What does being yourself sound like?
In JAY B’s opinion, being yourself should sound like his new EP, Be Yourself.
Be Yourself is JAY B’s recent solo comeback mini-album, featuring the title track ‘go UP’. Be Yourself is the follow-up to JAY B’s first solo EP SOMO : FUME, released in August 2021 via H1GHR MUSIC. After recently switching record labels and signing with CDNZA Records, JAY B released the single ‘Rocking Chair’ and revealed to his fans that he plans to release a new album every month until the end of 2022. The first installment is Be Yourself and, as announced during JAY B‘s concert ‘Tape : Press Pause’ on September 24, in October, we will listen to more from Def. – JAY B’s alter ego.
Since joining CDNZA Records, JAY B has shared more than ever how much he enjoyed making music and working on his own music without restriction and/or an invisible heavy hand guiding him towards a specific “label” sound. From this breath of freedom, JAY B created Be Yourself. A mini-album that focuses on celebrating and enjoying being free and being yourself. It’s JAY B’s finding, accepting and loving who you are and celebrating life in all aspects.
We can listen to this theme throughout the six songs on the mini-album, but JAY B’s freedom peaks on the opening track, ‘go UP’. The narration at the track’s opening, “This is how we are getting funky in Seoul, South Korea”, sets the song’s tone and how the mini-album will unfold later.
‘go UP’ is the quintessence of funk. JAY B works to strip back the genre as many of us know it today and works with its base element: a big bouncy beat and a catchy hook that will make you sing along at first listen. ‘go UP’ is an ode to old-school funk, from Stevie Wonder to Kool & The Gang and nudges at Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk’.
The single is fun, upbeat and highly enjoyable because JAY B does an incredible job of delivering his feelings of freedom and happiness through the melody, the lyrics and the music video. In ‘go UP’, JAY B is having fun showcasing his vocal skills and the different techniques he has mastered during his ten-year career. We have his whispering tone, the husky and velvety tones building up the song and then we go up to a falsetto and one of the best ad-libs of 2022 with that ‘yes yes yes yes yes yes YES’.
If JAY B is having fun, we are feeling it and we’re having fun with him. This is also what transpired on stage during the concert when performing ‘go UP’ and the other songs from this mini-album.
The upbeat vibe follows on ‘Break It Down’ featuring the South Korean rapper Sik-K. The track shifts from the funk on ‘go UP’ and opts for a modern R&B arrangement; the drop in the chorus kickstarts the song’s energy and leads to Sik-K’s unmistakable autotuned voice. With ‘Livin’’, JAY B returns to the groovy/funky vibes for this soft pop song that has an instantly feel-good arrangement and a positive attitude towards life.
‘The Way We Are’ is an R&B track with the 80s and 90s vibes given by the synths and the beats in the instrumentals – it has some JUS2 vibes and it would be great to listen to a JUS2 version of this song; JAY B’s smooth voice does wonders to the song and makes it magical.
The instrumentals of ‘Fountain of Youth’ could be mistaken for a new song from Hall & Oates, but this is another take on old-school urban pop, and JAY B demonstrates he can work well with these sounds too. ‘Fountain of Youth’ is a youthful and heartwarming all-English song that contains a story of friendship and it’s JAY B’s personal message to his friends and fans.
This refreshing and positive mini-album closes with ‘Holyday’. The orchestration and lyrics deliver positive energy and, once again, a hopeful and positive outlook on life and living this life.
The mini-album Be Yourself and the title track ‘go UP’ definitely positively impacted fans. The mini-album climbed to No.1 on the iTunes Top Albums chart in 41 countries, including Argetina, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Spain and more. The single ‘go UP’ landed at No.1 on the iTunes Top Songs chart in 29 countries. Moreover, the mini-album debuted at No.1 on the Worldwide iTunes Album chart and No.3 on the European iTunes Album Chart.
With Be Yourself, we see again JAY B enjoying working and experimenting with music but mostly enjoying himself working on his music. And it’s giving fans nothing but immense happiness. Be Yourself is releasing a breath you didn’t realise you were holding; Be Yourself is JAY B freely expressing his art and himself.