YouTube sensation and X-Factor finalist, Jai Waetford is back, teaming up for the second time with Brisbane rapper Carmouflage Rose for their brand new single ‘Honestly’.
‘Honestly‘ is Jai’s first single of the year, the digital-savvy 20 year old aiming to build on the success of previous releases. 2018 saw Jai release a handful of singles, and he candidly spoke about past mental health issues, ultimately becoming an ambassador for the Australian Suicide Prevention’s You Are Not Alone campaign.
Honestly starts off with Jai’s smooth voice, layered over a build up of smooth steel pan-like synths. Carmouflage Rose follows on the mic, laying down a smooth 16 bars as the drums enter. This collaboration is Pop meeting Rap, Jai’s more commercial outreach shining a light on Brisbane’s up and coming talent.
Jai opens up about himself and his troubled past love life:
“Been wrong too many times yeah, love is a crime / run around like I’m blind /searching for reasons looking for purpose”
As he continues into the verse his vulnerability is on show, Jai seeks atonement for his past actions. The melody climbs to a quasi-crescendo, the track potentially going one of two ways here. Reggaeton drums enter the fray, the hip-hop and Latin-American influences heavily present as we enter the chorus.
Whilst the tempo and rhythm pick up here, the lyrics end up becoming a casualty.
“Everybody wanna know, know now but nobody wanna slow, slow down”
Jai sings words, but the lyrics lack substance. The boyish good looks and teen heartthrob vocals can only carry him for so long. One of his biggest inspirations, Justin Bieber was once at a similar stage in his career and managed to successfully make the musical transition from boy to man. Jai must follow in his idol’s footsteps if he hopes to break into that upper echelon of superstardom. As a listener, we want to hear Jai delving deeper into his emotions, striking a balance between a pretty persona and actually portraying his emotions with meaning. Collaborators will need to jig, jive and joust Jai out of his comfort zone and force him to be more experimental with future endeavours.
Carmouflage Rose adds a signature sounding verse to Honestly, his progression from single to triple syllable rhyme schemes throughout showcase his rapping ability. However, brevity appears to be the enemy. Doubling the length from Carmo would have rounded off the track nicely.
Jai Waetford and Carmouflage Rose manage to produce a catchy pop and hip-hop crossover that touches on emotional themes in places. The production is stellar and the partnership is thriving, but overall it bares the hallmarks of a generic radio playlist record.
Stream ‘Honestly‘ on all platforms here.