Breaking news: JoJo has debuted her new mixtape online, and officially, no other music matters today. The big-voiced, criminally underrated chanteuse just premiered a stream of her highly anticipated mixtape Agápē online in anticipation of its December 20 debut, and she’s coming correct with a sophisticated new sound, tackling more adult subject matter with precocity beyond her years.
Consider the following, all of which goes down within Agápē‘s first ten minutes: She blasts music-industry sliminess on the intro track (“You should pull your titties out / Then I’ll put your record out,” soaked in eerie distortion), celebrates the weary joys of the grind on “We Get By” (“All I got is my hopes and dreams and this cranberry Stoli,” which is probably to 2012 what “I’ve been up three days / Adderall and Red Bull” was to 2011) and breathily explains that “Everything is better with a blunt in your mouth” on “Take the Canyon.” JoJo’s all grown up, and it looks so good on her.
More importantly, the spaced-out, retro production and her effortlessly commanding vocals — which remain some of the best in the game — prove that it’s more than just swagger: She has the chops to back it up. And it’s hard to miss the thread of well-earned disillusionment that runs through the mixtape, the frustration over her messy and well-documented legal tangle with Blackground Records that’s kept her from releasing music commercially.
Lesser artists would have given up by now, still unable to monetize their music after so many setbacks. JoJo does it because she loves it, and you can feel that in Agápē’s DNA. Listen below.