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  • Cy White

JAY B: Style of My Own (SOMO): FUME

JAY B's debut solo album is a decent album but ultimately forgettable.

JAY B doesn't seem to have an identity. Considering five of the six songs on the EP include features and the production doesn't do much to give him a more interesting voice than anyone else, he just seems lost in the basic material. Even more disappointing is that lead single "B.T.W." sounds like every other H1GHR Music/Jay Park-adjacent release (as does track "Switch It Up," which like "B.T.W." distinguishes itself with another Cha Cha beat among dozens). It's a shame JAY B stepped away from his GOT7 origins to sound like just another label artist. (Regardless of how much that label diverges from the "Big 3," it's still a label with a distinct aural aesthetic that JAY B gets folded into). Even the syrupy sensuality of "In To You" (featuring another sleepy alto in g1nger) is unremarkable and indistinguishable from every other R&B track making use of the same dated R&B tropes. Which makes the title of his album more of a contradiction than a declaration.

What's ultimately frustrating about SOMO: FUME is that JAY B has a genuinely good voice. It deserves something dynamic to bring it out. Whether he fully committed to the soulfulness of the R&B he seems to idolize (counting Musiq Soulchild and D'angelo as major inspirations), or if he opted for something sparse to allow his vocal to really do work. Something to give him the chance to show what he's made of.

SOMO: FUME is a lackluster reintroduction to the young man as a soloist. The production swallows him and strips him of any discernable identity beyond what's given to him. He really deserves so much more than an easy cop-out that panders to trends instead of bolstering his obvious talent.


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