Jeremih is one of the more elusive artists in modern music. The R&B crooner debuted in 2009 with “Birthday Sex” (which reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100), but after several notable collaborations and the release of 2010’s All About You album, he failed to put out another proper release. Then Late Nights: The Album finally happened (Dec. 4). Jeremih sings as if challenged to a dare: how can he convey the most desire with the catchiest melodies? On his long-delayed third studio effort, he accomplishes it by pairing his steamy vocals with space-y beats perfect for an after-hours rendezvous.
Thus, he celebrated the release of Late Nights: The Album at New York City’s S.O.B.’s on Saturday night (Dec. 5). Though he showed up nearly two hours late to his own party (he hit the stage for Busta Rhymes’ Hot for the Holidays showcase that night as well, according to timelines), he barely played any of his new material, choosing instead to work through his oldies and features: Natalie La Rose’s “Somebody,” “Hold You Down,” “Birthday Sex,” and “Don’t Tell ‘Em.” When the Chicago native finally hit the stage, he dutifully churned out a few of the recently released tracks, even channeling The-Dream with his single “Oui.”
On Late Nights: The Album, Jeremih’s quiet moments are the entrancing ones. Snaps are this singer’s favorite rhythm marker. Acoustic guitar melodies adorn several tunes while the singer takes a shot at trap on the Migos collaboration “Giv No Fuks.” Translating these songs on-stage demands a slightly larger venue and some down time for the masses to fully digest his project. There are standout numbers like the project’s recent single “Pass Dat” and the Jhene Aiko duet “Worthy.” Jeremih’s vocals especially dance on “Paradise,” but a busy night of performances didn’t let the Late Nights cuts get the full spotlight they deserve.
With the cheerleading squad that seemed to be in attendance, there was no shortage of enthusiasm at the show. Rapper 50 Cent even popped up at the intimate venue, delivering throwback feels with a rendition of his 2010 collaboration with Jeremih called “Down On Me.” As impromptu hypeman, 50 alternated between humorous endorsements for the singer — “You see [Jeremih] get behind the keyboard? Only Alicia Keys can do that shit!” — and slurred sincerity — “This is the one! This motherfucker [is] talented on another level.” 50 is right. But then again, talent has never been Jeremih’s issue.