The self-proclaimed King Of R&B is back with a new single, and the streets are already eating it up. Fans are saying “yes” to Jacquees’ latest offering “Say Yea,” a clear extension of the traditional R&B roots the heartthrob loves and respects. The music video shows the 28-year-old wooing his girlfriend over dinner while also trying to impress her father, who is played by none other than R&B veteran Keith Sweat.
In this exclusive interview with REVOLT, Jacquees talks about the leaders of today’s R&B generation, which rapper he would do a collaborative album with, and one question he would love to ask Michael Jackson if he were alive today. Get into our chat below.
Your single “Say Yea” is out right now, and the music video has a very special cameo appearance from Keith Sweat. How did you lock that in and what made you choose him for the visual?
Shout out to the homie Keith Sweat, first and foremost. Now, we previously had a run-in with the whole ‘King Of R&B’ conversation and from that day, it was just a lot of respect. I’ve talked to him and he put me in the corner and sat me down — we formed a relationship. After forming that relationship, he became like a mentor to me. While I was making this new album, I knew I was ready to shoot a video for the new single. I thought to myself, ‘It would be super dope if I had Keith Sweat in it just so the people can see we have a great relationship now’ — while also colliding the old school with the new school. Big shout out to Keith for coming through. We had a good time at the shoot. He’s super funny and full of energy. It was dope.
You always pay homage to the R&B legends by featuring them on your records, too. Will Keith make an appearance on your new album?
We were talking about a potential remix with Keith for the new single ‘Say Yea’ but we haven’t done it yet. It was a conversation about it since he was in the video — we spoke about how dope it would be. That’s something we’re thinking about.
Future is set to produce your upcoming album. What made you feel he would be the best choice to help you craft the new project? Also, he’s revered as the toxic king while you’re known as a lover, so what was it like to work with each other?
Future is like my big bro and he’s always been somebody who has supported me. We from the same side of the city in Atlanta — from the east side. Future has always been there for me, like, behind the scenes, so now it’s time to bring it to the forefront. He always tells me it’s time for me to be up here and how he wants to help me do it. I was in the studio playing music, and Future says how he’s going to put the whole album together for me and produce my third album. This one is especially big — the third album has to be big. He reassured me that he’s gonna make sure the album is a huge success and that’s what Future did — we came up with a masterpiece. To answer the second part of your question, everyone has a soft side. As men, we was trained to be tough and not cry — don’t show your emotions. We were told to not do this, don’t do that. We were kind of taught wrong. Everybody has their side where they want to love — in this project, you’ll hear a lot of that.
Speaking of love, you recently retweeted “overdue for some romantic sh*t.” Are you trying to be cuffed up for the summer? What are the qualifications you’re looking for in a lady?
Well, I’m still a man, you know what I’m saying (laughs)? But I look for smart women, hard-working, they have a drive, fun, spontaneous, loving, caring, and can hold her own. She can have a nice smile and make me laugh.
What stories are you looking to share with the world on this next project?
This album is personal. It’s dedicated to everybody that has been there with me along the way — no matter how it turned out, you was still apart of it. That’s what the whole album is about.
Who are you planning on collaborating with?
My album wrapped, but I do have collaborations with Summer Walker and 6lack that’s going to be my next single.
As you mentioned, the third full-length project has to be big. Normally, it makes or breaks an artist’s career. Do you feel any pressure?
I don’t feel any pressure but I do feel excited. I am excited to put this music out there. I love a challenge and I’m always prepared for one. I really know the music is going to be good — I have 100% confidence in the music. This is the type of music the fans want to hear from me. The album not only sounds really good, but it’s also mixed really good, too, along with the production. I already know people are going to really like it and to have Future attached as well as support the album — it’s a win, win situation.
Your last album was called King Of R&B. Do you still hold the crown, and do you think there’s a reigning Queen of R&B? If so, who?
Let’s start with the first part of your question — I’m going to always hold the crown. I don’t even feel like I have to say it again. I’ll let the music do the talking. Nobody can ever drop another album called ‘King Of R&B.’ If someone tried to come out with the ‘King Of R&B’ title now, it would be … eh. I said it, it’s there, and I’m not changing it. I’m very humble about it. But as far as the Queen of R&B, there’s so many dope women in R&B, I’ll let them crown themselves. Shout out to all the ladies — they all queens, honestly. I’ll let them crown themselves though.
How does it feel to be a part of the long list of artists in the “baby-making music” category?
It’s dope — making the world a better place and making the world go ’round (laughs). These people are making babies off of what I’m saying, which is dope. That’s already legendary. Parents already have stories to tell their kids about how they came about from playing one of my records. Then, their kids will ask who Jacquees is — they look me up and a whole other generation is listening to me now. I’m just thankful for it all. I’m thankful to be able to have an impact on the world with my music.
Who do you consider to be the veterans and leading artists of R&B currently?
I definitely feel like I’m one of the vets due to what I bring to R&B. You can’t ever forget about Chris Brown, Keith Sweat, Tank, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz, and Usher. Shout out to all the new guys coming up — I like all of their music. Everyone is doing their thing.
If you could make a collaborative album with anyone, who would it be and why?
I kind of want to do a Best of Both Worlds album with a rapper. Besides that, I think me and Chris Brown would be dope — we already have an album we recorded in 2018. We never dropped it, but I want the world to hear that one day.
Who would the rapper be if you were to do the Best of Both Worlds album?
Right now? Probably me and Lil Baby. That’d be dope — that’d be outta here, actually.
In Bobby Brown’s biopic, there was a special and powerful moment where Usher was able to give Bobby his flowers. If you had a a chance to sit face to face with your biggest inspiration and give them their flowers, who would it be?
Michael Jackson, no question.
If you could ask him one question, what would it be?
You’re known for your Quemixes. Is there a record out right now that you would give the Quemix treatment to?
Oh yeah, a few records, but I’m so focused on my album and original music that I don’t want a Quemix to distract anybody because they can be very distracting. It’s a love/hate thing — more love than hate. I’m gonna probably do some more Quemixes after the album drops because I really want people to pay attention and hear the original music. I really feel like I have something to prove. Even though I dropped original hits and original music, it feels like I get overlooked because of the Quemixes. I want to make sure I’m totally focused on original music so people can give me my flowers as an artist that makes original hits, and then we can go back to the Quemixes.
As Black musicians continue to dominate and become more versatile, in what other ways would you like to see Black artists progress in the music industry?
I think we doing a lot, bro — we run the industry. Shout out to everybody, but I feel like Black artists run the industry. We create the tone, we set the way, and everybody follows. We have all types of flavors. You can go see a Jacquees, you can go see a H.E.R., you can see a Summer Walker, Usher, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, and the list continues. We just have to keep elevating. I think it’s dope seeing us get all of these Grammys — if we keep doing what we doing, we’ll keep elevating on the ladder.
You’re performing throughout the summer. Is there a tour in the works and if so, what’s the vibe?
The tour will definitely happen after the album, and the album is definitely dropping this summer. Right after the summer, I should be gearing up for a tour. Of course, I’ll post all the dates on my socials when the time comes to keep everybody informed.
My shows are a lot. It’s a real show. It’s very entertaining. When people come to my shows — if they weren’t a fan, they leave as a fan. Or, even if they saw me perform, the more they come to my shows, the more you become a fan. I leave it out there every time and I try to bring something different to the show every time, especially for tourists. I have king chairs and colors — it’s a sexy vibe. This new tour is a little different since I’m getting older. It’s going to be really sexy. It’s gonna be something for the ladies and the fellas because I have female dancers so the guys can be engaged — it’s something for everybody. Coming to one of my tours is like the Jacquees experience.
Are there any other ventures or another lane you want to explore outside of selling records?
I definitely want to get involved in movies and television for sure. I feel like I’d be real dope as an actor.
Have you been auditioning? Or, is there already a project fans can tune into?
I had a chance but I didn’t really get to show my acting abilities. Nick Cannon shot a movie called She Ball and I’m in there a little bit, but I really didn’t get to get my debut — but I’m still in a movie. I did a couple auditions. I probably have some stuff coming in the near future, but I’m also working on a few things on my own with my director BPace Productions. We’ve been coming up with different ideas to pitch to these networks. If you watch towards the end of my video ‘Say Yea,’ you can see I’m showing a little bit of my acting chops.
What is something you would like to accomplish before the year ends?
I would like to get full recognition for the work I put in as an artist. I want to see the jokes turn into straight facts about real stuff about my music. It’s not a goal for me, but a goal for the world. One of my personal goals is to stay focused — I’ve been really focused this year. Put myself first and stay focused. Get to where I need to go.
Lastly, who are you bumping on your playlist right now?