Leela James has been bringing the funk and soul ever since she made her debut with her album A Change Is Gonna Come in 2005. Eighteen years later, and she’s still bringing it to us. This October, she’ll be hitting us off with her forthcoming set Thought U Knew. She’s given us a preliminary listen with the album's lead single “Right Back In.” Now she’s flexing her gangster with the second single and title track “Thought U Knew.”
Leela pairs once again with producer extraordinaire Rex Rideout on “Thought U Knew” to deliver R&B tinged with a bit of G-funk to capture the essence of the singer’s swagger. It’s fitting, as the track is all Leela flexing her strength to let an ex know that she’s just fine without him. “Baby, what you thought I would do? / Just because you’re not here with me,” she sings over the smooth-yet-funky production. “Did you think I wouldn’t be all good without you?”
She also bosses up in the song’s video, which continues the story from the Queen & Slim-themed clip for “Right Back In.” We fast forward three months to her and her beau laying low at home. That doesn’t work so much for her, though, as she has other plans. In fact, she taps into the plot of hood classic Set It Off and gathers her sisters in song Avery*Sunshine, Syleena Johnson and Medusa to plot the heist of a lifetime. While the visual’s plot is inspired by the movie, they change up the ending (though we won’t spoil how it goes this time around).
“Thought U Knew” is giving us everything we need from Leela James and just a little more. We’re confident that we’ll feel the same way about her upcoming album. We’ll know for certain when the project arrives on October 27th. Until then, stream the single right here and watch its cinematic visual below.