Three years and five singles later, Victoria Monet finally bridges the gap between the funky, disco-infused extended play JAGUAR (2020) with what she’s described as its predecessor’s ‘voluptuous big sister’ JAGUAR II.
Monet’s long-awaited debut album arrives off of the heels of the release of the 2000s-inspired track and music video for her final single “On My Mama” featuring a sample of the Southern classic “I Look Good” by Texas rapper Chalie Boy which has raised generations at this point.
The track itself was released on June 16, the video was filled with lowrider Cadillacs, extra-extra-large white tees, Girbaud jeans, even Atlanta’s—namely Dem Franchize Boyz— 2006 dance craze, the pool palace. With nostalgia and choreographer Sean Bankhead’s eight-counts to fond over, you can’t scroll on TikTok without hearing the Billboard charting song.
Simply, the praise of the video introduced a new sect of Victoria Monet fans, amassing 6.6 million views after its Aug. 15 release. 10 days later the album was released and I was awake promptly at 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time to experience what I had been waiting on since I discovered the first extended play in the fall of 2020.
It simply got better by keeping the sultry atmosphere of the EP stepping through the door with her third collaborative effort with R&B vocalist Lucky Daye with their hazy collaboration titled ‘’Smoke’’ and a collaboration with reggae rapper Buju Banton on the party track rightfully titled “Party Girls.”
The journey this album takes you down displays the new richness of her voice which she credits to motherhood. She is also influenced by her producer-songwriter D’Mile, and songwriter Pirahnahead’s love for string and horn throughout this album.
These were apparent in the sultry empowerment track “Cadillac (A Pimp’s Anthem),” which personally excited me seeing the release of the album’s track list before its Aug. 25 release. Cadillac is punctuated by a bass riff and a lilting flute reminiscent of JAGUAR’s track, “Dive.”
Throughout the track Monet affirms that the pimping ways close to Underground Kingz’ Pimp C can most certainly belong to a woman, even bragging that we are slicker in our ways than men.
She expressed the same sentiment in the Kaytranda-produced future club banger “Alright” except over a clap-laced, drowsy, EDM track about moving through life with romantic partners as she chooses to. Thanks to the freewill she’s allowed herself, life is just that, alright, not being bound by anyone’s expectations but her own.
While loving her freedom, she appreciates the love and connection she and her partner share in “How Does it Make You Feel” punctuated in the chorus with shimmering xylophones and Piranhahead’s violins. Then, she pleads her case that she’s the right person for her partner by an angel escort in the string-heavy track “I’m the One.”
Victoria Monet closes out the album with a beautifully written track titled “Good Bye”, written as a letter to the persona she’s curated. While I’m sad to see the Jaguar venture off somewhere else, this album has been in consistent rotation since its release, feeding a range of my emotions, from brazen sass to being completely smitten. R&B is a variety of lenses and a range of stories being told. This album shows the multiplicity of layers to the woman that is Victoria Monet.