Jakubi: On The Rise

Added on April 27, 2015

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By Artisthead News Correspondent, Alex Feigin.

As far as cross-pollination amongst genres is concerned, there is no shortage of unique sounds and elements coming out of today's music scene. However, in this ever-changing industry, artists must strive for more than that. They must strive for opportunities of longevity, and to make music that appeals to the masses.

The success of Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," featuring Bruno Mars, speaks directly to this point. "Uptown Funk" brought funk music to the forefront of today's pop charts. It's a sound that was unbeknownst to this generation of young folks, and they have accepted it with open arms. The horns featured at the end of the chorus remind me of Rick James' "Give It To Me Baby," which was released in 1981. Now, over 30 years since the release of that track, and over 40 years since the beginnings of Funk music, here we are in 2015, listening to a refresher of those famous grooves in a distinctly modern light.

It's a beautiful thing to see a genre continue to grow so many years after its "prime." I'd like to argue that while some folks may refer to the prime of Motown music dating to the 1960's, there are influences of Motown music all over today's charts. Well, the same goes for Funk, Jazz, R&B, Soul, House, Reggae, Hip-Hop and many others, as we hear influences of all of these genres appearing on today's pop charts. As a producer, Mark Ronson has proven himself with "Uptown Funk." His goal was clear in his production approach, and his vision was met with thunderous support. Now, let's hope Ronson can follow up his own successes with more great music in the future; he certainly has paved the way for himself.

Producers turned artists seems to be a killer combination, as also supported by Pharrell Williams. Pharrell successfully produced for years, and then released an album of his own, containing the hit single, "Happy," which blew up on the pop charts. The producers as artists theme is growing, and showing an alternate perspective when it comes to the music being created. Between cross-pollinating between genres and using a producer's perspective to create new material, it seems like there should be a lot of quality music coming our way.

Jakubi is an Australian group consisting of five guys, all friends and family, who have taken their love of production to the recording studio. The music they have released thus far is definitely on the experimental front of things, but nonetheless, the music is catchy, groovy, and extremely well crafted. The men of Jakubi bounce from genre to genre, ever so seamlessly; to create music whose appeal crosses several generation lines.

I'm not going to lie to you; I was first introduced to Jakubi after my younger brother saw them perform at a fraternity party. I wasn't sure what I was about to hear, but much to my surprise, from the first listen, I was hooked. Their use of Hip-Hop blended with Reggae, Rock, and Funk music astounded me. The first track I heard, entitled "Couch Potato," was so unique sounding that I honestly couldn't think of anyone to compare it to. The feeling is generally laid back, and the lyrics comply with that vibe as they discuss the idea of living life in your own way and not stop focusing on the way others want you to live. They kick back, relax, and continue to "plan on nothin'," and that prospect is extremely appealing.

When you listen to the music, the lead singer's natural vibrato is calming and warm during the verses, and he really shows his range in the chorus as he belts out his creed of not "livin' the life that they wanted me to live!" "Feels Like Yesterday" is another track of theirs that hops, skips, and jumps through genres. If this song doesn't make you want to dance, I'm not sure what will. The bass line is straight power, and it's perfectly present throughout the whole track.

With its pure and simple lyrics describing what is was like to be a kid and how he felt like he was "sittin' on top of the world, and I was only sittin' on my poppa's shoulders," at a time when "momma's hugs and kisses, baby, they were on the daily." The lyrics are relatable and the groove is uncanny. At certain moments, they took on a Radical Something vibe, and in other moments before the beat dropped, it would sound more like Dispatch, and then the vibe would totally change to sound like an old James Brown record with a modern twist. The song takes you for a ride as it passes through these lyrics in a very funky way.

With "Can't Afford It All," Jakubi explores much more of a Hip-Hop feel in the verse, but sticks with the funk basics to keep things consistent. This track involves an obvious change of pace from verse to chorus, and it's intriguing as it all ties together towards the end. There are moments where the instrumentation is focused on a light electric guitar accompanied just by a hi-hat and bass drum. The instrumentation increases as it builds into the chorus, leading us to a pretty impeccable dance groove. The nuances and clearly purposeful production decisions in this song make it so fun to listen to.

As for "Holiday," it feels the most Rock-esque track of the bunch. While it tends to be more on the Rock side of things, the group's talent and consistency allows for it to work as a deviation from the rest of their songs. With that being said, I could make an argument that each of these tracks is a deviation from the others due to their unique elements and feel. What's so wonderful about Jakubi is that the songs make sense coming from one group, but each has its own vibe or vibes, and that pushes their public appeal even further.

As I listen to their few tracks over and over, I can't help but believe that their production background aided in their overall success when it comes to musicality. Their approach to song-writing as well as production technique pushes them far beyond other artists. Their potential is obvious, and their music speaks for itself, and because of that, I only see success for these guys in the future. Jakubi has been gaining notoriety from their tours over the past couple of years. Their smaller gigs have become bigger as more people become fans of theirs.

As they prepare to tour in America this summer, I encourage everyone to check Jakubi out. They manage to be laid-back, while at the same time, making you want to dance. The music is contagious; so keep sharing the aforementioned tracks to help these talented guys gain more fans. Get ready to use your repeat button on these few tracks until they officially release their debut album. Hopefully you will agree that their production background and combination of many genres separates them from the crowd, and you can share in my excitement for the release of more Jakubi tunes!




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