Montell Jordan

Life After Def

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The title Life After Def is a reference to Montell Jordan's departure from the Def Soul imprint, a member of the Def Jam family of labels. According to Jordan, Def Soul's constant efforts to re-create the massive success of "This Is How We Do It" caused him to record subpar party anthems that he couldn't stand behind. When he finally got to record his deep and personal self-titled album, Def Soul failed to work it and it barely caused a blip on the radar. The sincere and heartfelt Life After Def's impact is only slightly weakened by 2002's Montell Jordan. This is the second time listeners have traveled down this road in two years, but this time Jordan's return to form includes more commentary and disappointment about the state of contemporary R&B. Def Soul's non-support is addressed right away on "The Big Man's Back," when a news reporter asks if this is his fifth or sixth album. The album drops the subject for a while and offers the slinky funk of "Aight" and "True" instead. "I'm Going Krazy (Straight Bananas)" is one of the loosest and most playful Jordan numbers ever as the singer explains that a lady is driving him "bananas" and "ba-noodles." It's a funky riot, but the real highlight of the album ends up being "Denise" and its intro. "Denise" asks why superstar rappers have to be awkwardly inserted on every R&B album in the 2000s before Jordan breaks into his own aloof rap à la Bootsy. It's all part of his doing everything in-house, with Jordan's JorJa Black team handling all the production. There's a bit of filler, but Life After Def is one of Jordan's most convincing and satisfying albums, untarnished by the usual clichés.

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