|Studio album by |
|Released||April 1, 2016|
|Big Sean chronology|
|Jhené Aiko chronology|
|Singles from Twenty88|
Twenty88 (stylized as TWENTY88) is the debut studio album by American hip hop duo Twenty88 (composed of rapper Big Sean and R&B singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko). It was released on April 1, 2016, by Def Jam Recordings with licensing to GOOD Music and ARTium Recordings. The album features guest appearances from the R&B group K-Ci & JoJo, and recording artist and producer Detail. This project includes production from Detail, KeY Wane, Tommy Brown, Sidney Swift, Cam O'bi, Steve Lacy, Flippa and Jproof. The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200. The name 'Twenty88' mainly derives from both artists' birth year of 1988 and their age of 28 at the time of release.
On March 28, 2016, rapper Big Sean and singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko announced that they were forming a duo, called Twenty88. The Los Angeles singer and the Detroit rapper have previously collaborated on the songs "Beware" (with Lil Wayne) from Sean's second album Hall of Fame (2013), as well as "I Know" from Sean's third album Dark Sky Paradise (2015). According to a press release from Tidal, the album will tell the story of the highs and lows of a relationship, with insights into conflict, memories, love, and sex.
On March 29, Sean and Aiko appeared together on the cover of Flaunt to promote the album, Twenty88. For the cover story, they talked about the origin of the duo Twenty88, and their vision for the album. Jhene Aiko says: "Music now doesn't really cater to the feelings of a real relationship. It's all about trapping and bragging. I feel like this project is something that's needed right now. Especially a whole project is just good for people to see. That duality is a perfect combination. It's a 70's aesthetic, but we're in the future." They draw from various influences: Blaxploitation films, James Bond, and even Ex Machina.
Recording and production
On March 28, 2016, it was revealed that the album would feature the productions from Key Wane, Detail and Tommy Brown. Big Sean and Jhene Aiko explain what fans might expect on the project. According to Uproxx, the album conjures 90's R&B and 70's experimental rock and soul. It also mixes neo-soul, ambient beats, and trap drums courtesy of producers like Da Internz. As a whole, Twenty88 is a departure from each artist's individual sounds. "It's a wide range. It gets turned up, then it gets melodic, then it gets vibed out. It touches all these things, but it sounds very cohesive. We've created another world. Both me and Sean are super into fantasy-driven movies and so combining stuff like robots and sex, that pretty much sums us up. Robots are sexy as shit. We've created these characters that are extensions of ourselves, it's highly sexual."
Release and promotion
On March 27, 2016, Big Sean and Aiko created a Twitter account of Twenty88 showing two videos promoting the album. The first clip shows both Big Sean and Aiko sitting in the backseat of a car, and the second shows Aiko being filmed by a robot while she's likely in the middle of sexual intercourse with Sean. Both of them changed their profile pictures to the same one shown on the account of TWENTY88, an album cover that shows Sean's face next to that of Aiko, who's donning an orange wig. They also both edited their Twitter bios to say, "1/2 of Twenty88," suggesting that Aiko and Sean formed the duo. After posting the short videos, they tweeted a picture of the album cover and wrote, "4/1." That tweet was retweeted by both Sean and Aiko and says the album will be released on April 1, 2016.
On March 31, the two made their television debut as Twenty88 on Jimmy Kimmel Live! by performing "Selfish". Tidal streamed the project exclusively for 72 hours starting on April 1, 2016. It was also available for purchase on iTunes the same day, and shared on other streaming platforms on April 3. On April 4, 2016, the album was made available on Spotify and Apple Music. In the interview with Flaunt, it was revealed that K-Ci & JoJo would be featured on the song, "Two-Minute Warning". The magazine described the song as, "the most sexually explicit song" on the album. After the release of their debut album, on April 8, 2016, the duo released a short video, titled "Out of Love", exclusively on Tidal.
Twenty88 has received positive reviews from music critics. The album received a 72/100 on Metacritic. Scott Glaysher of HipHopDX said, "Twenty88 is a pleasant surprise from two artists who are the top of their respective games. Their chemistry is unquestionable and the music derived from that unique harmony is constantly improving. Whether this is a complete one-off project or if they continue to make music under this duo moniker remains to be seen but for now, these eight songs will tide over the hopeless romantic in everyone."
Patrick Lyons of HotNewHipHop said: "If everything else about these eight tracks was just as bad, it'd be easy to write off, but the true tragedy is that Twenty88 seems like it could have been salvaged if Sean and Aiko just spent some more time writing. There are some truly intriguing concepts and song structures here, especially "Talk Show", where our two stars address each other like they're sitting on the couch of a relationship counseling show. Then there's the music itself. Flippa and frequent Sean collaborator Key Wane handle most of the production, and similarly to dvsn's Sept. 5th, they do an excellent job of updating classic R&B sounds into something sleek and modern. Sampling from sources as varied as Xscape, British DJ Mat Zo, old jazz standard "Sentimental Journey," and an effortlessly breezy '70s soul deep cut, they do a much better job than the vocalists at deploying a bunch of disparate elements for the end goal of creating something thematically linked but episodic. Wane has been steadily building on a Graduation-era Kanye sound for years now, and his work here is yet another marked improvement on his past discography; I had never heard of Flippa before this, but he's just as impressive. They both seem to have put a ton of time into flipping samples, constructing beats, and structuring songs, and it's disappointing when it doesn't feel like the people on the other side of the boards put in nearly as much work."
Twenty88 debuted at number five on the US Billboard 200, selling 48,000 equivalent copies, it sold 40,000 copies in its first week, and has boasted over 8 million streams. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard's Digital Albums, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Rap Albums and R&B Albums.
|3.||"On the Way"||3:23|
|5.||"2 Minute Warning" (featuring K-Ci & JoJo and Detail)||Detail||4:39|
|8.||"London Bridge"||KeY Wane||4:29|
- ^[a] signifies a co-producer.
- "Deja Vu" contains a sample from "Softest Place On Earth" performed by Xscape
- "Selfish" contains a sample from "Time On Your Side" performed by Mat Zo.
- "On the Way" contains a sample from "Sentimental Journey", written by Benjamin Homer, Les Brown and Bud Green and performed by Singers Unlimited
- "Talk Show" contains a sample from "Love's Society" performed by The Natural Four.
- "London Bridge" contains a sample from "It's Good To Be Here" performed by Digable Planets.
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||82|
|Canadian Albums (Billboard)||28|
|UK Albums (OCC)||69|
|US Billboard 200||5|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||1|
|1 April 2016||Digital download||GOOD|
|13 May 2016||CD|
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