Notable hooks: "Beware," "From Time," "Stay Ready (What a Life)"
With a seductive, ethereal voice that floats on the track like a fine wisp of smoke, Jhené Aiko has crafted some of the year's most sensual hooks. Drake recruited her for the spare, piano-driven "From Time," a pivotal track on his blockbuster Nothing Was the Same album. The song features Drake reflecting on love and loss, with Aiko playing a love interest who finds the Young Money star unable to reciprocate her passion. She took a similar role in Big Sean's "Beware," where she warns everyone to "Beware, beware, beware/Of a woman with a broken heart."
It could be said that Jhené Aiko is just the go-to songstress for a rapper looking to talk about relationships, but this explanation downplays her own role in the collaboration. The L.A. beauty excels because she brings you into her world through her voice, and her contributions bring emotions out in everyone she works with. These skills are on full display on last year's Sail Out EP, where she coaxed out the softer side of rappers like Childish Gambino ("Bed Peace") and Kendrick Lamar ("Stay Ready (What A Life)") in addition to scoring one of her biggest hits with her pining "The Worst." When searching for a self-reflective or emotional hook, look no further than Jhené Aiko. —Chris Mench