Jai Paul is an absolute enigma in the music world, and after being heralded as the savior of modern music after releasing only two songs, his third release raises even more questions.
The origins of Jai Paul are quite hard to determine, with details about his personal life scarce. He’s supposedly from a suburban area in London, and is signed to XL Recordings, home of artists such as Adele, The xx and Giggs. He’s been compared to everybody from D’angelo, N*E*R*D, Hudson Mohawke and M.I.A, and he is also one helluva mystery.
Paul literally appeared from nowhere with his 2010 demo “BTSTU”. It was re-released in 2011 as a single and created incredible amounts of hype around the internet, and even mainstream radio, with BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac and Zane Lowe giving it air time. BBC called it a “box of fresh talent”, and after only releasing ONE song, with no other material to be found online, he was placed on their “Sound Of 2011” list (which included artists such as Jessie J, James Blake, Jamie Woon and The Vaccines, all of whom have gone onto international acclaim).
Now hip-hop fans who frequent this blog and haven’t heard of Jai Paul are sure to recognise that song. In May 2011, Drake released his first “promo single” for his then upcoming album Take Care, called “Dreams Money Can Buy”. It heavily sampled BTSTU, and garnered even more attention and anticipation towards Paul, introducing his music to a whole new audience.
Although not bringing as much attention as Dreams Money Can Buy did, Jai Paul’s prominence in the celebrity world was evident, when Beyonce also sampled (although more subtly) BTSTU for her song “Til The End Of Time”.
Over a year after the release of BTSTU, Jai Paul released his follow up single “Jasmine”. Moving away from the more underground dancey/dubstep sound of his previous record, this was a lush Nu-R&B song, with his falsetto singing voice leading the way to thousands of sexy-times world wide. It featured incredible production, and his singing was vaguely reminiscent of Prince, and this single again lead to an immense amount of hype.
Flash forward to this week. An untitled song gained airplay on Radio 1, tentatively being titled by the public as “Flip Out“. Although still bubbling very much on the underground, the track is already gaining seriously mixed reviews. The song is clearly a demo,but at times sounds just like noise. There is no clear structure, and hardly any of his falsetto singing. Some say this shows his diversity, but most (including myself) are confused and disappointed. Although the title might be an ironic statement as he KNEW the public would react this way, it still sounds much more amateur to the previous two releases, and raises serious questions about Jai Paul.
UPDATE: I received an email from Jai’s management asking to remove the song, and confirmed that Flip Out was a leaked demo intended for internal use only.
Will we ever know anything about this guy? Will we ever receive music in quicker succession than once a year? Will the music return to its dizzying heights of previous releases? Will there ever be an album?
Who knows. I only hope Jai Paul is currently locked in the studio bashing out an album, before XL scratch their heads as to why they have invested in a producer releasing such little music. However, the recent tracklist to OutKast legend Big Boi’s album, claims Jai Paul is to be featured, which is an incredibly intriguing prospect. It implies hes broadening his horizons, and is making new music. We can only hope so.