Toronto has produced some of the today’s most popular musicians ranging from Hip Hop head, Drake to PBR&B titan, The Weeknd. And what’s more is, many of these talents are featured on Drake’s record label, October’s Very Own (stylized as OVO Sound). OVO is host to ILoveMakonnen, PartyNextDoor, Drake, OB O’Brien, and Majid Jordan, with a majority being Torontonians by birth. But out of all these talents, how many went to the University of Toronto? The answer is, just two.
Musical duo Majid Jordan comprised of friends, vocalist, Majid Al Maskati and producer, Jordan Ullman. The two met in 2011 as undergraduate students and according to Majid Jordan’s “About” page, the duo created music in Ullman’s basement and dorm room before continuing to produce music independently (operating then as Good People) until they were discovered by Drake and signed to the OVO Sound label in 2013. Most notably, the duo were featured on Drake’s 2013 Nothing Was the Same on the album’s second single, “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” After being discovered and signed, Majid Jordan released their first EP, titled A Place Like This, which features the tracks “Her” and “A Place Like This.”
Majid Jordan’s sound has been described Vibe critics as “the more romantic voice of voice of OVO 2.0” and “honeyed ecstasy.” Torontoist.com writer, Ryan B. Patrick writes that the duo “serve up light and airy slices of R&B-flavoured pop.” Majid Jordan’s sound is certainly a mix of new and old and as up-and-coming pioneers of the post-modern era of R&B, there are one to look out for. Because I am an actual fan of their music, I have also taken the liberty to invite others to check them out by giving a breakdown of their EP A Place Like This. I have listened to each of the 5 tracks one-by-one, and have rated each song by Drakes with 5 Drakes as the highest score possible.
Here are my opinions about the album as a whole:
Track 1 – “Forever”: The intro is echoic and really brings you in while the lyrics are simple and clear. This is definitely a dance-type beat of something that you could play at the gym. The hook will also get stuck in your head and you might find yourself singing it aloud as you walk into the street. In fact, the whole composition of the track strikes me something out of a very hipster musical; almost like one of the characters is walking down the block to meet up with their lover – if that were the case, this is totally what they’d be singing. I give it 3.5/5 Drakes.
Track 2 – “All I Do”: Still got that staccato intro of piano keys, but way less echoic. Majid’s voice is very soft, like the pelt of a cat and he sounds like the kind of guy that you’d want to grab a slice with. As the song plays on, you’re transported into the 80’s with these super awesome synth and drum sounds and a sweet chorus that reminds me of 90’s R&B bands like Bel Biv Devoe – but that could just be me. I give it 3.5/5 Drakes
Track 3 – “Her”: Okay, this is by far my favorite song on the EP. It’s just so catchy and Majid’s voice is silky smooth. The lyrics are also romantic, no surprise there, but there is something much more polished and finalized about the musical composition which is both haunting and energetic at the same time. Very 90’s but with a modern twist. The track feels more like the sound you are likely to hear paired with the cool rap of Drake on something like “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” So if you like that kind of sound, then this is the one for you. I give it 5/5 Drakes.
Track 4 – “U”: The intro makes me think of Katz’s theme from Courage the Cowardly Dog which I am totally cool with because that was my jam in the early 2000’s. This track is darker than the previous and almost seems like it’s about the loss of Her from “Her.” It’s not as “I’m gonna get drunk and cry about my ex” as something you would hear on a Drake album, but it’s certainly not upbeat. But I’m kinda completely okay with that. I can dig it. I give this track 4/5 Drakes.
Track 5 – “A Place Like This”: Ok so Majid Jordan are really into this whole echo thing. They really like to leak into the song and start at a whisper before growing to a dull roar. Majid keeps repeating this “uh huh” sound after every verse which makes me think of Elvis, but in a good way? Like a kind of Kensington Market Elvis via Brooklyn? Is that what I’m looking for? God I’m so bad at this, but honestly the sound is pretty much the same with different lyrics. I give this one 3.5/5 Drakes.
Final Verdict: So this album received a total score of 19.5 out of 25 Drakes which puts it at around a 78% approval rating which is basically a 4 star EP. Maji Jordan is not for everyone, I think you really have to be into this new PBR&B wave of people like Frank Ocean or the Weeknd (certainly the Weeknd) but if you are into that kind of thing then I strongly recommend you give this EP listen. I look forward to more from this group and you’ve gotta love the alum talent pouring out of the U of T!