Decatur, Georgia-bred vocalist Jacquees consciously put his name in the hat when he named his album "King of R&B" two years ago, and it’s been a topic of discussion ever since.

By N. Ali Early —

The debate over “the best” or “the greatest” entertainer will almost certainly rage on as long as there is music to be heard and speakers to play it through. Decatur, Georgia-bred vocalist Jacquees consciously put his name in the hat when he named his album King of R&B two years ago, and it’s been a topic of discussion ever since.

The Cash Money crooner’s proclamation came to a head when he literally bumped into Keith Sweat at the 2018 Winterfest in Atlanta. The initial altercation, which saw him hastily explain his position as the “king of this generation,” quickly went viral, leaving many to wonder if there was real friction between the two. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, even though Jacquees admitted he thought Sweat was going to “whoop” him before they squashed things during an interview with Big Tigger and Tank.

“I didn’t know it was Keith Sweat,” he recalls. “I was moving fast. I’m in my zone, just got offstage [and]  … I go in not knowing it’s Keith Sweat. The camera’s on. … I’m just going and Greg Street came in my room, and he was like, ‘Jacquees, that’s Keith Sweat. You got to come back out here.’

“So I went out there with Street. [Sweat] pulled me in the corner. He was like, ‘Hey, young n—-, you know I made Silk. I did this. I did that …’ He was just running it. And I was like, ‘Damn, OG. My bad.’ He was like, ‘Nah, but I like you. I like your confidence.’ From that day, [we’ve been cool].”

While he completely embraced the idea of being top dog of his era then and continues to do so today, Jacquees revealed to rolling out that he was actually anointed “king” by an unlikely source.

“The concept for King of R&B was really just me stamping my generation for who I want to be for years to come, and I was just like, it’s now or never. I got to do it right now, or I can never do it. I can’t let another artist come out and do it. … I actually heard another radio DJ say it on the radio. He was calling me the ‘King of R&B’ after I performed at a certain radio station function.

“He was just like, ‘If you got kids, Jacquees is the King of R&B. He’s everywhere.’ He was like, ‘for his generation,’ and I just ran with it.”

That album — his second full-length project for Cash Money Records — originally was called Round 2. However, after some dialogue with label execs and other confidants, team Jacquees firmly accepted the revelation as a blessing. With RIAA-certified platinum hits like “B.E.D.,” “At The Club” and “You” to his credit and more on the way, it was a foregone conclusion that Jacquees had the potential to live up to the billing.

It’s hard to determine what could have been since the release of the album and the global pandemic coincided with tour dates and promotions. However, Jacquees’ name remains one of the most sought-after in the music industry, as evidenced by his inclusion in this year’s Black Music Honors, where he pays tribute to R&B icon Ginuwine.

“Man, honoring Ginuwine was everything,” he says of the experience. “Ginuwine [is] a legend. For him to want me to be there and perform, it meant a lot to me. ‘Pony’ was one of the first records I ever heard, period, in music. So, just to go down and perform ‘So Anxious’ and to get his reaction, it was crazy. Everybody loved me. Ginuwine, the legend himself, standing ovations, the whole nine. It was everything that I thought it was going to be.”

Ginuwine was so impressed by the performance that he weighed in on the debate, leaving no doubt about his opinion of Jacquees’ standing.

“He told me I was the king,” Jacquees discloses, “for this generation, of course. Ginuwine is one of the OGs that shows the young boys love. He’s not one of the guys that rains on your parade. He’s somebody who’s gonna clap you on.”

Speaking of supportive legends, Jacquees has managed to engage Sweat on new levels and their relationship actually has matured in ways many onlookers never imagined.

“I was just at his crib last week recording a record,” he reveals. “We got like two records in the can. He just calls me with concepts. We [share] ideas. [It’s] like that.”

Those concepts and more will likely play out on Jacquees’ third full-length album, P.T.O.F. (Panties Thrown On the Floor), as the self-proclaimed King of R&B embarks on a new journey with the same ole swag.

(Images by Donna Permell. The post Jacquees earns stripes with R&B legends while claiming his kingly throne appeared first on Rolling Out.)