Jay Safari's latest single is criminally underrated. And it's only been out for two weeks. But before we get into what makes the single stand out like a needle in a haystack, we need to understand the current state of hip-hop.
Hip-hop is the number one genre in the world, and it's only getting bigger. This year is only further proof of the genre's ability to transcend cultural boundaries and attract global audiences. Don't forget, in the first week of the year, Gunna's DS4EVER outperformed The Weeknd's Dawn FM to debut at the top spot on the Billboard 200. Sure, chalk it up to the genius marketing plan behind DS4EVER, but the numbers don't lie. Rappers have capitalized on the emergence of social media better than the majority of pop and rock artists.
There's a reason successful indie-alternative artists have a fraction of the social media followers that emerging, unestablished rappers have. It doesn't matter if rappers sell their music, they sell a lifestyle that attracts attention (think: high-fashion, drug habits, violence, the list goes on). If the byproduct of selling a luxurious, fast-paced lifestyle is earning more followers and more engagement on social media, then rappers are winning because people are paying attention. Fine, maybe those new followers don't immediately run to the rapper's music, but after a few more posts, they are bound to. Rappers understand the importance of a five to ten second impression.
So why do I mention all of this? Well, these factors make Jay Safari's latest single "Dance" all the more impressive.
As an independent rapper, Jay Safari is still in the developing stages of his career (I'm almost pressed to avoid using the term "rapper" because Jay's talent is so much more). On past tracks, he's experimented with various styles of production, rapping on top of rage-inducing beats to harmonizing over slower, R&B beats. However, with "Dance," he finds his stride using a blend of hip-hop and pop to create a mesmerizing track that I have had on repeat for the past week. An ethereal bridge ties the pop-leaning hook and his tongue-tying verses together, making for his most cohesive record to date.
Jay's ascension doesn't seem tied too closely to his social media following. He doesn't even have his socials linked on his Spotify page (get on that, Jay). Rather, the quality of his music, and specifically "Dance," is what has caught listeners' attention. In just two weeks, the track has earned over 370,000 streams on Spotify alone. In a world where his musical counterparts likely have more social media followers than streams, Jay shows the merit of making great music. Plain and simple.
Stream on Spotify: