Cash Money signee Jay Sean has released his latest mixtape The Mistress, which features appearances from Lupe Fiasco (“Say Yeah”), Tyga (“Sex 101”), and Birdman (“Love”). The crooner shares stories of lust, infidelity, and love triangles on the 15 sexy, edgy tracks produced Orange Factory Music. So, is it any good?
The Mistress is cohesive, smooth and full of genuinely high quality melodic R’n’B songs. However, make no mistake about this release – like much of Jay’s work so far – it does not reek of personality/character, spark or innovation but you get the impression that he knows what he does best and wants to keep the focus on the music. Whether or not this hinders Jay’s international reception, this mixtape deserves to be listened to by the urban community because it could easily sit alongside most of his peer’s latest releases.
In a Gaga-dominated climate, hopefully the demand for explosions and theatrics will not stop this EP from being allowed to really enhance the 30-year-old’s career because The Mistress doesn’t need laser lights to be effective.
The mixtape sounds like one solid experience, certainly compared to most mixtapes so although none of the cuts stand on top of each other, the three introductory full tracks are highlights. On the churning, grinding title track Jay Sean is likeable and unthreatening even though he is singing about the jungle of adultery and filthy sex. You could never imagine him in half of the situations he sings about and yet the songs are strong enough, and follow the same contemporary formula of Chris Brown’s, Trey Songz or Jason Derulo’s best down tempo releases.
“Love” and “Sex 101” especially could easily dominate radio. The featured rappers Tyga and Birdman don’t take anything away from Jay but don’t add much either except successfully changing the flow of the tracks. Jay is more believable has a tender lover and not a player, nevertheless his vocal is consistent throughout the release and is genuine easy listening.
Lupe Fiasco has the most successful guest appearance on “Say Yeah” which starts pretty beautifully and morphs into another mid tempo gem; “She Has No Time” has a splash of innovation which takes some getting used to but by the end of the cut you will be mellowed out and realise the song has done its job.
The album ends with a track list of sleeper hits that set the scene and have Jay Sean on full ‘bedroom eyes,’ all the tracks follow a similar curve but never sound alike. It’s great to hear Jay Sean’s thick UK accent on interlude “Same Old, Same Old” – and his takes on the Beatles “Yesterday” and Bob Marley’s “Waiting In Vain” gives us a chance to witness his vocal arrangements and musicality.
Many of the tracks at the end are based in acoustic sounds and sound sweet, free flowing and chilled. Most listeners will end a full listen of this humble EP wondering why this was not released as a full album, because it would be a real shame if The Mistress fell completely under the radar – if it was released by one of his more exposed peers it would be widely celebrated. Nevertheless, with material this strong surely it’s only a matter of time before he is jumping out of aeroplanes in music videos and dueting with Beyoncé…