Review: Jodeci Doesn’t Live Up to Their Legacy on ‘The Past, the Present, the Future’

Jodeci is no SWV.

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Image via Complex Original
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The Past, the Present, the Future

0 2.5 out of 5 stars
Sphinx Music Entertainment
Featured Guest(s):
AV, B.o.B, Mila J, Liana Banks
Devante Swing, Louis Burrell, Lajuanna Burrell, Breyon Prescott, Timbaland
Release Date :
March 27, 2015

It’s a shame how a moment you’ve been waiting for for so long finally comes and when it does, you nearly miss it due to newfound indifference. I have waited for a new Jodeci album since I went into my sister’s box of CDs and took her copy of The Show, the After-Party, the Hotel. I have obsessed over Jodeci since I was child (full disclosure: I was barely alive when their first album was released). In second grade, when a group of my friends and I all pretended to be Jodeci, I was Mr. Dalvin. I still listen to “Come and Talk to Me” regularly. The same goes for their fantastic second album, Diary of a Mad Band

I love Jodeci. 

And yet, once I actually remembered that the group’s new album, The Past, the Present, the Future, was out, I was petrified to listen. None of the songs the group put out prior to the album’s release—“Nobody Wins” featuring B.o.B, “Every Moment,” and “Checkin for You”—were worth more than one-and-a-half listens. So, when it was time for me to listen to the album in full, I called up Crown Royal Apple and prayer warriors to get me through it. 

I’m so glad I did because this album is one you will have to work hard to forget for the sake of preserving all of your positive memories of Jodeci. This album ain’t it. Not even a little bit of it. It’s not even half the "i" in “it.”

The song’s opener, “Too Hot,” sounds like it was dug out of a box labeled “1998.” In fact, when you hear the line, “Pretty face like Lauryn, body like Mya,” you’re almost certain that this song was written before Willow Smith was born. 


When the lyrics don’t sound old, they come across as eternally gross. This album screams “songs your nasty uncle you could never be alone with” music. On “Those Things,” you hear the line, “Maybe later on I can get my tongue in your mouth (WET AND DEEP, GIRL)." I immediately want to reach for hand sanitizer after writing that. The song itself borrows lines from “Come and Talk to Me” and “Freek’n You.” It just makes you sad for the good days, now confirmed to be forever gone. 

A lot of lyrics are just corny. Take the hook for “Stress Receiver,” which goes, “You are my stress reliever, my sex receiver.” Jodeci was never a group known for subtlety, but there was always something especially cool about them. Unfortunately, this is their 20-year high school reunion and life has beat it completely out of them.

There’s also the sad reality of their depleted voices. Well, Mr. Dalvin never sang (he raps a little on the new album, and in sum, no) and Devante served as the producer and writer. That means K-Ci and JoJo did most of the legwork, and whew, do they have arthritis. You notice it mostly on “Jennifer,” which by the way, sounds like the two made the entire thing up as they went along. It also sounds like a fake ass “Lately,” for what it’s worth.


There are some highlights on the album. Mila J sounds good on “Body Parts.” The song itself isn’t great given it has lines like, “Grippin’ on me baby like you’re grippin’ that Bacardi.” Still, Mila J’s portions are enjoyable; I really hope the world makes room for her. Another guest, Liana Banks, is the highlight of the not so bad  “Sho Out.”

Let’s hear it for the youth, y’all.

As for the album itself, I will likely never listen to it again and pretend that it never happened. It pains me to write this, because again, Mr. Dalvin used to be my spirit animal. However, The Past, the Present, the Future proves Jodeci’s past is fantastic, their present is pretty rocky, and they have a future that I am no longer interested in.

The only R&B group from the 1990s that has thus far proven itself still creatively viable in a decade way past their peak is SWV. So be it.

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem, and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him @youngsinick.

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