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Humility is often painted as a superpower that has its strength in being a cornerstone for one’s success. For it to work best, it’s sad that other dominant qualities must be submissive in its presence. Confidence works hand-in-hand with it while pride takes a back seat. The alleged beauty behind humility has been professed in numerous ways by many for centuries upon centuries. Confucius called humility the “solid foundation of all virtues” while Rick Pitino said it’s the “true key to success.” Though these examples are not wrong per se, a more accurate one, arguably, can be credited to William Law who said humility is “nothing else but a right judgment of ourselves.”
The “right judgment” portion of that quote is as subjective as ever and on her new album Jaguar II, Victoria Monét declares her own judgment of self and the world around her. The irony here is that through the project’s 11 songs, Monét’s right judgment of self actually sheds the humility that has lived beside her in a career that’s lasted over a decade. For years, Monét was known for her songwriting as she penned records for Diddy, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Fifth Harmony, Chloe X Halle, Blackpink, and more – all while working on her own music. It wasn’t until recently that the scales of both seemed to even out, something she wished for back in 2020. “[My] songwriting took off before my [own music] so it wasn’t like I made a decision, I was trying to do both,” she explained in Wonderland Magazine interview. “Now I’m just trying to even the playing field.”
Successful songwriters are often left to live in the shadows of the background making for a disconnect between that and their own releases. That hasn’t been the case as of late for Monét. If her 2020 EP Jaguar was the connection and spark, her debut album Jaguar II is the electric field and bright lights that rightfully resulted. Monét shines with blinding radiance on songs that find her as confident as ever from start to finish on her latest release. Whether it be through the shimmering dance number that is the Kaytranada-produced “Alright,” or the sexy and uplifting “Party Girls,” Monét finds a way to be simultaneously jaguar-like in her fearless approach and as sleek and classy as the luxury vehicle that shares her album’s namesake
At the very center of this album, comes multiple swipes at humility. Monét specifically calls out the extinction of humility in her world moments into “On My Mama.” She pierces through each line with unfiltered cockiness while allowing not an inch of doubt to creep into her statements so as to not invalidate them. More indirectly, we see Monét pop the collar of her fur coat on “Cadillac (A Pimp’s Anthem) while mocking the idea that women can’t be pimps. The tone of disgust is prominent on “Stop (Asking Me 4Shyt)” as she’s in disbelief at the requests a man makes to her for money and other items. Lastly, in what is one of the best moments on the album, Victoria Monét paints herself as a flawless gem on “I’m The One,” perfect in all ways and specifically crafted for a lover who fails to see her as this fairytale love story. Humility often calls for a level of timidness and reservation in how one presents themselves, but for Monét this moment had been over a decade in the making. There isn’t room for dimming the light that she wired tirelessly to make shine.
The Victoria Monét that lives throughout Jaguar II isn’t new by any means. Her bold approach was at the center of Jaguar where records like “Ass Like That” and “Moment” marvelously presented her worth as a diamond in the rough. Much of the same is present on Jaguar II, just refined and crafted to a level that makes the multitalented singer’s artistry more pristine than ever. With heavy production from D’Mile, who has laced irresistible and pleasing records for the likes of Ty Dolla Sign, Snoh Aalegra, Lucky Daye, HER, Mary J. Blige, Silk Sonice, and more Victoria Monét had the necessary tools, both internal and external, to achieve that excellence that is Jaguae II. As she boldly proclaimed on her latest project, Victoria Monét is the one. So yes, humility to the wind and everything else like it. Her blinding radiance looks better and makes for the ideal ingredient in her recipe for success.
Jaguar II is out now via RCA Records/Lovett Music, Inc. Find out more information here.