Jazmine Sullivan, "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)"

Track Review

Scratches, ad-libs and myriad samples threaten to overwhelm the casual R&B listener on Jazmine Sullivan's new single, "Holding You Down." But her powerful, slightly raspy voice ultimately commands attention on a song that's still a successful intersection of hip-hop and R&B without compromising either genre's values. Here, the Philadelphia singer laments the cyclical battering of love, her grief punctuated by an emotional yet authoritative performance. "I feel so stupid, foolish, lovin' you this way, but what can I say?" Sullivan sings, while Missy Elliott handles production and gives the track a primordial hip-hop core. The oft-used drum break from the Honey Drippers' "Impeach the President," along with a curious but well-executed sample of '90s rap crew the Firm, collectively endow "Holding You Down" with the rawness of a mixtape cut. Yet Sullivan once again subordinates the hectic beat with her spiraling chorus.


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