So far, PSY’s P-Nation label has emerged with a whimper instead of a bang. After his own album was postponed from its original July release, the agency made an inauspicious debut with Crush’s Nappa. That song was fine, but par for the course when it comes to Crush releases. Despite doing well on digital charts, a lack of promotion made it feel rather forgettable. The same can be said for Jessi’s Who Dat B, which regurgitates hip-hop trends rather than opt for the kind of genre-blending sounds we’ve come to associate with PSY’s musical endeavors.
Of course, this isn’t really fair. Just because she’s signed to PSY’s label doesn’t mean that Jessi needs to conform to his style. But I guess I expected something more idiosyncratic from P-Nation. I’d love for them to develop an in-house group of new and exciting composers — a team that can give the agency’s artists the kind of forward-thinking material they deserve. Instead, Who Dat B harnesses Jessi’s tried-and-true shtick, reheated with some of the most grating hip-hop elements of the moment.
Part of Jessi’s appeal has always been her ability to shift comfortably between vocals and rap. Her personality is a force of nature, and commands attention when paired with the right song. Who Dat B is pure attitude, but its insistence on stylistic autotune does her no favors. Paired with a minimalist, go-nowhere trap beat, this is a recipe for utter boredom. Yes, Jessi’s husky performance retains many of the qualities that fans adore, but this is less a song than a statement. It’s like the aural equivalent to the first episode of competition series Unpretty Rapstar, when all the contestants enter and try to intimidate each other by pacing around and throwing halfhearted barbs over stock production. That may work for reality TV, but it makes for an easily skippable single.