It's impossible to hate Jacquees.
His voice is silky smooth, his smile is genuine, he's candid and calm in interviews, he's cute, he can even dance a little. His creative style is unique enough to stand out among his modern-day contemporaries but is referential enough to the '90s that even listeners above the age of 40 will find ways to connect with him. He seems to be an old soul, immune to the petty drama that plagues the current mainstream music scene.
When The Breakfast Club tried to poke and prod at Jacquees's brief online scrimmage with XXL Freshman YK Osiris earlier this year, Jacquees dismissed it with a shrug: "I don't know who that is." When asked about his love life, he emphatically said that he wants a family and that he remains loyal to his love interest Dreezy. He is confident enough in his craft to name his album the King of R&B but humble enough to immediately acknowledge this self-proclaimed title by no means makes him "The Best." "Every day, a star is born," he sings on the T.I.-assisted opener, "and if we talkin' kings, there's more than one."
Jacquees - Fact Or Fiction www.youtube.com
As a result, the 25-year-old's sophomore effort should be viewed more like a mission statement. It trades the sprinkles of creative risk seen in 4275 for a more refined, commercial sound, with songs like "New, New" and "What They Gone Do With Me" existing solely for radio takeover. Moments of mass appeal like this have already begun to draw criticism. "The album's production is synthetic to the point of being shallow," writes EXCLAIM! "Jacquees tries hard to emulate his heroes, instead of letting himself be inspired by them."
The criticism is fair, but in the world of commercial R&B, Jacquees is still circling the A-team, with Tory Lanez and Chris Brown—both frequent collaborators and close friends—touring together this summer and having their biggest year to date. King of R&B, with features from heavy-hitters like Quavo, Summer Walker, Lil Baby, Young Thug, and Gunna, reaffirms Jacquees's well-deserved seat at the table. The tracks are earworms in the best way, and you can't hate on the guy's vivacity. The album is an easy listen, but with tracks like "Fact or Fiction" and "Warning," we also see a more refined Jacquees that should quiet the critics who will inevitably call him a sell-out. King of R&B or not, Jacquees's charisma remains infectious.