By: Jonathan Kermah
Twenty88 is a collaboration project between Rapper Big Sean and R&B artist Jhenè Aiko. Twenty88 also functions as the name of the duo. The two artists have collaborated previously on Big Sean’s songs “Beware” and “I Know.” The chemistry between the two artists is what makes the album so powerful.
Often when artists collaborate, it feels as if it favors one artist’s style with a small addition from the other. In Twenty88 however, Sean and Aiko blend their styles to create a whole new beautiful sound. This isn’t a Big Sean song with Aiko used in the hook, nor is it a Jhenè Aiko R&B album with a Big Sean rap feature.
Listeners receive the best of both worlds. Sean’s classic punch line style is sprinkled throughout the album with lyrics like “you get carried away like you wearing wedding dresses,” in “London Bridge” and “You got these people inside our business/ Like U and I is” in “Talk Show.” Aiko brings her beautifully smooth R&B voice to the table as well.
From rekindling a flame with an ex partner in the opening track “Déjà Vu” to breakups in the final track “London Bridge,” the album focuses on the ups and downs of relationships. Cheating, sex, arguing and making up are all topics addressed in Twenty88.
“Talk Show” is the most unique track of the album, opening with applause and a host introduction emulating the intro of a talk show. Throughout the song there is a combination of dialogue, singing and rapping all intertwined to create the story of a couple arguing on stage and airing their dirty laundry. By the end of the song, the couple realizes their relationship isn’t about others opinion, instead it is about their love for each other. In Sean’s final verse he says, “I’m tired of fronting for these people who ain’t got our back/ ‘Cause to them it’s all entertainment/ And they not looking at us like we real people.”
A Marvin Gaye R&B/Soul sound can be heard in “Push it” and “2 Minute Warning.” Both songs are “get into the mood” type songs and focus on love and intimacy. Aiko delivers one of the most intimate lines in “Push It” when she says, “I think I can see my life in your eyes/I think you got everything that I like.”
By incorporating elements of hip hop, R&B, and a hint of soul, there are parts of Twenty88 that many will enjoy. There are a total of eight songs and none should be skipped. The album’s uniqueness is what makes it so special and is deserving of four out of five stars