Jamaican star Teejay has revealed that his hit track Drift, which he credits as the “fastest song” he’s ever created and which he initially thought was “trash,” is “definitely 90s Dancehall” but with Afrobeats elements deliberately weaved in.
During an interview on the UK’s Kiss Fresh, radio disc jockey DJ Davda commented that the Drift riddim was “thumping” and “sounds like Dancehall even though it’s not.”
A delighted Teejay responded, praising the interviewer for having a good ear for music, and pointed out that the track definitely had the much-talked-about DNA of 90s Dancehall. “Ah, you’re the first person to analyze that it is definitely – toom, toom; toom toom, – definitely 90s Dancehall. Definitely,” he replied, mimicking the Dancehall drum patterns with his voice.
“And what we do now is add the Afrobeats style around it, to give it that body, that happy sound that people need to hear,” added Teejay, who is expected to release a remix of Drift with Afrobeats artist Davido.
After Davda praised Drift as a modernized version of Dancehall, capturing the genre’s essence with the thumping beat and ‘happiness,’ Teejay concurred, but added that the “happy vibes” were also a characteristic of Jamaica exuded through the island’s music.
“Yes, that happy vibes that yeah that people know. The world know and love Jamaica for the happy culture. Everything about us is organic; everything is genuine and real, so the world just also want to feel that also in the music,” the Up Top Boss explained.
During the interview, Teejay, after being asked by Davda which was the fastest song he had ever written, affirmed that it was indeed Drift.
“Drift, I swear: one hour, 45 minutes; laughing telling all my friends in the studio ‘bro this is joke’. I swear, I was telling them ‘bro this is joke’ and you know what? This is what the people want to hear yeah and everybody in the studio was like ‘release it then’”, Teejay recounted.
“I said ‘nah, trash dat’, I swear. And then when my DJ now, who DJ with me on the road seh ‘yuh mad? Mi a leak dis’. And then he was the one who took the video and asked Gabbidon to do the routine for the song, send it to Gabbidon and tell them release it just leak the video. I swear, I swear.”
He added: “Even when I sent it to Sharon (Burke) seh ‘yo Sharon, mi find di song. Look ova Tik Tok’. And shi seh ‘mi see it. It blow up’. Mi never believe in the song, I swear, but that’s what people want to hear simple things, simple words, flows that is catchy you know”.
Drift played a role in Teejay earning a record deal with Warner Records.
It then ebbed its way onto the US Billboard Rhythmic Airplay and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts, where it’s currently at No. 33 and No. 41, respectively.
Produced by DJ Mac, PXNDX (Panda) and Top Braff Music, the track has just under seven million plays on Spotify, while collectively the official video and visualizer have racked up close to 15 million views on YouTube.
However, despite these accomplishments, according to Teejay, his work was not done as he believes Drift has much further to go, his aim being the Billboard Hot 100.
“From Amazura… I did my birthday party in October the 29th. I haven’t sleep bro. Every day I’ve been out there promoting my song (on) every different radio station. Because I tell myself ‘no, listen I need this song on Billboard Hot 100’. I need this song to move up more on the airplay. So anything that the label even ask me to do, I’m not going to be like ‘Oh I’m tired’. No. I’m going to get up and do it, because I’m a determined person. I believe in determination; I always go for what I want,” Teejay said.
“So you have to promote yourself you have to be out there. A lot of people know drift they dancing to it but people still don’t know the face yeah so you have to make sure people know that face. You have to make sure dem hold on to it. That’s what I’m out here doing,” he added.