The cover of Jubilee’s Call for Location may be adorned with an illustration of a gecko—a salute to the South Florida native’s tropical upbringing—but perhaps a chameleon would be more appropriate. Jubilee (Jessica Gentile) has largely built her name in the DJ booth, adhering to an old-school approach and adapting her sets to the requirements of the room. Dancehall, hip-hop, UK bass, electro, hip-hop, R&B, Miami bass, grime, reggaeton—it’s all in her crate, which might help explain why she’s just as comfortable playing an Opening Ceremony fashion event as she is a Fool’s Gold hip-hop party or a Mixpak bashment rave during London’s Notting Hill Carnival. While her music (and her gig calendar) may be varied, there are two constants in her work: fun and a serious love of bass.
The Mixpak label crew, Jubilee’s primary affiliation, is a perfect home for her genre-hopping sensibilities. Headed up by Dre Skull, a producer who’s worked with Popcaan, Vybz Kartel, WizKid, Burna Boy, Future, Santigold, and numerous others, Mixpak has been at the forefront of bringing the dancefloor sounds of the Caribbean and the global South into the larger international pop sphere. Jubilee has been releasing music with the label since 2012, and her first album, After Hours, dropped in 2016. A largely instrumental affair, the LP pulled heavily from the bouncy electro, breaks, and Miami bass that soundtracked Gentile’s youth, while also offering some woozy trap cuts and a delightful bit of dancehall pop (“Wine Up”) voiced by Bronx MC Hoodcelebrityy.
Three years later, Jubilee has returned with Call for Location, a title that flashes back to the hotlines that once guided her along many late nights out as a teenage raver in South Florida. Musically, the album occasionally nods in that direction, particularly on “Disconnected,” a thundering bass-techno hybrid that pairs its relentless low end with a cascade of synth stabs that could have been lifted straight off a 1990s UK hardcore record. The nostalgia is palpable, but the track’s beefy construction is more than suitable for a modern dancefloor.
Echoes of Miami appear elsewhere on the album, most notably in the snapping breakbeats of LP closer “Let Go,” the churning rhythms of “I Don’t Think So,” and the buoyant, pastel sounds of “Call for Location,” which sounds like an ideal soundtrack for cruising down Collins Avenue in a white Cabriolet with the top down. “Speed Limit” opens with a drum pattern that could have kickstarted an old freestyle record, but then suddenly shifts gears with a sinister bassline and a series of warbling, drawn-out synth melodies that wouldn’t be out of place on a Dorian Concept or Jacques Greene production.
These kinds of hybrids help make Call for Location not just an enjoyable listen but also a stronger album than After Hours. At this stage in her career, Jubilee has learned to harness the best bits of her influences, but she also knows how to transcend them, bringing in other sounds and genres that she’s encountered during her many years in the DJ booth: grime, dancehall, hip-hop, breaks, ambient, synth-pop, and countless flavors of electronic music, some of which are a total surprise. “Liquid Liner” is a stompy, industrial-leaning techno romp whose dark and crunchy EBM rhythms have got pretty much zero to do with South Beach.
More impressive still are the LP’s three singles, all of which feature guest vocalists and return to the same sort of pop (or at least pop-adjacent) territory Jubilee traversed on “Wine Up.” While many dance producers struggle to work with MCs and singers, Gentile understands that success with these kinds of collaborations often requires stripping things back, laying a sturdy foundation, and then largely getting out of the way. “Shots,” a dreamy, heads-down tune excellently voiced by South London grime MC P Money, might be the best of the bunch, but the bubbling pop dancehall of “Fulla Curve” is similarly excellent, with UK artist IQ sing-rapping over the song’s warmly sashaying riddim. “Mami” also has a bit of a dancehall feel, albeit with a more rigid, electronic strut and a healthy dose of fierce bilingual sass from Bronx vocalist Maluca.
As a DJ, Jubilee has long been fusing seemingly disparate genres into single, cohesive statements, but on Call for Location she applies that same skill in the studio, often within the context of a single track. Whether or not she heads further down the pop production path—and with her Mixpak connections, one would assume that door is open—Jubilee has already focused and sharpened her work without having to cut loose any of the elements that make her a special talent.