Rajiv – “Catch Me If You Can” (Featuring Mr. Arch)

Hip Hop, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 6.1

“Catch Me If You Can” is such a brilliantly put together package. The beat sounds current, the impressive video has a decent concept, and Rajiv has genuine star potential. So why the modest score? Well, the problem is that CMIYC fails the litmus test on two very crucial points: firstly, the song is actually quite poorly written. Superficially, it works and seems to successfully ape the radio fodder de jour. But listen again closely, and the sequencing is off, there are lines that don’t flow, the chorus isn’t given space to breathe… Greatness hinges on the finest of details. Secondly, that beat: yes, it sounds “nice” and very Labrinth-esque but again like the vocals, it just doesn’t have that killer melody. It is a shame, as Rajiv is a very impressive artist: he has the look, can certainly sing well, clearly puts the effort into the concepts and could well make it on some level (Mr. Arch’s contribution is solid, too). But this is a lesson to learn: yes, you can have the style, voice, concepts, visuals… But ultimately, never underestimate the song – and ones like this will always provide him with a glass ceiling. Regardless, Rajiv is one to watch out for. (Reviewed by Rahul)

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Nsane – “You Want Me” (Featuring Vex Music)

Dance, Garage, Grime, Hip Hop, House, R&B, Rap, UK Asian

Score: 6.4

It’s nice when a random artist comes along and drops a brutally effective song. Whilst Nsane’s new joint “You Want Me” isn’t perfect, it really does the job for the summer. It’s short, sharp and has a superb beat (almost like a less-fussy “XR2”). The rhymes are solid enough, though perhaps the chorus is a touch undercooked. Whilst this breaks new ground in no way whatsoever, that doesn’t mean it’s not a thoroughly enjoyable joint, and Nsane clearly has the confidence to pull it off. Don’t get it twisted, though – this is, first and foremost, about a really hot beat.

Raxstar – “Cooler Than Me” (Featuring RKZ)

Hip Hop, Mixtape, Pop, R&B, Rap, Remix, Soul, UK Asian

Score: 8.4

Whilst we here at SuperCritic refrain from scoring freestyles and cover songs, we can’t help but break the rules for Raxstar and RKZ’s reinterpretation of Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me” – for it is simply outstanding, and betters the original in almost every way. In fact, the video is barely even necessary: when you first hear Raxstar’s words, his artful description is so dead on that you’re there, witnessing everything unfold in real time, in that club. The simple piano backing is perfect, allowing the artists the space necessary, and RKZ – for what might be the very first time – really excels on the chorus (his growing confidence hinting at a singing career over rapping). It’s one of those efforts that makes you wish that the original simply didn’t exist, so that this could be a fully-recognised original in its own right. Yes, it’s that good.

Jernade Miah – “Switch Me On”

Hip Hop, R&B, UK Asian

Score: 6.9

It must be said that via Twitter, interviews and his videos, young R&B upstart Jernade Miah doesn’t come across particularly well. There’s no law against being brash, in your face and confident – but there’s an art to it that tends to come with achievement/experience, and Miah comes across kind of like a present day (and defensive) Chris Brown. This is surprising, seeing as he’s signed to notorious personality steam-rollers 2 Point Nine Records (what’s the betting he wins at the UK AMA’s in 2011?). The good news is that Jernade is able to force his personality across on the track, without label interference – “Switch Me On” is an extremely professional, assured R&B debut that wouldn’t sound out of place on Hot 97. There’s a lot to be said for that, and it certainly marks him out as one to watch.