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Victoria Monét is fierce and confident on ‘Jaguar II’

Graphic by Ethan Nelson

Victoria Monét is coming into her own artistry after years of writing for other singers. After releasing several singles throughout 2023, the singer-songwriter blessed the world with her second album, “Jaguar II” on Aug. 25. 

Across 11 songs, this project showcases her growth, range and confidence.  

Monét’s latest offering opens with “Smoke” featuring Lucky Daye, known for his 2021 post-breakup track “Over.” Daye is a great addition to this chill, funky track that details her love for cannabis.

The duo is a match made in heaven as they trade strong verses with varying melodies. With an angelic background chorus accompanying Monét and Daye’s similar vocal ranges, “Smoke” is a smooth, dynamic song that I couldn’t get enough of.

Jamaican musician Buju Banton lends his vocals to “Party Girls,” a vibe-heavy track that could’ve been an anthem. It starts soulfully before venturing into an unexpected reggae sound. I wanted to like this song, but Monét’s soft tone ultimately clashes with Banton’s energetic and upbeat verse.

“On My Mama” is a single that preceded the album’s release and quickly gained popularity on social media. With a sample from Texas rapper Charlie Boy’s 2009 single, “I Look Good,” this track reveals Monét’s unrelenting confidence with an addictive hook and feel-good lyrics. The music video is nostalgic, creative and includes cultural references that TikTok users have been talking about for weeks.

It may be a shock to some fans that Monét doesn’t frequently address her current journeys through motherhood and partnership on “Jaguar II.” Instead, she focuses on the full scope of women and their emotions, even in circumstances that she may not relate to.

Songs “Alright” and “I’m The One” are assertive tracks about knowing her worth and not needing a man by her side. The latter is one of my favorites with a thumping, bass-heavy backbeat that perfectly supports her powerful lyrics.

“How Does It Make You Feel” is a passionate love song about recognizing true love and a genuine connection with a partner. It incorporates soft chimes, an enchanting chorus and a beautiful sequence of orchestral music at the end.

Monét puts her heart and soul into the second-to-last track, “Hollywood” which features legendary funk group Earth, Wind & Fire and her daughter. It’s a thought-provoking, passionate and heartfelt song in which Monét muses on achieving childhood dreams and the effects of stardom. At the end, the instrumental fades away into the sweet and infectious sounds of her daughter’s laughter.

“Jaguar II” is relatable, groovy, cohesive and versatile. Monét takes listeners on a journey through different moods and exceeds expectations with each one. She has solidified her presence in the R&B world and it’s only a matter of time before she rises to the top.

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