Track Review: Saweetie and Jhené Aiko Head “Back to the Streets”

Pretty Bitch Music is almost here. As Saweetie gets ready to release her official debut album, the West Coast rapstress has dropped her latest single “Back to the Streets (feat. Jhené Aiko).” Best known for her high energy party anthems like “My Type” and “Tap In,” “Back to the Streets” offers a different side of Saweetie’s artistry.

Over a bouncy Timabaland-proudced beat, Saweetie leans into the legacy of breezy West Coast hip-hop as she sings and raps about running game on F boys before moving on to whoever interests her next. She flips the script on the objectification of women in rap by comparing her men to dogs and property: “I put my new man on a leash/Traded in my old ni**a he was just a lease.” The lyrics are more of the same from both Saweetie and Jhené; they would not have have sounded out of place on a track from Chilombo or ICY. In fact, Jhené crosses over from singing to rapping on multiple occasions on “Back to the Streets,” similar to her rap-sung cadence on “Triggered (freestyle)” and “B.S. (feat. H.E.R.).” Jhené effectively steals the show on this song; her harmonies with Saweetie on the final chorus are well placed and sound great. “Back to the Streets” is a fun song, but it’s power doesn’t necessarily lie in the music or the lyrics. In actuality, the track is a triumph because it broadens Saweetie’s musical scope and appeal while still feeling authentic to her. She has a surprisingly nice singing voice, and while some rappers should never sing on a track, it fits when she does it. If “Tap In” was a bit lackluster for your tastes and you’re deciding on whether or not to check out Pretty Bitch Music when it drops, “Back to the Streets” makes a strong case for giving the album a chance.

Score: 63

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