Flying the flag for Coventry's rap scene with a self-assured swagger, JAY1 had a meteoric rise after single "Your Mrs" made its way to the 18th spot on the U.K. charts.
Originally rapping as Young Jay, JAY1 started making music seriously after moving from North London to the historically student-based city of Coventry in 2016. Bold, self-assured vocals and candid lyrics gave the U.K. MC a fundamental versatility: despite often letting his lyrics speak for themselves on minimalist trap beats, he demonstrated his ability to adapt to everything from drill to dancehall. After delivering freestyles on two popular U.K. video series, Bl@ckbox and Hardest Out, JAY1 saw his first major success with "That's My Bae," which blew up through online video channels before inspiring its own freestyle challenge. A series of 2018 singles helped boost the rapper's fan base and expand his sound, leading to him trying his hand at summer dancehall on "Good Vibes" and blunt braggadocio on "Becky." It wasn't until "Your Mrs" that the Coventry MC found his breakout hit: After a snippet of its chorus received social media buzz, the song's music video hit a million views on streaming services just three days after its release. Building on this success, he quickly landed a spot on the remix of Russ and Tion Wayne's "Keisha & Becky," before appearing on Charlie Sloth's Fire in the Booth radio show in April 2019. His debut EP, One Wave, was released in July of the same year. ~ David Crone