It doesn’t happen every day in the K-Pop industry to discover a talent like JB, and it doesn’t happen every day in the Korean R&B scene to gain an all-rounder artist like JAY B – but this precisely happened in the Korean music scene this week.
The South Korean artist JAY B (formerly known as JB), and GOT7 leader, has officially joined the Hip-Hop and R&B label H1GHR MUSIC after leaving JYP Entertainment in January and spending the past months as a ‘freelance’ artist. On the same day, the news of an imminent single release was shared, hitting his fanbase with a new wave of excitement and curiosity.
JAY B first single under H1GHR MUSIC, “Switch It Up” (featuring Sokodomo), dropped on Friday, May 14th, alongside a sultry live performance video.
“Switch It Up” is produced by Cha Cha Malone – H1GHR MUSIC co-founder with Jay Park, composed by JAY B, Cha Cha Malone and Jay Park, lyrics written by JAY B, Sokodomo and Jay Park. Over the years, producer Cha Cha Malone has built a solid reputation in the Korean R&B industry, and “Switch It Up” embodies the indistinguishable R&B bass-driven trap beat and melodies, paired with sultry lyrics. Thanks to the addition of insistent and atmospheric synth pads, the song feels fluid, like the wave in the lyrics, “Just like a wave / Baby ride my body / Girl, nice and calm”. JAY B vocals are slick and subdued but passionate, with a perfect balance between forcefully delivered lyrics and more relaxed and sensual moments. The falsetto in the chorus seems to recall the pure bliss narrated in the verses. On the track, rapper Sokodomo makes an appearance spitting his rapid-fire bars, contrasting with JAY B’s low and slick vocals but still giving the song a nice flow.
The song is paired with a live performance video, opening with JAY B performing in a forest; a wide led screen appears at the beginning of the second verse, displaying a wave that flows into trippy visuals as sokodomo joins to deliver his bars. In the video, JAY B also performs a smooth and captivating choreography that fans appreciated.
To JAY B’s music connoisseur, “Switch It Up” naturally matches with his musical style – it feels like a track from one of his mixtapes shared on SoundCloud between 2016 to 2019, or a song created with his crew ØFFSHORE – all works were released under the pen name Def. In all his songs – as JAY B or Def – he magnifically creates stories where he deeply explores the atmosphere and feelings with his incredible talent as a lyricist. “Switch It Up” is no different; in a recent interview with HYPEBEAST Korea, JAY B mentioned, “I wanted to make it a love story that could also translate into the stories of my life”.
With “Switch It Up”, JAY B has pushed his boundaries by blending the artistic strokes of GOT7’s JB, ØFFSHORE’s Def. and new elements from his creative explorations to create JAY B’s first painting. A more mature one, but with already a distinctive stroke.
With “Switch It Up” colours, JAY B has painted the charts worldwide during the first 24 hours since its release. The single reached No.1 on the iTunes Chart in 45 countries, including France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Brazil – it peaked No.6 in the US and debuted No.1 on both the Worldwide and European iTunes Song Charts. Achieved over 250,000 Spotify streams in a single day.
On Korean music charts, the single hit the top spot on Genie Top 200 Chart, ranked #16 on iCharts, and debuted no.2 on Melon’s Latest Song Chart.
The performance video has now reached 1.5 million views and debuted at No.7 on the Music Videos Trending Worldwide chart, while JAY B ranked #31 on the Global Digital Artist chart.
First in the K-Pop industry and now in the Korean R&B scene, JAY B has proven that his title of an all-rounder artist is not vanity. JAY B release under H1GHR MUSIC is a clear sign that he is ready to switch it up, push his personal and artistic boundaries to consistently create music.