Commanding yet soft. Sensual yet explicit. Jhene Aiko is the kind of artist that can do it all. She’s a ball of talent that rolls wherever she wants to take you, and she’s created a new wave of R&B along the way. Soft and soulful, Aiko’s soprano cuts through the quiet. She’s ambitious and driven, and she’s proven that throughout her career. Aiko’s sound is multidimensional. It has resonated deeply to her generation, as she’s filled in a gap that’s needed healing and honesty in the industry. Out of her three studio albums and many features, here are the 10 best Jhene Aiko songs you should know about.
10. Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.) ft. Future & Miguel
This song is the ultimate depiction of Aiko’s sense of sensuality. Her body is her own, and she does whatever she wants to do with it. It’s a message that’s common in many of her songs. In Happiness Over Everything, you get a good hear on the quiet complexity of her music. She’s got depth, for sure, especially when she’s singing about all the things we don’t want to talk about.
9. While We’re Young
The video is a shoutout to the movie, 50 First Dates. Aiko’s personality shines in everything she does. While We’re Young is a beautiful love song. There are so elements here musically that ties so perfectly together—from the charming harmonies to the striking electric guitars. Her melody is so simple, yet her delivery and adlibs are executed to perfection. While We’re Young really should be heard by more people.
8. The Pressure
Inspired the things she went through when she was in the process of finishing her LP, The Pressure is one of Aiko’s best lyrical works. It’s a personal song, and you can hear it. She’s always considered her songwriting to be one of her strengths. The California native continuously shows how creative she is and how willing she is to push boundaries.
7. None of Your Concern
Aiko sings about something most people go through in this song. None of Your Concern voices empowerment, moving on, and confidence. It shows the power of standing up to yourself and your emotions. This song is the second single from her Chilombo album and is arguably the best track as well. She sings her heart out here, possibly because of personal attachments to the song. It’s heartbreaking yet liberating at the same time.
This is a heavy song and showcases Aiko’s ability to communicate the difficult scenarios through her music. Stranger, like many songs on her catalog, talks about the men that have caused her pain in her life. The process of love and pain is the same for most people, and Aiko’s song materializes those emotions. It’s also worth mentioning that the beat on the song is just sick. This is when music truly becomes art.
Shake off the negativity and just keep going. Aiko reminds us of this simple fact in her song, W.A.Y.S. It’s a dedication to her late brother, Miyagi, who died from cancer in 2012. Aiko’s brother was a significant part of the singer’s life, and his favorite saying is the acronym that names this song. “Why aren’t you smiling?” Her brother used to say. She’s got it tattooed on her left wrist to remind herself, and she wrote the song to remind us all. W.A.Y.S. isn’t Aiko’s only dedication to her brother. Many of the tracks on her Souled Out album speaks of the grief she was going through after his death.
4. P*$$y Fairy
The variety and the diversity of Aiko’s subject matters is only eclipsed slightly by her boldness in delivery. P*$$y Fairyis as sexual as a song can get, and it’s truly powerful to hear from a woman with so much talent and creativity. She makes explicit sex sound so unapologetically innocent, and it’s way sexier than any twerk song getting blasted unwantedly. Let’s just call Aiko’s class and elegance—two things that are missing from many artists today.
3. Sativa ft. Rae Sremmurd
Sativa is as perfect a collaboration as anyone can get. Aiko’s and Sremmurd’s voices complement each other so well. Their vibes are so hauntingly similar; it’s incredible when they start to harmonize. The song isn’t complicated. It’s a simple melding of voices in a pattern that’s so easy to listen to. Sativa can be on repeat for hours, and one might not notice. Definitely two of the best artists today, Aiko and Sremmurd gave us a blessing with Sativa for many years to come.
2. B.S. ft. H.E.R.
When you combine two of the most talented female artists on one track, you get something the likes of B.S.—a strong and lyrically-driven song. It’s about a lover dealing with an on-again relationship and the repercussions of being with people that aren’t capable of change. Interestingly enough, Aiko’s ex-boyfriend Big Sean helped her write this song.
1. The Worst
Possibly the most popular song in her catalog, The Worst is one of Aiko’s first singles. This song was so unlike anything that was getting airplay at the time. Her offbeat singing here is just on point. It’s emotional and surprisingly real. Aiko propelled into national stardom not too long after this song came out. It was proof that she could go at it alone, that she’s got enough vision and talent to propel herself to incredible heights. We believe The Worst remains to be her best song yet, but there’s a long career ahead of this star.