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“Black Queens” by Jameel Mason

It’s never a bad time to give women the honor and respect they deserve, and in his new single “Black Queens” and its related music video, songwriter Jameel Mason gives a tribute to Black women worthy of some praise this spring. Mason’s vocal attack here is very focused and definitely one of the stealthier to be found on his debut album, and while his voice delivers a potency expected out of someone with elite skills, it’s ultimately his words that carry the most weight in this performance. He’s offering us a lot of intimacy here, and sounding quite stylish in the process.

Official Website: https://jameelmason.com/

I really can’t say enough about the clandestine groove circling the verses in this mix, and had it not been given the blunt minimalism aesthetic it was in this setting, I don’t know that Mason’s pulsating emissions from behind the mic would be as lustful as they are here. Every element of the backdrop is contributing something to the centerpiece of the music, leaving literally no room for any of the trite filler a lot of other artists would have to squeeze into the gaps of a similarly ambitious composition and music video.

Mason’s vocal is one of the best melodic crossovers into hip-hop I’ve come across in the last couple of months, and at no point does its nimble management of the words translate as forced or disingenuous. If anything, this has the look and feel of a really natural, unrehearsed performance sourced from his soul rather than from somewhere else in the universe, and as much as it pains me to say as much as a critic and a music fan, that’s just not something you can anticipate finding much of on the commercialized side of the spectrum.

There are definitely some slow jam vibes circling us like sharks in the Atlantic here, but the straightforwardness of the vocal always prevents anything in “Black Queens” from sounding sluggish or uninspired. The energy and the enthusiasm of Mason alone puts a very modern spin on the finished product, but at the same time I think it would be foolish to dismiss the obvious influences he’s had in G-funk and even old school R&B A performance like this one brings all of it to the surface, and leaves little space for critics to debate whether or not he’s onto something really special with this present formula.

Jameel Mason offers another refined take on hip-hop sophistication you won’t soon forget in “Black Queens,” and although this song began its life as an outro track on A.S.P.E.N., it’s certainly taking on a second, anthemic life through the release of its accompanying music video. Both documents are absolutely worth your time if you’re an R&B aficionado like myself, and even if you’re only occasionally listening to the genre’s biggest hits and favorite up and comers, my gut tells me you aren’t going to regret giving Mason and his music a shot this April. I haven’t, and I don’t think I’m alone.

John McCall

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