Atlanta-born R&B artist Chase Shakur has just released his deluxe full-length project, It's Not You, It's Me… It's Love, and it is everything you could ever want it to be. However, Chase was never an overnight success. With over a dozen singles and an album dating back to 2018, Chase's sound has developed into one of maturity and authenticity.
Enough talk. How is the album?
We were teased with two singles: “Sink or Swim” and “X’s and O’s,” the former being a soft-spoken, late-night ballad, and the latter being a groovy, confessional R&B hit. These two singles truly represent the breadth of Chase's abilities, which shine even further on the full-length LP.
It's Not You, It's Me… It's Love opens with “No More Cryin’,” where Chase wears his heart on his sleeve, venting about losing his love over a beautiful neo-soul (borderline jazz) instrumental landscape. Just as we expect to be swept into the next track, Chase introduces a pulsating synth and a trap-soul drumbeat, foreshadowing his ability to perform over these more contemporary R&B sounds.
It's not long after this that we hear “Slide,” a neo-R&B jam oozing sex and romance: “Give you heaven in your thirties, baby, I'm not shy.” Chase's authentic confidence here as a lyricist and songwriter creates a vivid story for any listener to follow. A thumping bass and kick drum supporting spacey synths and Chase's floating vocal melodies create a phenomenal atmosphere on ‘Slide.’
The final three tracks of the album, “Nite,” “Exit 65,” and “You're So Lovely,” were all added for the deluxe version of the album, and these ones definitely have a different feel to them. “Nite” has a dancehall instrumental with beautiful falsetto vocals, while “Exit 65” captures a more similar vibe to the other album tracks; however, the drum kit mix is notably more raw and untouched. “You're So Lovely” closes the album, and it's undeniably one of the best tracks here. An acoustic guitar supported by a string section, added behind Chase's catchy vocal melodies (that are formant-pitched, enabling a unique vocal sound), truly create a beautiful closing track that doesn't even need any drums to keep the listener engaged.
This album has something for everyone. Chase Shakur combines the instrumental variety of Brent Faiyaz, the vocal sincerity and authenticity of Sampha, and the hit-making ability of SZA. This album is far from just another R&B record; hip-hop, soul, trap, and funk all make their way into It's Not You, It's Me… It's Love, and Chase does a phenomenal job of showcasing his ability to excel in a breadth of songwriting styles.