Is there something in Philly’s water?
The city that has recently given us greats like Jill Scott, the Roots, Musiq, Bilal and Res, has released yet another “golden child,” Jaguar Wright.
Wright, who has been a favorite on the local R&B scene for years, finally graced us with her debut album, “Denials, Delusions and Decisions.” The dynamic work invites listeners to explore the polychromatic worlds of unrequited love, introspection and growth.
True to the characteristics of her feline namesake, Jaguar has an inherent sophistication, confidence and uncompromising strength.
Lyric aficionados can appreciate her honey-garlic combination of smooth instrumentals and often, nasty words. In fact, her album is one of the few from the R&B genre to adorn the “Parental Advisory” label.
All 12 tracks are Jaguar originals, with the exception of a remake of Patti Labelle’s “Love Need and Want You.” Her opening track, “The What If”s,” introduces Jaguars honest, down-to-earth style.
She asks, “What if things could change/What if you weren’t a strain. . . What if things were different/ what if you paid your share of the rent/ what if you was the nigga I fell in live with/What if, what if?”
In track two, “Stay,” we see an insecure Jaguar who sings, “I jumped out of bed/ I run to the bathroom/ Looking for guidance in the mirror/ Mirror, Mirror, what should I do. . . Dare I tell him what’s on my mind?/ . . .Maybe I should stay/Maybe I should go/ Maybe I should run/ And tell him how I feel.”
But before you can let the softness fool you, three tracks later in, “Ain’t nobody playing,” Jag reminds listeners that “[she’s] still a real ghetto bitch.”
The 10th and 11th tracks “Lineage” and “Self Love” help to bring the album full circle. In “Self Love” Jaguar offers the “big sister” advice to realize life’s brevity and to “get up off your asses”.
“Self love/ self-preservation,” Jaguar chants. “If you don’t like your job/Maybe you should quit/ And stop being a bitch/Love yourself”
With only three guest appearances, two by The Roots’ Black Thought and the other by Bilal, the album allows listeners to judge Jaguar based on her talent, rather than that of her colleagues.
Jaguar provides a refreshing edge to the new generation of soul.