Jerzee Monét: Love & War

Felicia Pride

Jerzee Monét

Love & War

Label: DreamWorks
US Release Date: 2002-07-16
UK Release Date: 2002-08-01

If you've listened to the radio lately, your attention might have been aroused by a mysterious voice singing what seems to be more of a social commentary than an R&B song. With her first single, "Most High", Jerzee Monét becomes an urban prophetess, dispersing lyrics of truth that do more than implore empty advocating, they permeate the mind. Flanked by lyrical lessons and Jerzee's mellifluous vocal deviations, Love & War is the product of acute life observations in the key of soul.

With a moniker reflecting her birthplace, it is confirmed that talent can be found in all crevices of the world, including Trenton, New Jersey. Her story reads like an urban fairy tale. DMX, the unlikely prince in shining armor, appeared at the restaurant she was a cook at, and rescued her from a life of fruitless jobs landing her under the direction of Ruff Ryders associate, Boondo Calamundo. The rest is music, good music.

DMX also lent a hand to the LP by appearing on the remix of "Most High", providing his trademark, "What, what, c'mon" and leading the ranks of rappers that sing (I will be launching the organization, F.A.R.T.S, fans against rappers that sing, to help stop this rapidly spreading epidemic). But X puts it down lyrically, with grittiness that corroborates Jerzee's words, "It doesn't matter where you are / You're still a shining star / It doesn't matter where you're from / Let's give love to everyone".

Speaking of the rapping/singing phenomenon, Ja Rule also makes an appearance on "Twisted", providing probably one of his best R&B duets because Jerzee's voice overrides his presence instead of the unfortunate vice versa that has plagued many. It is one of those songs that make you feel good about the prospect of love while having you rocking back and forth to the velvety track.

Two definite gems on the album are "Missing You" and "Tonight is the Night". The first dynamically features her range of vocal characters that vary from unrefined Jerzee to polished Jerzee. "Tonight is the Night" is her version of a common R&B topic, but her spin is worth a ride.

Jerzee herself has proclaimed "Yeah" as a national women's anthem. Who better to accompany the track than Ms. Independent herself, Eve? Listening to the song, with its freedom trumpets blaring in the background, you can see women across the country (including myself) in their rides, singing to the chorus at the top of their lungs, "Hold up wait a minute all my girls say / Yeah / Got cha own benjamins in the bank say / Yeah / Don't need no man know ya hot say / Yeah / Earned all that cha got don't stop say / Yeah".

"Stop My Flow" even with its hackneyed use of the idea of "hating" emerges because of its catchy hook and well, because Jerzee has an incredible voice.

The title track, "Love & War" examines the complex relationship between the two with Jerzee revealing her true confessions, showing an extremely personal side that is usually an approach initially avoided by musicians.

Another refreshing aspect of the album is her use of relatively newcomer producer, Tyrice Jones, who generates the bulk of the clear sound that Jerzee artistically manipulates.

My only true complaint about the album would be the length, which plays very quickly and is over before you know it, maybe not making your entire morning commute. The good thing is, you'll want to play it again.

Have to be grateful to DMX for stopping to get his grub on, because who knows how long it would have been before Jerzee blessed the world with her urban prophecy, Love & War. Timing is definitely everything.





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