Lockdown has been long, so when I heard that JLS had released a new song, I’m not ashamed to say I grabbed my phone, screeched a little on the inside, and pulled up Spotify straight away. With the classic boy band pop tunes of ‘Everybody in Love’ and ‘Beat Again’ in my head (and realistically, in my heart) I smashed the play button on their new song ‘Time’. So, you can imagine the confusion that hit when it wasn’t Aston Merrygold’s dulcet voice that floated out of the speaker but rather… a drill track?
The surprise was a shared experience amongst the JLS stans of Twitter and Instagram at that moment but I mused that times have changed since I proudly wore a purple JLS hoodie in 2012, and maybe JLS’ sound has too. It was the comments on TikTok user Morisassy’s video that finally cleared the mystery up for me.
i refuse to believe JLS just released this as their comeback single♬ Time – JLS
Turns out, JLS aren’t the masterminds behind this track at all. *Cue the longing in my heart for new JLS music to return*. JLS acknowledged the mix-up on their official Twitter, calling it a ‘Sick track, but we can confirm it’s not one of ours’. The idea of JLS releasing drill music has gotten mixed reviews on social media, leaving me to wonder if this incident will trigger experimentation with different styles of music for their future releases.
Sick track, but we can confirm it’s not one of ours 🤣🤣🤣 You’ll be the first to know when we’ve got new music coming…😜 https://t.co/RIol6Z7Aqv— JLS (@JLSOfficial) February 20, 2021
In fact, the song is actually ‘Look’ by J9 and Switch, and after getting to talk to the enjoyably authentic rapper, J9, about his music and the mix-up, I personally can’t imagine anyone better for this stroke of publicity luck to happen to.
‘Look’ has a powerful beat and with punchy lyrics such as “I’m a man of my word when I say alert” and “I’m tryna take man’s soul like he signed a contract”, J9 and Switch aren’t here to mess around. The backing beat goes hard and I predict this song will have a big legacy in gyms everywhere after lockdown.
I caught up with J9 to ask about the song, the JLS mix-up and his plans for the future.
Emilia: Tell me about ‘Look’. What was the inspiration for it?
J9: That song was written a while ago, coming up around a year ago. In terms of inspiration, it was more of a ‘let me just get this off my chest’ type-vibe, which was how the song got recorded.
E: Is that your usual process or was this a new style for you?
J9: Usual style; I can’t really write about what’s not happening. It’s a pride thing.
E: Tell me more, is integrity and pride a big part of your brand as an artist?
J9: Definitely. It’s the same for Switch or anyone closely around us. I personally struggle to imagine things to rap about, but I know a lot of others who think of stuff and get their job done. Us? We don’t know how they do that so we just live our life and write about it.
E: The official JLS Twitter has called the song a ‘sick track’ and it has generated a lot of hype on social media this week – how do you feel about this?
J9: A lot of emotions to be honest, as you would expect… confused being the first one, laughter following after, and so on.Embed from Getty Images
E: Do you have any idea how it ended up on their platform?
J9: No idea! I must’ve been on the phone to Switch one night, he then said someone used our song and renamed it. The moment he said that my phone started pinging. I was getting told my song’s trending on Twitter and TikTok. I made a Twitter account and TikTok that same hour. It was kinda mad.
E: How have you felt knowing so many people across the world are suddenly listening to your song?
J9: I’m pleased at the reaction to the song anyway. Not that I’m focused on reactions too tough (sic) because believing in yourself is what I find priority anyways, but if the majority of JLS’ fanbase like it, then it explains itself, really.
Weve had Covid but nothing is more unexpected in 2021 than a Drill track appearing on JLS spotify account. What is going on? Surely its not them 😭🤣— Sam Gibson Parkinson (@stickoheinomite) February 19, 2021
E: Looking to the future, if you could collaborate with any other artist on a song, who would it be?
J9: At this point, I’m not sure as I’m still tunnel-visioned. I haven’t thought about it, but I’m open to collaborations for sure.
E: Do you have any other songs in the works?
J9: I’ve got new music on the way, with different energy compared to ‘Look’ coming out soon.
E: Any last thoughts you want to share?
As you can see, J9 is about as authentic as they come, and his collaboration with Switch making waves on social media promises big things for both of them in the future. With now over 50,000 views on youtube since its release on the 7th Feb 2021, it’s been a big debut for Switch and J9.
‘Look’ is available on all streaming services now.