The gaps in Jeremih's career—the long stretches between singles, the painfully protracted album rollouts—can be frustrating and confounding, but his patient fans are always rewarded eventually. Last week, he released "I Think of You," the first single from his upcoming album, Later That Night, and it's a string of lovable moments. It's satisfying heard just once, but the details keep bringing you back. The bassline is somewhat reminiscent of Montell Jordan's "Get It On Tonite" but isn't a sample. That little bite of Chris Brown's voice that pops up in the opening seconds and repeats throughout. The dreamy register Jeremih slips into for the chorus and its slinky melody. I've listened to the song five or six times while writing this and I'll keep it on throughout the day.
As the rollout for Later That Night commences (hopefully it'll be smoother than the one for Late Nights: The Album), Jeremih spoke with Complex from Brazil about how "I Think of You" went from being a T.I. collaboration to its current iteration, what happened on his tour with Partynextdoor, and what to expect from the conclusion of his celebrated Late Nights series.
How did you, Chris Brown, and Big Sean get together for "I Think of You"?
Jeremih: I was sitting on that record for a minute. That song kicked off about two years ago with me and T.I. originally. That's the first person I thought to put on and no joke, he sent it back the very next day, and I really love that version of the song. It lasted the test of time and about three months ago, ["I Think of You" producer] Yung Berg had mentioned Chris Brown, said he had played it for him, and [Brown] threw a verse on it. I was like, Damn, that's crazy. So we had that song, just me and him, for a second. And then the bridge, which I actually fell in love with too, we omitted now that Big Sean came through with his verse. Big Sean actually threw two verses on there, but I think he kept the better of the two.
Why did you sit on the song for so long?
I got archives of records. I have records from when I was 17 that I still think are pretty dope. I didn't know quite where I wanted to go with this album, but when I realized that it would be the closing chapter to my Late Night series, I was like let's kick it off with a little bit more growth. Show people a different side of what I do musically. As crazy as it sounds, I think the mixtape I did with Chance for Christmas is a preface [for this sound]. I felt that if you heard that tape there shouldn't have been no surprise when you heard "I Think of You."
And there's "Living Single," which has a similar feel.
We actually did that on the J.Cole tour, so that record is about a year old now too. That just lets you see how gold never gets old. That's how I feel about my music. If I finish a song, it's because I really like it. People send me records and if don't like them, I won't do them, I don't care how much money you offer.
Later That Night is going to be the last part of the Late Night series. Is this also your last album with Def Jam?
Right now, yes. I mean, as far as my understanding, yeah. But I feel like, you know, it's all timing. It's been a solid couple years since I've been out. Right now, I've never felt as strong about just steppin' into a booth. I feel like Mike when he was in North Carolina—I'm finna go to the Bulls right now. You know, I don't feel like I've played on the Bulls yet—really showcased what I'm capable of. I think it's gonna be a great year.
We're seeing more and more artists making moves outside of the label system, like Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper. Do you feel like that's your next move? Or do you want to stay with Def Jam?
Well, to each his own. Everybody has their own story. Def Jam, they've shown nothing but love as far as supporting my records. We haven't missed yet, radio-wise, and every song that they've actually tried to support has been No. 1. Without a video and all, without a TV appearance and everything. I would love to continue to work with someone that can put me in that seat.
Once I put out this this album, I plan on doing [a tour]. I haven't been on a tour by myself at all. If people love this new record, I'm curious to think what they would think of the other records, that I feel as strong about as "I Think of You."
Does Later That Night have a release date?
No. But I have a projected date in my head that I feel like would be great timing. "Don't Tell 'Em" was released two years before I actually dropped Late Nights: The Album. And then "Planez" was a year later, and that got me on the J. Cole tour. And then "Oui" was released a couple months before the album dropped. Effortlessly, I feel like my records have longevity. Right now, I don't want to rush nothin, I'm not trying to force nothin. I'm a firm believer in timing. I don't want to waste time, either, but I feel like I might as well just give it to my fans—they deserve it the most—this year for sure.
Would you ever co-tour again, after what happened with Partynextdoor?
Yeah. I don't have no issues with Party. That was my first tour, besides the J. Cole tour, that I had been on. There's a lot that I had to learn. And it was one of those things where our teams had differences, not necessarily me and him. Ain't nothing against me or Party right now. If I bumped into him right now, I don't think it'd be too much of any beef. It's just kind of one of those situations where, you know, there's a lot of— show by show, it was starting to be a lot of differences that I started to notice, and I just couldn't take that anymore.
I'm definitely open to co-tour with anyone that I'm rockin with. If it was up to me, my essential tour this year would be me, Big Sean, and Chris Brown. We could probably kill for the whole year. But that's just me.
And what happened during that Houston date? There were rumors that you used a stunt double.
[Jeremih's publicist interjects. A pause.] I was there in Houston, just to answer that question.
You were there in Houston. Okay. Moving on, is that a Montell Jordan sample on "I Think of You"?
You know what, I saw that but I never heard Montell [on the song]. Actually, when I heard the beat, it made me think of, immediately, Mike. I was in there with Young Berg in the studio, and he was just like, Yo, go Mike on them. I've been seeing people post [about Montell Jordan], and I had to go back and listen to the song myself and I could hear similarities with the beat, but it's actually not a Montell Jordan sample. I'm curious to see how that's going to work out, as far as his camp goes and what they might believe. As for my understanding, it's not a Montell Jordan sample.
Is there a sample on that song?
I believe there's a live guitarist, actually, who plays for Chance. He hit me up and was like, Yo you didn't know but I'm actually on your new single. I was like, Shit, that's dope. But I don't think it's a sample as far as I know, but I didn't make the beat. I just did the words and the lyrics.