Ok, so I’m obsessed with this album. I have so many thoughts and feelings. Heaux Tales (pronounced as ho) is a leveled album of female power, reclamation of agency over sex, and some flickers of the old age shame of “ho-ness.” Sullivan interconnects ballads, bangers, and spoken-word segments into one another to create an EP of great songs and great contradictions. Hear me out, songs like Price Tags which boasts about being spoiled is in the same body of work as Put It Down, which sings about pampering a man. Then there are the “tales”, told by Antoinette, Ari Lennox, Donna, Rashida, Precious, and Amanda, narrating moments in their life that intertwine to the album. The tales are similar to mini introductions/conclusions to the songs that either follow or preceded. Honestly, this whole EP is a gem.
**Disclaimer: I am not Blkcory. Blkcory’s interpretation of music is so pure and genuine and comes from a place of pure musical ecstasy. I am not that. So please.. bear with me.
“Bitch, get it together bitch”
She’s speaking to my soul.
Picture this. It’s the end of the night. The club lights are about to turn on. You are delirious and seeing things from over-exhaustion, or you might just be that lit. It’s as if at that moment, that night, that split second, you are in a dream. That following morning in the daylight, you look yourself in the mirror, and you get a flashback from the night before. You think to yourself…”Was he a four, or was he a ten?”
“Niggas cannot handle if a woman takes the same liberties as them
Especially with regards to sex
…Plus, their egos are often way too fragile
To ever handle a woman who owns and has any real agency over her body”
Anotinette shares the sentiments that slut-shaming women have been facing for centuries. She sheds light on the backlash women get from their counterparts when they control their bodies. She sounds powerful and confident, and she is not wrong. There’s nothing I can add… she said it all.
Pick Up Your Feelings
This song depicts the aftermath of a breakup. She belts about the clean-up left after the demise of a relationship. The song takes a page out of Beyonce’s Irreplaceable. While Beyonce focuses on the material items left behind, Sullivan is focused on emotional cleansing. She shouts the title, “don’t forget to pick up your feelings,” while also making statements such as “Memories, all that shit, you can keep it” (a well-divided division of assets). “Put a lock on the door where my heart once was”. All very telling lines to demand that this one man…. he’s got to go physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually out of her life. The track goes hard and has everyone (regardless of gender) shouts out those lyrics.
“That dick, spoke, life into me
Invigoration, blessings, soul, turmoil”
Ari we’ve all been there. (Not precisely the anatomically way she’s directly speaking of.) We all have that person that makes all sense jump out the window .
Put It Down
Off the cusp of Ari’s Tale we morph into Put It Down which continues on the same topic. With lyrics like “He live with his momma but I treat him like a king
Yeah, every time he come around, he got me acting like a fiend”. This type of man is a wizard, a sorcerer, the devil incarnate.. stay away from this type. Nothing but destruction and derailment will come from this type.
On It (feat. Ari Lennox)
This is an incredibly sexual song. However, this song depicts the solid physical attraction that humans feel towards each other. This song is a play-by-play that happens in my mind every time I see Loki in Thor.
Donna tries to take the negativity out of hoeing. She states that everything anyone has ever done could be considered hoeing. I had a client at work once tell me “we are all whores to pay a bill”, I feel like she and Donna would get along well.
Pricetags (feat. Anderson .Paak)
This track is antithetical to Put It Down. While Put It Down talks about providing for your significant other because they “put it down”, Price Tag talks about being provided for, spoiled, having your man (in this case) spend his income on you. This song also has a verse from Anderson Paak that has him realizing in real-time (through each line) that his girl might be in this relationship for financial gain.
Favourite Part: Anderson discovered that the child he thought he had with his girl was not his. Please listen to it yourself as you need to experience it.
Rashida’s piece set up the next song beautifully. Rashida recites a rapid and swiftly ended love story with a former fiancée. You can hear the regret and heartache in her voice, and with a lot of people, you can very likely relate.
Listen, I am a proud woman. I refuse to be vulnerable. I refuse for anyone to think they’ve upset me or broken but damn damn damn, this song. I felt that shit. Worst of all, those are some true sentiments. I don’t want that person to have too much fun. I don’t want them to forget about me and our time together. I’ll be damned if they love someone else. Can you hear the heartache in Jazmine Sullivan’s voice mixed with equal parts petty? The mixture of heartache and petty? Perfect.
“Just don’t have too much fun without me
Don’t have too much, don’t have too much fun
Please don’t forget about me
Try not to love no one”
The way we view relationships, wealth, ourselves, everything correlates with our childhood. Precious tells us about her attraction to financial wealth because she did not possess that growing up. She will be financially stable, and so will her partner because she stated, “money makes me cum”.
The Other Side
The first verse reminds me of Donna Summer’s “Works Hard For The Money”, working a crap job to pay the bills. Quickly the song takes a new route, picturing a new future living a lavish life.
“I’m a move to Atlanta
I’m a find me a rapper
He gon’ buy me a booty
Let me star in the movie
I’m a keep up my fitness
I’m a start me a business
And I’ll never be broke again
Strugglin’, God is my witness”
Jazmine..baby, from your lips to God’s ear.
Amanda speaks about the vulnerability attached to being a woman in a heavy social media period. While she might not feel confident in her appearance, she has discovered her confidence in her sex. She also found her sadness in sex—a dichotomy of emotion rooted in a prominent aspect of her life.
Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.)
“Why in the hell you ain’t choose me?
Why you don’t love me no more?”
I wanted to quote the whole damn song, honestly. I can understand this shit fully. I felt transported back to my high school days when every interest I had gravitated towards the girls in my circle. The heavenly collaboration between Suillivan and H.E.R is one I did not know I needed. Two women smoothly passed the baton back and forth over guitar riffs and harmonies about romantic love’s hardships.
“Boy, you must wanted somethin’ different
Still don’t know what you was missin’
What you asked I would’ve given
It ain’t right how these hoes be winnin'”
If you want to hear a few tracks from the EP, below is Jazmine Sullivan preforming on NPR’s Tiny Desk (with special guest H.E.R)