It’s 2016, and if you don’t know who James Fauntleroy is by now, square up and get ready to fight me. Today, we honor a man who has given the world so much and asked for so little in return (so much free music). My personal relationship with the music of James Fauntleroy began as a high schooler that randomly stumbled upon The Ghost Lady EP by his collective Cocaine 80s. Since then, I have had nothing but time to dig through the crates of hits that comprise the James Fauntleroy legacy. We are almost unworthy.
To name a few, James Fauntleroy has written/co-written “No Air”, “Superhuman”, “Love, Sex, Magic”, 6 tracks on Rihanna’s Rated R, and 4 tracks on her 2015 album Anti. Fun fact that many people didn’t know, Fauntleroy also co-wrote every song on Justin Timberlake’s masterpiece The 20/20 Experience. His vocals have been featured everywhere from Frank Ocean’s Lonny Breaux Collection to the G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer album to Born Sinner by J. Cole.
There is no denying James Fauntleroy’s influence on music and the culture. I could continue to list off his songwriting credits, but not at the expense of mentioning the importance of his own music. One of my personal favorite James Fauntleroy features appears on Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw album. The track “Come Over” opens with Fauntleroy essentially telling the girl of his eye that whenever she’s ready, she can “come through.”
The worst thing Nipsey Hussle could have done was give Fauntleroy 2 whole verses before he even gets his first. I am absolutely intoxicated by the first 2:15 of the song, so much so that I usually restart it at that point every time. On my first listen of Anti, I immediately fell in love with the song “James Joint”. After a quick Twitter search, I would soon find out why:
Yep 😎 https://t.co/4jgwDPRvKK
— ⛩ sensei (@fauntleroy) January 28, 2016
One rule of thumb that I think all James Fauntleroy fans will share with you is to listen to each song of his to its finish. Fauntleroy is a master of intros and interludes and if you have an impatient ear you will often miss the best parts of his songs. There is a refreshing simplicity about his voice and the way he tucks melodies under his wings. That is met by a haunting structural complexity from almost anyone who produces his music, from No I.D. to BKmusik. My only complaint about his music: no song is ever long enough.
Fauntleroy makes the kind of music that you never want to end. He knows just how to lure you in and leave you wanting more. His voice has this ethereal quality that can only be likened to childhood moments like opening a bottle of fresh Sprite, pouring it over ice, and putting your face over the glass to feel the cool of the bubbles and mist that rise. You can always tell who he’s been in the studio with, and how heavily he’s laid his hands upon a track. In that regard, Fauntleroy has a lot in common with King Midas– everything he touches turns to gold.
Fauntleroy is so criminally humble that some of your favorite songs either feature him or have been written by him, and you could go on never knowing. But, regardless of whether you know him by name or not, you’ve felt him before. Below, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite Fauntleroy songs and features, but everyone knows that “feat. James Fauntleroy” = it’s his song now. Enjoy!