Over the course of the next few weeks, Billboard will be allowing artists behind some of the year’s most notable hip-hop and R&B releases the opportunity to speak on why their respective albums deserve to be crowned the top project of 2018. The next artist to speak on their successful run this year is self-proclaimed “King of R&B”, Jacquees, with his debut album, 4275. — As told to Carl Lamarre
I think I probably made the best music, for real. It’s simple. I think I put together the best male R&B album this year with 4275.
I think it was real structured. Like from the intro all the way to the end. Even the R&B artists that I put on it…I feel like I kind of opened the door for R&B, for real, because everybody was kind of playing around with it. Like, there’s Trap R&B — and no disrespect to none of that, ’cause I like all that shit, I’m a fan of it and I do some of that shit — but for my album, I didn’t. This was strictly R&B.
I had Jagged Edge on there, I had Xscape, Donell Jones…I just opened up the whole door for the real R&B sound. I feel like I’m the leader. I feel like I should win an award for 4275. I definitely should win best male R&B album of the year. I had to think about it. Like, who else dropped? I dropped my album in June, and I remember performing at the Chris Brown tour — I performed first, but I remember how the crowd energy used to be. I remember going first, but as a first person, the crowd might not be there, and all that, but when people found out I was going first, they started filling up the show early. The show started being lit and I remember people used to tell me, “Yo. You got this show off the chain. Like, you might need to go before Chris.” That’s when I started thinking, “Hold on. Wait.” I just realized what was going on.
I thought about who was dropping, because when I listen to R&B right now, I listen to a lot of females like H.E.R., Ella Mai and shit like that. When I listen to dudes, I listen to a lot of old cats. I still fuck with 6LACK and everybody like that in my generation, but [there’s] nothing that’s like the real feeling.
When I worked with Donell Jones, he told me, “I like all the young R&B cats, but you’re the only one I feel, though.” He was like, “I can just feel you. I’ve never met another young dude that I can just feel. I can feel you like when you sing and what you’re talking about.” So when I have people like that telling me what it is…at [the] Soul Train [Awards], all the old R&B cats were passing me the throne. Jon B, Carl Thomas, Donell, Faith [Evans], Erykah [Badu]. Everybody.
4275 was where I started and I wanted to represent so hard. I put everything into 4275. Like everything I had, my whole craft, my entire energy, everything went into it. I really put my blood, sweat and tears into it. I feel like I gave the people everything I had. It’s my best work. Even though I kept some records, that body of work, that project, I fought to get records on there.
Like “London” — that was the last record to get on the album. I was trying to tell them like, “Yo. You need this song on this album. This would just make it complete.” I made an album where every song needed each other. It wasn’t like a single album. I put so much work into this and I saved some of these songs from 2014. “All My Life,” I did that song in 2014. Me and Chris Brown. I was going to make sure 4275 was super massive, and I think I did a great job of that.