Jai Paul - Str8 Outta Mumbai
Common understanding of Prince’s production is that it shouldn’t work. There’s a thick metallic sheen that covers some of his most memorable work, and some of his best songs can have mixes that don’t sound right upon first listen, but after repeated exposure Prince’s creative genius is evident. The first time I heard Jai Paul, the connection to Prince was glaring - both have an undeniable digital sound in their production, and the mix didn’t settle right with me the first time I heard “BTSU”. I took out my headphones and ran the song through my computer speakers, just to see if the song was supposed to sound like that.
Not too long after hearing “BTSU”, Jai Paul disappeared from the public sphere. But that project - those “demos” - sound like nothing before it. The first song from the leak (known now as “Str8 Outta Mumbai”) opens with a sample from the Bollywood film “Meera”, an isolated bongo drum loop that serves as the primary engine throughout the track, constantly propelling it forward. By the time the rest the song drops, the sample is almost indiscernible, pumping through in-between drum hits just for a second before disappearing again under the wall of sound. Jai Paul’s production isn’t clean in the traditional sense, but (like Prince) ‘Str8 Outta Mumbai’ is a feat alone in how it manages to arrange the pieces of different puzzles into it’s own unique piece of art.