Majid Jordan are not a person. They’re the Toronto duo of singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman. Al Maskati, in particular, is perhaps best known as the singer on the hook of Drake’s 2013 hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” That same year, they released afterhours, essentially a collection of everything they had. Then, in 2014, they had their first proper project, an EP called A Place Like This. On February 5, they will release their debut LP, Majid Jordan.
A Place Like This very much fits into October’s Very Own’s Toronto sound. Al Maskati’s vocals are hushed and distant, where Ullman keeps his production empty enough to add an air of mystery to the project. Unlike OVO Sound labelmates PARTYNEXTDOOR and Roy Wood$, however, Majid Jordan don’t go for full-on Drake mimicry. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was as much their vessel as it was Drake’s. It’s an unabashed ’80s-indebted pop smash. Majid, on EP opener “Forever,” continue that upbeat, funk-influenced trend. The following track, “All I Do” takes even more cues from disco.
For their debut effort, Majid Jordan recruited Drake for lead single “My Love.” With the label boss on board, it ends up sounding a whole lot Drakier than the more unique efforts of A Place Like This.
Nevertheless, “My Love” is still a promising single for the self-titled LP. As a songwriter, Al Maskati constructs memorable hooks with appropriately vague pop verses. What is clear, too, is that Majid are shying away from the hit that made that relevant. There are no traces of “Hold On” on “My Love.” But it is not a work of obvious OVO paint-by-numbers either.
The follow-up single, “Something About You,” strikes a middle ground between pre-EP Majid and a trajectory for the future. Ullman speeds up the production as Al Maskati reaches the chorus, building up to an EDM-like drop. Instead of a cascading barrage of noise, however, Ullman leaves just a vocal sample of “something about you.” The beat almost pulls back with another sample that sounds like it’s reversed. “Something About You” has a propulsion that’s never overpowering.
Between “My Love” and “Something About You” — the only two offerings from Majid Jordan, as well as the only identified tracks so far — Majid Jordan have the potential to break out on their own merit. They have the cache of Drake on their side, which means they can opt for being a “cool” act or going full-on pop. “My Love” sounds like Majid would like to maintain an air of mystery, while “Something About You” skews a bit more accessible. With that kind of versatility, they’re bound to fall into another hit — and they did pretty well with their first run at the charts. Majid Jordan, if the duo manage to hit the right middle ground, could end up being a critical darling and pop crossover.