Nu King

Nu King

The first thing you’ll notice about Jason Derulo’s fifth album is that the sneakily influential singer has reinstated his grand tradition of dramatically singing his own name. (Having pledged to retire the famous ad-lib years ago, he addressed his return to the habit on a talk show in 2020, stating cheekily, “Well, it’s a bigger hit if I sing my name at the front.”) Nearly a decade passed between the Floridian’s fourth album, 2015’s Everything Is 4, and its follow-up, which might explain the sprawling 27-song tracklist that explodes with audacious and occasionally deeply strange choices, like lead single “Spicy Margarita,” a collaboration with Michael Bublé that imagines what Dean Martin might sound like were he to perform at Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival. Nu King splits the difference between turn-up and heartache, with its fair share of cinematic twists: ’80s-inspired infidelity anthem “Favorite Song” is a wild ride that ends with the audible clank of prison bars. But mostly, the Haitian American singer’s on island time, floating over slow-winding Afro-Caribbean rhythms on tracks like “Ayo Girl” and “Jalebi Baby.” The guest list overflows with heavy hitters: Derulo recruits Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign for the Ol’ Dirty Bastard-referencing “Swalla,” taps YoungBoy Never Broke Again for the gently turnt “Mad Love,” and reprises his Imogen Heap-sampling classic “Whatcha Say” on the Dido flip “When Love Sucks.”

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