a record that’s guaranteed to be just as artistic in design & vibrantly entertaining as it is thought-provoking, culturally relevant, unfiltered, raw, and of course, as real AF as we know the man to be. Suede’s got style for miles & he proves that right from the drop as you dig into the stylistic opening to My Forever Vibe – the man brings it to the m-i-c right away.
Just in case anyone was wondering about the kind of music Suede’s makin’ – you can certainly consider within the conscious Hip-Hop realm for sure – a single spin through “Take That” will definitely go a long way to prove to y’all he’s not only got a valid perspective & point of view – he’s not afraid to give it a voice & speak up on behalf of issues that truly matter. Jenkins plays this track really cleverly – he’ll bring you in with lighthearted vibes that are remarkably jazzy & supremely addictive to listen to – and then as the song plays on, you’ll notice that the lyricism gets deeper & deeper. Displaying an entire range & full palette of emotions in his words from good times to devastating moments – at all times, Jenkins will reveal through his tone of voice that he’s feelin’ the lyrics he spits, and that he bases his songs on what’s undeniably real experience. “Politics ain’t got no answer – love is the only thing can cure its cancer” – don’t get it twisted – Suede’s got no problem with detailing this thoughts from the grim to the gritty – but you’ll more often than not find that he’s got a significant thread of hope, light, and love at the core of his material that speaks louder than the rest. Bottom line is, he puts serious thought into these cuts & how they move from performance to production, lyricism to melody – it all stacks up on “Take That.”
Steamy stuff happenin’ in between the sheets of “HeartBeat” if I’m hearing this cut correctly, which I’m pretty sure that I am. I was a bit more at a crossroads on this cut…the content’s cool with me…and I’m inclined to give quite a bit of stylistic freedom to the expressive way an artist wants to communicate; that being said…there’s still an argument to be made that Suede could have put a smoother finish on the vocals of this cut to match the glossy & highly accessible sound he’s got goin’ on with the music. It’s not that he’s off-key…though he’ll ride the edge in a few spots…he’s made a stylistic choice here in that artistic & avant-garde way that’s always been a classic part of R&B from day one – and for the vast majority it works. I was also a little tossed up over whether or not the sample at the end for the vocals actually fit here or not too…part of me wants to say yes, part of me thinks it’s a bit too bright in the mix if it’s gonna be here at all, and part of me thinks that in a week I’ll eat my words, ‘cause it’s memorable. Where “HeartBeat” shines brightest is in the depth of the music & vibe itself – that’s straight-up impeccable and I couldn’t get enough of it – and I’d follow that up with his concept & lyricism here – all that stuff works perfectly; the rest is still more than worth your time, just perhaps not quite as strong.
Where a stylistic choice to not make the main tone of the vocals the focal point works best of course, is when an artist like Suede is rappin’ & singin’ about puffin’ on a blunt & bein’ a bit on the faded-side of life, you dig? There’s a slightly psychedelic vibe that comes in with the bending tones & altered vocals you’ll hear, a brilliant sample in the breakdown before the chorus comes in…it all fits with a tone that’ll drift a bit in that dreamy sense of the definition…Suede’s goin’ with the moment on “Afternoon Delight” and he’s got a solid cut that you can chill with while you’re smokin’ them greens yourself. Just make sure you’re paying close attention to that sample Jenkins chooses to use and remember that at any given moment the 5-0 can still come busting in for no reason at any time – even if y’ain’t smokin.’ Suede has put together a clever track here on “Afternoon Delight” that definitely puts emphasis on the good times, but also directly links it to social issues & injustices that we’re still currently experiencing every single day in society right now. It’s a cut that’ll dive deeper than you’d think at first – and like so much of what Jenkins does, you’ll find he threads the needle of entertainment-meets-wisdom with surgical precision, givin’ ya somethin’ you can completely vibe on, while still saying exactly what he wants to say.
I’d be taking a long look at “Make You Smile” as a potential single here. It might not be the most typical example of single-worthy sound & style that you’ll hear, but there’s a ton of tangible uniqueness in this cut that can’t help but stand out for all the right reasons. Composition is every bit as key as the main hooks, rhythm, and flow from the main star of the show – Suede’s in the finest of forms on “Make You Smile” in every aspect. From the clever switch in the breakdown & transition with a minute left to go on the clock, to the incredible filter on some of the vocal samples and the brilliant way he’s layered everything you’ll hear together to really come alive from the lefts to the rights in the production as well – I mean, c’mon folks – this SHOULD “Make You Smile” – because it’s music that seriously feels good. You get personality, character, passion, charm & charisma on this cut & ya can’t really be asking for much more than that now right? Suede Jenkins has genuine style for miles on “Make You Smile,” 100%.
Slidin’ in on the bass-lines & atmospheric sound starting up the record’s second-half on “GoodWorks,” Suede reaches deep in his bag to haul out an extra ounce of pure soul for ya. For the most part, this track’s intact & on-point when it comes to the vocals…a couple tricky notes here & there perhaps, but you also gotta recognize that by this point on track six, Suede’s already covered the map in so many ways with multiple approaches. The bars he puts in come out flawless, and I dig just how different this cut is at the end of the day in comparison to what we’ve heard so far on the record…vocally, it’s a really expressive cut that takes Suede on a real ride through a plethora of gears – which would literally be challenging for any artist out there. Hittin’ his stride hard towards the end in the rhythmic flow he finds for a final hook towards the end – “GoodWorks” has plenty to keep ya fully engaged & entertained while Jenkins flexes his finesse in a sheer variety of ways. My real beef with “GoodWorks” comes from a part in the mix of this cut that I have absolutely no idea whether or not everyone else out there will even be able to HEAR…there is a high-up frequency in this track that comes through every once in a while like a crack of blinding light and I ain’t gonna lie to ya, it’s the kind of tone that felt really harsh, subtle as it was. The thing is, it’s about as high up there as it gets – as in, if you’ve ever experimented or heard “mosquito ring tones” you’ll know exactly what I mean – it’s a frequency that’s beyond so many people’s ears & hearing capabilities that they might not even know it’s there – Suede included. Of course I don’t know that for sure…it might be intentional, it might not be – all I know is that I can hear it.
Man is the music GOOD on “Break Your Heart” though! The way Suede has chopped up his lines with such precision, pivoting & shifting like the baller he is on this track is straight-up magnificent, and without question one of the tightest performances you’ll hear from the man on My Forever Vibe. Again, composition is key…listen to the way this guy springs off of the samples and surges into his bars – listen to how the hooks towards the end come in to glide us on out after such emotionally complex lyricism along the way…Jenkins puts the work into the diversity of his material and it shines extremely bright in the results of “Break Your Heart.” He’s got “a lot shit to work through” when it comes to life & love – and ultimately, this cut is more about Suede trying his level best to not be a dick and just be real. Some things are for a moment, some things are for a lifetime – and it’s important that y’all recognize which is which, you feel me? Suede’s in protective-mode on “Break Your Heart” and being realistic with his expectations on where things could potentially head in the future…as so many of us know & can relate to, sometimes it’s just altogether better to end something early on in effort to spare the mess when it’s over in a relationship. With its addictive sound, clever hooks, and such an inspired performance by our hero here – I’d definitely be looking at “Break Your Heart” as another single & gateway into this record.
He’s really found his groove in the second half of My Forever Vibe between the strengths of “Break Your Heart” and “Nothing Matters But You” appearing in the lineup back-to-back. “Nothing Matters But You” makes extraordinary use of Suede’s natural personality and character – it’s as cool as cool can be. Solid drift in to this dreamy set of vibes he’s workin’ with – Jenkins has gone full-on R&B/Soul here, and he gets a spectacular performance outta himself. It’s a celebratory cut of all-things-good, and as in the moment as you’ll hear Suede ever to be – he’s present & right there, professing his love and puttin’ his feelings out there without hesitation. “Nothing Matters But You” is a beautiful cut homie! Not only is it a vulnerable & grounded, but the smooth sound he’s latched onto here is a genuinely lights-down-low moment built on romance with respect – pay attention to this track & you’ll hear how to do your own lovin’ right, you dig? Jenkins is gonna win over a lot of hearts & minds out there listening with this cut, not a doubt in my mind about it – it’s smoother than smooth, every bit as insightful as we know him to be, and fantastically endearing…”Nothing Matters But You” is a master-class on how to rock a romance. Suede could melt a BOULDER like it was butter in the sun with the level of charm he brings to this song.
So many styles…so many different forms of expression & art at work throughout this record – and Suede’s STILL got more in-store for ya as he slide on into a nearly Tango-style track on “By The Moon” – which I’d imagine is certainly intentional, you’ll even find dancing being referenced in the lyricism. Proving once more beyond the shadow of a doubt that he’s a lover, not a fighter – “By The Moon” is another track built on light & love – and Jenkins gives this track an even more all-inclusive vibe to it via the appearances of guest-stars like lil Solomon on the mic. All-around, he’s created a whole lot of fun here on “By The Moon” at the end of the day – it’s built on romantic times yes, but there’s such an inspired & uplifting thread that’s even more universal at its core as well. “By The Moon” is about shutting out the rest of the world for a moment in time, dancing under the stars like Suede & his date are the only two left on the planet. It’s about recognizing that taking a break doesn’t mean the troubles of society come to a halt while we dance & all…but it’s also about recognizing how crucial it can be to turn off the noise for a moment and make time for love to shine. Suede’s got himself dialed right into the balance between accessibility & important information here once again – “By The Moon” shimmers with spectacular sound on the surface, while diving much deeper when it comes to the lyricism you find.
“Some people hate cause you original” – to know Suede Jenkins at all, is to know that “Nothing Like You” is pretty much his personal anthem, mantra, and motivations altogether. It’s one of the most wonderfully expressive cuts and true songs of personal freedom that I’ve ever experienced, straight up – it’s like Suede emancipates himself from any limitations, and we get to check it all out in real-time. Amazing! It’s such a brilliant statement song in his catalog, and an absolutely stellar way to conclude his latest record. There are more key things to understanding who Suede Jenkins is and what he’s about than I can possibly list here all at once – but really, listen to what the man is singing here – and know that what you’re hearing is as genuine & true as it gets – this is who the man behind the mic really is. With a perfect assist on the backing vocals from Soyini Grant in the mix, together they bring that dreamy vibe of hope & possibility to “Nothing Like You” and an up-tempo track that is filled with endless heart – Suede sounds at his very best right here at the end, stronger than ever in knowing exactly who he is and what defines him. He’s “Nothing Like You” at all – and it’s authentically inspiring to hear him embrace that fact; he’s a proud original & rightly so – it’s creatives like Suede Jenkins that make significantly new contributions to the craft, and personal breakthroughs that are capable of moving us all in the process. This final cut sums up the entire record & his own mission at the very same time – he’s not meant to be like the rest of what’s out there, and it’s the genuine uniqueness of Suede Jenkins that has made what’s actually an extremely diverse & colorful record as cohesive as it could conceivably be. I felt like it starts strong, flexes ambitious artistic vibes in the middle that take chances, and ends on a series of absolutely bulletproof material over the final four cuts…no matter what it is you’re hearing on My Forever Vibe, it’s a pure representation of who he is and the artist he’s become – and he should be mighty proud of that.
Listen to more music by Suede Jenkins at his official page at Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7EGsJTg0tvgX5hIqQBmLFh
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