East-London rapper Jay Silva has released hit after hit in his short career, beginning with the 2015 breakout single “See Me Now”. Last Friday he released his highly anticipated debut mixtape Tutti Frutti, earning its place as this week’s mix of the week through its musical versatility. This ten-track mixtape, clocking in at twenty-nine minutes, not only show Silva’s range as an artist but also as a producer.
Silva’s rapping style is somewhere between American mumble rap and Caribbean afro-beats. With trap beats mixing with bright instrumental layers, some of the tracks meld genres and fall between hip/hop and reggaeton. This includes the previously released track “One Time”, which plays with influences from riddim music. Other previously released tracks include “Mercedes Benz”, which features some deep bass drones that highlight Silva’s experimentation with digital production techniques. There is a handful of downbeat, emotional hip/hop songs that borrow lo-fi rhythm and bass sections beats from ambient music. This includes tracks like “54 Plate” and “Superman”. These tracks also contain some interesting instrumentation, such as strings and keys with digital effects over them. The best use of instrumentation is the unique “GTB”, which features a gentle acoustic guitar melody with woodwind harmony in the background. Lyrically, the mix is sound. Silva balances melodic delivery with relatability. Songs like “Dirty Diana”, with his call to “bring the vibe”, and “Nothing On Me”, where he discusses his grind in the rap game, speak to the modern millennial audience through their language. The best song on the mixtape is the closing track, “Swervin”. As the only track not produced by Silva, it’s the most unique. The beat bounces from ear to ear while the low end booms and the high end shimmers. There are so many layers of electronica, while maintaining a pop sound, that Silva’s voice ends up becoming more of an instrumental melody. It is chopped up, filtered and spat back into the track the same as other electronic keys and instruments.
Silva’s debut mixtape is a worth a listen for the variety of genres and musical styles on display. Listen here: