UK-based musician Jai Paul has been one of the most mysterious people on the scene over the past few years. The British Asian songwriter and producer from Rayners Lane in North-West London released a demo entitled "BTSTU" back in 2010, and the song received widespread attention from radio shows and music blogs. It is after this that Paul signed to British label XL Recordings, and BTSTU was later sampled by Canadian rapper Drake (for "Dreams Money Can Buy") and for Beyoncé’s hit track "End of Time". Last year, Jai Paul released a demo for a track entitled "Jasmine", and again it received a lot of praise from numerous outlets including BBC Radio One.
Over the weekend, what appeared to be the debut album from Jai Paul was uploaded to online music store Bandcamp. The tracks became hugely popular within a matter of hours, with leading music websites including Pitchfork and NME featuring it.
The 16-track album was available for purchase for £7, and whilst the majority of people were incredibly excited to hear a full body of work from the artist, some were quick to point out that things just didn’t add up. Jai Paul’s label hadn’t (and still haven’t at the time of writing) mentioned anything about the release. Not a word. Some suggested the artist had fallen out with his label and gone rogue. Others speculated that – going by the uneven mixing and mastering – these were unfinished demos. Then there’s the fact that Jai Paul’s official website bears no mention of the new release. It is also unclear as to whether the samples used in the tracks (including one from a Harry Potter film) have received the appropriate approval yet.
Earlier today Owen Myers, a journalist for Dazed Digital – which happens to be the only outlet to have ever interviewed Jai (back in 2011) – Tweeted that he had received an email from Jai Paul:
People continued to speculate, however, with many suggesting that this is all just an elaborate publicity stunt to get people talking. If so, it has certainly worked: Jai Paul is (at the time of writing) a trending topic on Twitter in the UK!
The latest, is that Jai Paul took to Facebook and Twitter to say the following:
What a way for him to make his debut on Twitter! Following this, the leaked tracks were removed from Bandcamp, but the fact that it had taken so long for this happen added fuel to the it’s-a-publicity-stunt fire.
So far, no statement, but stay tuned for updates as they happen!
Have a listen to Jai Paul’s track "Jasmine" below. A slightly different version of the song was one of the leaked demos: