DJ DeeKay - In The Mix

Saturday, 9 August 2008

She's Like A Star

Taio Cruz, the UK's latest quasi-American R&B singer to break through into the mainstream, collaborates with The Sugababes and, inexplicably, Busta Rhymes, for the remix to new single "She's Like A Star". The original, sampling the similarly titled Corrine Bailey Rae track, was a highlight of Cruz's debut album Departure, and the presence of the Sugababes here lends the song some weight, both commercially and musically.

"She's Like A Star (remix)" - Taio Cruz featuring Busta Rhymes and The Sugababes

The addition of Busta Rhymes however is confusing. While The Sugababes might earn the song a few extra spins given that they remain A-List pop material in the UK, Busta is no longer a big draw. Here is a rapper whose most recent tour of this country consisted of playing prestigious venues like a near-empty Oceana nightclub in Birmingham. My issue with his appearance here is that, given it should have next to no impact on the song's success, I wonder why Cruz or his label didn't opt for using and up-and-coming British MC in Busta's place.

A verse from Bashy, Kano, or even Chipmunk in place of Busta's generic rambling would have been mutually beneficial for both parties. The rising MC would have a verse on a hit remix in their catalog and hopefully a raised profile as a result of it, and Taio Cruz would've come across as an artist who has even a vague interest in pushing the UK forward. For an artist who is currently writing for Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and the Pussycat Dolls, a collaboration with a homegrown MC might have increased his standing with thus far cynical fans of British black music who have yet to fully embrace him. Not to mention a Chipmunk feature at present would presumably have cost significantly less than what Busta was paid, and the young MC's star is rising at such a rate that this might not be true for much longer. Bashy and Kano would have effortlessly contributed something more than Busta's "noise-to-fill-space".

There seems to be a culture amongst UK R&B artists to work with mediocre US artists rather than give a shot to the cream of our own crop. Cassidy's appearance on a new Leona Lewis track is one such example, although that was perhaps more inspired by label politics than the need for his presence. With a dearth of average US rappers around at present, and more homegrown talent than ever before, there really is no excuse for artists to opt for the inferior American option.

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