Jeremih

Jeremih

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There's more to Jeremih's debut album than "Birthday Sex," a bedroom ballad that became a major summertime crossover hit a la J. Holiday's "Bed." Outside of the startlingly direct delivery of its title and the stuttering effect that comes into play whenever Jeremih sings lines like "I know you want to cry-y-y out" and "Girl you know I-I-I" -- a twist on the-Dream's oft-deployed stammer -- "Birthday Sex" is a basic but ingratiating slow jam built over Mick Schultz's gently rocking lullaby beat, rather "Bed"-like. Schultz, who met the singer in college, produces the whole album. Despite being a mere upstart who takes many cues from the hottest pop-savvy R&B producers running, including Tricky Stewart, Carlos McKinney, Danja, and Timbaland, he supplies his partner with a set of backdrops that covers all the bases, from low-slung Southern trunk rattlers to glossy Euro-flavored pop. Jeremih's charmingly sly voice, somewhere between One Twelve's Slim and a young Raphael Saadiq, is hard to not like, especially when he tempers his cockiness with a little sensitivity -- best heard in "Break Up to Make Up," the song that also bears the album's sharpest hooks.

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