Jon B : Pleasures You Like

R&B's own Eminem releases his less-than-impressive third opus...

Despite the two albums already under his belt (the 1995 debut ‘Bonafide’ and 1997’s ‘Cool Relax’), little is known about Jon B apart from the fact that he’s R&B’s answer to Eminem. Though a lot less successful. Aside from 1997’s stomper ‘They Don’t Know’, his mediocre albeit cutting-edge fusion of seductive hip hop soul and gushy R&B, has not left any lasting impact on the genre.

And, frankly, ‘Pleasures U Like’ is unlikely to bring about any drastic change in Jon’s profile. Collaborating with Babyface (the man who discovered him), he’s taken the production chair and the pen for much of the (20 track!) LP, and the result is a sea of rather bland harmonies, limp beats and a ballad avalanche that borders on the tedious.

Lyrically, and often with beauty (“Tonight I’ll make it rain down inside when I kiss you goodnight”, from the track ‘Inside’), he sets himself up as the scorned woman’s dream, but delivers without the vocal shine that a balladeer needs. Where he does shine is a few notches uptempo, teaming up with Nas on the breezy club-cut ‘Don’t Talk’, or with AZ on probably the collection’s crown jewel, the sultry and sophisticated ‘Layaway’.

Faith Evans also steps in on one of the more forgettable ballads, ‘Overjoyed’, and its begs the question: Jon’s guests may help to improve his credibility, but does he have the clout to do them any favours?

Diana Evans