Take the Throne
It’s a cold night in early November. While celebrating the release of King of R&B, Jacquees just had a very long press day, including his performance on The Wendy Williams Show. He is exhausted but fulfilled and illuminated.
For 25-year-old singer-songwriter Jacquees, real name Rodriquez Jacquees Broadnax, the “King of R&B” moniker is not something he takes lightly. It isn’t meant as a slight to anyone as he recognizes the legends of the past and the ones still active. When he proclaimed it on Instagram, it wasn’t to cause an uproar; it was merely a vote of confidence in himself – confidence that he can fulfill his potential, the potential that not everyone always saw, but he did. And so did his mother, who bought him a karaoke machine and saw her then-9-year-old son singing and dancing like Michael Jackson.
The Atlanta-based crooner grew up on not only Michael Jackson, but The Jackson 5 and all the greats of the Motown era. Broadnax says his childhood was normal: go to school, join sports teams, and play outside. “My childhood was fun. I did everything regular kids get to do,” he shares. While most regular kids don’t know what their future holds, however, he always knew that singing was a part of his plans (“As soon as I found out I could sing, I got in a competition”) and went on to record and release music at the age of 14. Around that time, though, he hit puberty. “That’s the first thing that crushed [my] heart,” he recalls. “But luckily, my voice went back and got better. It was light and got deep, and it went back light.”
With his vocal ability, Broadnax presents an old-school feel with contemporary production and, of course, the drawn-out notes that have become synonymous with his music. He “stuck his foot” into the industry with his first commercial release, 19. He then signed with Birdman’s Cash Money Records and hasn’t looked back.
With Billboard-charting singles like “B.E.D.” and “You,” and a successful debut album 4275 that officially put him on the map, Broadnax has seen himself taking the next step and cementing his legacy. His new album King of R&B opens with a track called “King” featuring T.I., who made similar waves earlier in his career when he proclaimed himself the “King of the South.” The song begins with a recording of his Instagram manifesto, and then sees him pay his respects to earlier artists while doubling down on his declaration. “When I say I’m the ‘King of R&B,’ there are some people that believe it and some people I have to work to make them believe it,” he adds. “Shout-out to everybody in my league, no disrespect to them. I just feel like I’m the king.”
With being the king, moreover, Broadnax is going to go further than that in every aspect of his life. “I want to be remembered as somebody that’s loved,” he acknowledges. “I want Grammys, I want all the accolades. I want everything that comes with this – I feel like I’ve gotten smarter and wiser and focused on what’s important and what really matters in life. I want to make it to heaven, provide for my family, become a better man, a better person, and always continue to be me and be real.”
Writer: Alain Clerine
Photographer: Ron Contarsy (for Highmark Studios)
Fashion Editor: Ty-Ron Mayes
Men’s Grooming: Andrea E Wilson
Videographer: Becca Werntz
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Hudson Hotel (@hudsonhotel - www.morganshotelgroup.com/hudson/hudson-new-york) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)