Jazmine Sullivan | Reality Show (RCA Records)

reality showVocally, lyrically, and spiritually, this album transcends the basic boundaries of simply revealing experiences she grows through.

Coming off her 2011 hiatus, Jazmine Sullivan has re-entered music with a bang. Her third album, Reality Show tells stories she’s watched unfold on TV—this album is an ode to her obsession with reality shows.

While the album’s first single, “Dumb” featuring Meek Mills is catchy and amplifies Sullivan’s boisterous voice, the songs that caught my attention immediately was “Forever Don’t Last.” But before we delve into the deepness of that song, we can’t skip the tracks that precede it. .

Through “Dumb”, Jazmine brings it to her lover’s attention that she’s not oblivious to his disrespectful ways as he (Meek Mill) tries to insult her intelligence by telling her that it’s not what it looks like (even though the proof is stacked up against him). Unable to plead his case, Sullivan is ready for the next man, so she puts on her favorite “Mascara” trying to hook him. The vocal performance on “Brand New” is a great tune that blends both a speedy and mid-tempo singing pattern that reminds us of how even the people we knew best can change into a completely different person.

That’s the thing Reality Show does—it teaches us that reality has its ups and down. You can see yourself doing things you would never do as she sings about taking the rap for her lover in “#HoodLove,” and even the moment she falls in love and becomes addicted to her lover in “Let It Burn” and “Veins.”

Sometimes you see these instances on the horizon, but other times they can be completely unexpected. In “Forever Don’t Last,” Sullivan realizes that the one person that would always be there for her is gone. “I had hopes for us baby/Like I was on dope for us baby/Chasing after a high that I’d never get back again,” Sullivan croons from the low depths of her soul. She details each thought of her coming to the conclusion that this relationship has to end. There will be no forever after, just an end forever.

“And I tried to believe that we could make it/But trying don’t work so I just have to face that forever doesn’t last too long these days/Lord knows I gave it my all/And I couldn’t save us from falling ‘cause some people ain’t meant to be together forever, forever yeah,” she proclaims going to a scat in which her souls grieves with each strum of the guitar.

No one can deny Sullivan’s musical abilities and talent and that’s evident throughout her storytelling. She continues to recall how she saw but ignored all the signs that this person was bad news in “Stupid Girl,”—we’ve all been there. We feel it in our gut that we should not pass go and collect $200, yet we do, and we’re left with broken pieces of our failed romance, trying to prove to our “Stanley” how we’re more than good enough and deserve his appreciation.

Ultimately, once we regain our sense of self-worth, we get back to appreciating the reflection in the mirror. And that’s what Jazmine Sullivan did with this album. Reality Show is her ode to getting back to loving herself, the “Masterpiece” that she is. Vocally, lyrically, and spiritually, this album transcends the basic boundaries of simply revealing experiences she grows through. She inserts you into this show of emotion from the ups to the deep lows and finally to the top of the charts as an American treasure.

Together, “Masterpiece” and “If You Dare” are for the ladies (and men too) who need a little of encouragement, validation, or an ode to their first love—themselves. The latter challenges you to live in full color and “conquer the world.” The former perfectly paints (pun intended) the picture of becoming a polished, refined diamond from the rough, full of love and acceptance. “Every part of me is a vision of portrait of Mona, Mona Lisa/Every part of me is beautiful and I finally see I’m a work of art/I’m a masterpiece,” Sullivan whispers at the end, and it’s true. She is a total work of art, quite like this album. B+ | Ashley White

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