For anyone in the pop-music game, getting a feature from a hot MC is a huge gift — an added boost of name recognition and artistry all in one. And British R&B sensation Jay Sean is more than grateful for the present he just received.
"My first single to hit the United States is called 'Down,' and it features [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist]," Sean told MTV News.
[url id="http://newsroom.mtv.com/2009/04/15/catching-up-with-jay-sean-the-newest-member-of-the-cash-money-family"]Although he's been active in the British-Asian[/url] and Global South Asian markets for six years, Sean put out his second album, My Own Way, independently in Europe and India last year. It quickly brought him to the top of the European R&B charts, sandwiched between names like Ne-Yo and Mariah Carey. His video for the album's first single "Ride It" has more than 10 million views on YouTube, and he plays for crowds of over 50,000 while on tour outside of the U.S. Eventually, that success caught the attention of Ronald "Slim" Williams, the CEO of Cash Money Records.
"He looked at that and went, 'Ten million views and this kid is not in America?' " Sean said. "For him I think he felt, 'I want to help this kid, and he needs our engine, that is Cash Money Records, to take him to the next level.' "
After performing at the MOBO Awards in the U.K. last October, Sean got the news that the deal was done and he was signed to the Miami-based label. From there things moved fast and furiously.
"I'm in Miami at the Hit Factory; it's 2 o'clock in the morning; outside, Timbaland has just pulled up next to Scott Storch," Sean said, describing the setting where he recorded his new album, set for release this summer. "And now Lil Wayne has just walked through the door and gone, 'Wassap, Jay.' It was really bizarre."
Sean said he recorded "Down" in an hour and a half, but his new bosses decided there was something missing.
"Slim called me up and was like, 'Yo, man, there's something wrong on the second verse that just doesn't sound right,' " Sean recalled. "I was like, 'Really? What?' He played the song. All of a sudden I heard Wayne's Auto-Tune stuff, and I'm like, 'OK. What's going on? Right! That's Lil Wayne on my song right now!' That day was brilliant."