In 2021, Jazmine Sullivan dropped her new album “Heaux Tales” and set the internet on fire. Her last project had been “Reality Show” in 2015, and that one had us all singing along with her during her last tour.
“Heaux Tales” is different though. Yes, we can sing along, but the level of honesty and vulnerability displayed is akin to Ms. Lauryn Hill’s debut, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” “Heaux Tales” makes you think, feel, and rejoice because you realize women/femmes are in this thang together. This body of work is relatable. Jazmine is showing us that she and her homegirls have been living life and decided to write us a soundtrack so we can commiserate together.
Tomorrow, on February 11, Sullivan is blessing us with an extended version of “Heaux Tales.” Before that happens, let’s go track by track and reminisce about where the original album took us:
“Bodies (Intro)” The album opens with a background setting mantra: “Gotta stop getting f’d up…” As the intro progresses, the lyrics take on a chastising tone as if her present self is parenting her past self while she sits with her head in hands.
“Antoinette’s Tale” In her first interlude, Sullivan sets the tone for unfiltered truth-telling. Antoinette shares some truths: male egos are notoriously fragile, and society has made women play down our sexuality and emotions. She makes us ask, what happens if/when we embrace them?
“Pick Up Your Feelings” Probably the most popular song on the album, this song walks us through the beginning of finding oneself. The singer’s man is trying to give her any excuse to believe him, but she’s done. Instead, she tells him in no uncertain terms that it’s over. Sir, she sings, come get all of your things-feelings included because you didn’t take mine into consideration when you acted outside your mind.
“Ari’s Tale by Ari Lennox” This song is a tale as old as time. We’ve all dealt with someone we had NO business talking to, and yet we did it anyway. To me, this interlude starts the hot girl section of the album.
“Put It Down” Look, when we are under the influence of the male sex organ, it’s easy to make careless decisions. We see it every day. I consider situations like this an enjoyable growing pain.
“On It (Ft. Ari Lennox)” I am not ashamed to say that this song gets plenty of spins from me. It is steamy, seductive – think thigh-high fishnets. If the previous track was about getting d*ckmatized and losing control, then this song is all about regaining that control.
“Donna’s Tale” The church organs in the background let us know that we are in service, and the good word is being brought forth. Ms. Donna pulls no punches and makes us all equal under His eye. I’m a heaux, she’s a heaux, you’re a heaux. Hunty, we are ALL heauxs. Take your judgment off, you’re amongst friends.
“Pricetags (Ft. Anderson .Paak)” A$&, cash, or gas: nobody rides for free. Anderson.Paak has spent plenty of coin to give her the life she desired and expects great sex and devotion in return. This song details the demise of a kept woman and highlights the distrust that creeps in when a relationship is only based on transactions.
“Rashida’s Tale” This song pulses with regret. Rashida became the type of person she hated and has to sit with the fact she did that woman wrong forever.
“Lost One” This track was the lead single. Emotional, swelling. It shows different perspectives of the dissolution of a relationship. It’s not always the man’s fault. Sometimes we’re outside in the rain trying to make you remember the good times.
“Precious’ Tale” This interlude gives it to you straight. Precious isn’t a gold digger, she’s a woman who knows what the bottom looks and feels like and has made a solemn oath to NEVA return to that station in life. You have to pay to play in Precious’ world.
“The Other Side” This song gives us the playbook on how to get chose. How to use your looks to your advantage. Be strategic in how you move – build the life you want and make him pay for it.
“Amanda’s Tale” This last interlude is vulnerable and heartbreaking. Amanda describes the loneliness and feelings of inadequacy that come with using her body to maintain her man’s interest, while feeling that that’s the only thing about her he cares about.
“Girl Like Me (Ft. H.E.R.)” The last track. It speaks to all the women discussed throughout the album. This one hits differently, depending on where you are emotionally. I found myself dancing to it. West African dancing – using all my extremities to feel my way through the waves of this song. I have been this girl. Haven’t we all had that relationship that ends and leaves us a little colder, a little meaner, a little less open to love? Sullivan sings for all of when she croons,
Wondering what I did to lose you (what I did to lose you)
Why in the hell you ain’t choose me?
Why you don’t love me no more?
But the song moves on to talk about how being dumped for someone else has changed her.
Yeah, you gon’ make me a gold digger (gold digger)
Maybe I should look like a stripper
Wearin’ Fashion Nova dresses
All these dudes be so pressed and impressed with it
You leave me with no choice, ohh
I can’t do this good girl shit no more
Her plan to change sounds like an anthem. The way it’s sung I envision someone primping in the mirror using it as a fight song – while dabbing away the last few tears.
Recap: I loved “Heaux Tales.” I hope you did too. I hope you let these melodies and lyrics wash over you and allow you to greet your next day with a deeper knowledge of yourself and your sisters.
Even though Sullivan is speaking to/about the sistas, there is a mirror in here for all. Share this body of work with the men you care about and who claim to care about you. I have already purchased my concert ticket. I’m ready to sing until my throat is sore. I am a Jazmine fan.
This is my favorite album because I have been and currently reside in the dating/relationship trenches. I see myself in the lyrics. Replaying interactions. It could very well be me and my good-good girlfriends on those interludes. We were given a front-row seat to the maturation of Ms. Jazmine Sullivan. A GROWN WOMAN. I can’t wait to experience the deluxe version.