As exclusive as it feels at times, listening through Majid Jordan’s discography is a musical experience unlike any other. Most of the duo’s fanbase was formally introduced to them through 2014’s A Place Like This, the release of which was teased for almost a full year after the announcement of them signing with OVO Sound and appearing on ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’. But the journey begun with the afterhours EP some time prior when Majid and Jordan went by the well-suited moniker Good People.
From those first collaborations until February 4th 2016, the pair had, at most, a few hours worth of music to their name, that including a full OVO Sound Radio set and a 20 minute playlist uploaded on SoundCloud. Then their debut album dropped and made things a little more official for them. They got the rare Drake feature (and even more rare video appearance), announced a tour and saw the world together.
And somehow, they still felt like the best kept secret in R&B.
Now Majid Jordan have liberated their sophomore album, The Space Between. For the first time, artists not called Drake make guest appearances on their songs and they’re less stubborn with production credits, with the likes of Nineteen85 and Stargate making linear notes this time around. But has this new formula worked?
Right from the intro, it’s clear you’re about to embark on a somewhat literal journey. As Jordan teased at HOT 97 just before the LP’s release, we hear the subtle roar of a car engine implying that the following 50 minutes of music is best suited for a late night drive, perhaps the best environment for any new project to be heard.
Then the instrumental for ‘Gave Your Love Away’ fades in. The story of this song alone is one of Majid Jordan’s brightest moments yet. After making its debut during Louis Vuitton’s Spring-Summer 2018 fashion show in Paris, fans ripped the song, named it themselves and a campaign for its release begun. Majid and Jordan started performing it on tour, acknowledged the hunger for the CDQ version and here we are. The final version doesn’t disappoint and is almost inarguably a highlight of the LP.
Excluding ‘GYLA’, 4 singles were released prior to the October 27th release date. ‘Phases’, ‘One I Want’, ‘My Imagination’ and ‘Body Talk’. Reactions to them were surprisingly mixed and though none of them really stuck like a ‘Her’ or a ‘My Love’, they did the job. Thanks to Jordan’s seamless transitions and almost flawless sequencing, the singles all sound much better in context, even if you thought they were great to begin with. The transitions from song to song all over the album are occasions within themselves. Almost everything feels true to Majid Jordan but no two songs sound the same, as if everything was crafted as one song and then split into separate tracks afterwards for the sake of a tracklisting.
‘Phases’ sees Majid address his own story for a change. He sings “I came to this country, didn’t know a damn thing // 18-years-old and in need of planning // Thought I was ready, I wasn’t ready”. It was refreshing to hear back when the single dropped in April and many like myself were eager to get more of the personal journey rather than songs for serenading. If you hit play on The Space Between with the hope of learning more about the man behind the music, you’ll be disappointed. Luckily though, the formula for a love song with an old school feel is one that Majid and Jordan have perfected and coming into the album without those expectations means you’ll likely find some of your favourite music of the year here.
It’s almost pretentious how much each half of the duo have improved in their respective fields since their self-titled album came out. It’s tough listening from ‘Intro’ to ‘Outro’ without shaking your head in disbelief at Majid’s vocals or Jordan’s ability to fuse eclectic Disco, Funk and R&B sounds together and craft a near perfect instrumental. Their chemistry is unrivalled and at its peak. The beats and vocal range are of such high quality that often, actual lyrics feel secondary, in the same way that a smooth rap flow excuses subpar lines.
There are very few moments which could be described as lacklustre on the sophomore effort. Perhaps the only one comes in the form of ‘One I Want’ featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR. It’s not that it’s necessarily a bad song, but it sounds like a reach for Majid Jordan. The instrumental feels dumbed down. Some of Majid’s verse contradicts what we know about his humble, excessively polite personality and doesn’t feel genuine. PARTY is even the first person to curse on a Majid Jordan song which feels extra vulgar and needless.
But the good far, far outweighs the bad on The Space Between. It is a worthy addition to what is becoming an impeccable discography. There’s music for every mood on the new offering. With their second album, Majid Jordan take a big step forward in what could be a career filled with stardom. The next time you go for that drive, let the latest OVO Sound release be your theme music and be prepared for the trip of a lifetime.
Repeatable: ‘Gave Your Love Away’, ‘OG Heartthrob’, ‘What You Do To Me’
Skippable: ‘One I Want’ (Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR)
– by Akaash Sharma