After breaking onto the scene in 2011 with acclaimed release Afterhours, the Toronto duo of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman, A.K.A Majid Jordan, have gone from strength to strength. A record deal with Drake’s OVO label soon followed and co-production credits on Drizzy’s 2013 hit “Hold On We’re Going Home,” from the platinum selling album Nothing Was The Same, cemented the producers at the top of the R&B game.
Building on the foundation of synth grooves and faded vocals, the pair’s outstanding 2014 EP A Place Like This brought mainstream attention from music lovers worldwide. Standout tracks “Her,” “Forever” and the eponymous “A Place Like This” show the production and lyrical depths of the duo. More than anything, A Place Like This reminded the listener that this isn’t some 5am-faded-on-Patron singalong, these are carefully crafted songs of regret and desire. Penned in a blissful love-letter tone, “A Place Like This” is the original goose bump music.
Earlier this week (July 9th), Majid Jordan gave fans a hint of new music with a 20 minute mix entitled [|]. With no track names or pauses the new mix is another step in the evolution of the talented Torontonians. The production has been turned up again: the full flow is steeped in deep bass and downtempo breaks, something only briefly referenced in earlier work.
However, these late-night-jams are unmistakably Majid Jordan. Sprinkled with chopped samples from released and unreleased work the unforgiving bass frequencies compliment the vocals as a haunting “Why d’you wanna be my love?” fades from right speaker to left. This is R&B production at its stripped-down finest: abstaining from auto-tuned hooks and cliché Trap samples.
Majid Jordan followed up the mid-week mix release with a new track this weekend (July 11th). The Drake featured “My Love” is an addictive listen with a Kygo-esque instrumental production; from the piano intro to the reverberating chorus vocals, the complete track carries a dream-like quality. Drake’s feature should be a heavy criticism but it’s subtle and barely recognisable against the rest of the track: “You got your trophies / I know how you like to show em off and shine em, and line em up / I’m not your trophy, baby”.
The 6 God himself dropped the track during an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple’s new Beats 1 radio, showing that OVO and company have big plans for Majid Jordan. A full debut album has been slated for release later this year but as with everything Majid Jordan there has been no official word, it’ll just happen.
Though they share a label with Drake, PartyNextDoor and ILoveMakonen, Majid Jordan are the shining light in this often misunderstood corner of Hip-Hop. Combining melancholy lyrics with intelligent production the limelight-shy Toronto duo just might be the ones to save late-night R&B.
But don’t just take my word for it. Dim the lights, close your eyes, and PressPlay.