Last week’s prediction: Latin-influenced, female, Timbaland rip-off beats.
Female, yes. Latin-influenced? No. As for Timbaland rip-off, Wikipedia claims that Jazmine Sullivan has in fact been in the studio with Timbaland, down in Miami, at the behest of Missy Elliott—who does the adlibs on this week’s free iTunes single, “Need U Bad.” Sullivan, whose Philly roots include a stint growing up in Strawberry Mansion, a landmarked mansion in the middle of the Philadelphia nowhere (dad was the curator), has chosen a good time to sound a lot like Lauryn Hill, what with Hill in a fiercely guarded retirement and all. Do not be fooled Elliott’s we-come-tru-a-lot-of-tings patois; Sullivan’s a less agonized, shallower Lauryn and not at all like, say, early Sullivan-sponsor Jill Scott.
There’s something endearing about the “Need U Bad”‘s naked roll into a pleading chorus that doesn’t really match the rest of the song or its sentiment—this is, after all, the decision that landed it atop Billboard’s R&B chart and presumably paid for a T.I. remix and this fancy video, in which she sings through the hole of a bunch of old reggae 45s.
Next week’s prediction: Nth-generation emo, all male, the word “you” in the chorus