THE MINK FACTOR: MEET CARIBBEAN MUSIC’S NEWEST HYBRID
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It’s not every day that you see an attractive female artist with musical talent and potential rise from the dusty male dominated music industry. Well, actually those come a dime a dozen, so what makes 17 year old Kingston native Tyra Simes -or as she will have it; MINK JO- different, special or worth a listen?
I decided to sit myself down on soundcloud (Mink’s desired platform to give fans a listen to her entire EP despite it being pegged for sale) to go over track by track and flow with my emotions and give you my honest opinion on each. You may not feel the same way I do about the tracks but read my reviews, listen to the record, visualise and take it all in. Either way I’m sure you’ll agree with my conclusion. Let’s dive in…
TO THE SIDE
On a choppy “buss di place”-type riddim Mink expounds on her feminine independence and freedom. On this track she celebrates her self-confidence acknowledging her being aware of the bling and tings most men uses in their get-a-girl-strategies. Throughout the track she reiterates that she cannot be ‘bought’ as she’s a girl that’s just as endowed, pride filled and carefree. Fight on sista!
Favorite lyric: “Don’t try to buy me with your ride (yeah yeah yeah) Coz me is a girl fulla pride”
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when someone comes at you incorrectly or when you need to feel good about yourself… play when you wanna big up you!
Penned and recorded over the “Full-Speed Riddim” by International star Sean paul Mink brings fiery attitude and cultural spice to “Roll Up”. This is the quintessential dancers-roll-out type of record, with Jo she encourages female dancers specifically to “roll-up” and represent - something seldom done especially by a female musician. Way to go Jo!
Favorite lyric: “Gal fi tick ti tick tack. Gal fi flip fli flip back. Gal dem a whine man a tip dat…”
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play before a night out at the club.
CLOSE TO ME
Perhaps the most underwhelming track on the EP for me personally, sonically ‘Close to me’ resembles “Post to Be” (by Omarion ft Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko). Lyrically the track resonates with me as an unfocused female R&B artist’s umpteen shot at stardom song would.
Favorite lyric: “Got a little secret, I hope that you can keep it The baddest out there you better believe it, boy I meant it.”
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when its bed time, it’s… relaxing (to say the least).
LOVE YOU MORE – BUSY SIGNAL ft Mink Jo
This track is a Busy Signal single featuring Mink Jo where her contribution comes in form of a chorus sampling Miley Cyrus’ “Adore You”. On it Mink delivers clean and sweet Jamaican sounding vocals alongside Busy Signal’s rough loving lyrics and dancehall vocal prowess. “Love you More” is the perfect one-drop tune with a dancehall international essence. Brava!
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when love is in the air.
How Jo and her team managed to mix a dancey riddim, break-up lyrics and classic ‘I love you but…’ back-hook in one track that works is beyond me. This is by far my favorite track from the whole EP without a doubt. More times than less I found myself doing the moves to “Low me nuh”, having to catch myself in time for the very beautiful hook. A hook where Jo sings; “I’m falling love know you are me everything….”, or something like that.
Favorite Lyric: “Yuh tink money can buy my love, a nuh walk inna store and try my love”
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when moving on from a playboy, it was good and all but it’s time for him to… fall back.
NO FRIEND ZONE FT KONSHENS
The new rubbadub, No friend Zone takes you on a trip into the night as Konshens and Mink journey on an exciting and sensual awakening. As more gentlemen aim to creep from the friend zone, this could also double as what every guy in the ‘friendzone’ wants to hear. Another dancey track, Mink stands up on her own and commands the record with a catchy chorus and pungent lyrisc. From her first lyric to the last, there’s no question why this is or should be Mink’s first single. Let’s hope for a mega video soon!
Favorite Lyric: “Lights on give it to me baby, no friend zone bring it to me coz me ready. A dis you want boy come over and get it, you turn me on when you call me baby”.
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when you’re in your feelings about a new interest, grab some courage with this track. Go get it!
GET TO MY LOVE
Starting off with a riddim quite similar to that of Rihanna’s “Man Down”, Mink comes in strong and commanding. She then makes the most beautiful Segway into an honest, raunchy and careless lyric match with a melody reminiscent of Keida in “Jamaican Boy”. Love it yet? It gets better as Jo strengthens her vocals showing of her choppy, girly and distinctly Caribbean singing style. A really good indie single to drop for the Afrocentric crowd, I anticipate this track doing well locally and for the Jamaican minded.
Favorite Lyric: “Mi she fi hug me up and rub me up tight. Kisses on my shoulder dat a weh me like. Because I’m looking for some good loving tonight. And a you a di boy weh me like”
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when readying for some hot steamy sex. Hmmm.
Set on a sexy Dawn Richard-esque alternative R&B riddim that drops, picks up and chops corners, oh how captivating. But it doesn’t end there, Jo comes in with emotional blurts of lyrics inclusive of the repeated “You don’t even know what you do”. The interlude solidifies a boy-girl-love.
Enrique Iglesias? Aliyah? Beyonce ala ‘4’? Maybe all in one. Aint nobody is a ominous and edgy slow jam with jo celebrating her ‘bad ass bitches’. Sounding more like an outro “Ain’t Nobody” is the perfect “I’m better without you” track after all the emotions an love-truths the previous tracks facilitated.
Favorite Lyric: “Pull up pon yuh ends with my bad ass bitches, bitches, bitches.”
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when you’re in need of a cocky demeanour, night out with the frenemies maybe?
CASH BOTTLES FT LEFTSIDE & SYON
A boot popping “Cash Bottles” starts with an auto tuned character chanting “booty popping, cash, bottles!” and if that doesn’t get you in the mood to pop something then I don’t know what will. Leftside makes a strong comeback with his verse basically headlining this track with really really good Djing and hype. Syon’s hypnotic softness in his voice and sneaky and cheeky lyrics grabs you, holds you and releases you to continue popping booty or a bottle. Minks turn, and she comes in saucy, expensive and confident. The visuals for this track would be very interesting as the collaboration comes off easy, quick and effective… a really great pairing.
Favorite lyric: " No humility when mi roll through di city". "Champagne a run adn di gayl dem a bubble up, money a run so di card we a run it up"
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when, well this is simple when your 'finna' turn up!
NO FRIEND ZONE REMIX
Remixed by Ibiza staple DJ Rico, these mastered mix gives you that sandy, upbeat and flavourful remix you’d expect. Most interesting is the Jamaican drop in the original riddim that echoes during Mink’s first verse that literally put a smile on my face.
MRKB “Play when” recommendation: Play when slightly faded and feeling good.
BOY+GIRL+ LOVE is a definite good start to a promising career for Mink Jo. Despite the expected comparisons with Rihanna, she has a distinct sounding voice that’s nice to listen to and you want to hear. She writes well, more than well actually and delivers even better. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to her live and if anything she sounds better live. Essentially Mink Jo is the real deal and this EP sounds like a quart of what she can do. Excited for more Jo!