On his 2004 debut album, Jay Sean seemed to be battling the preconceptions he felt would preclude his success. A British-Asian singer, rapper and producer, he craved acceptance based on merit, not cultural tokenism. This follow-up, though, finds Sean carefully retrenching: his singular sound and worldview have been reined in, subservient to the demands of the R&B marketplace. My Own Way is a decent record, but erroneously titled: the sheen given by the producers, J-Remy and Alan Sampson, to songs such as January's top 20 hit Ride It and the Billie Jean-esque Maybe strip away all that hard-won individuality. He has lost - not for ever, one hopes - the stuff that made him stand out.
Angus Batey is a freelance journalist who has written extensively on music
(particularly, though not exclusively, hip-hop), defence and aerospace.
His music journalism has been published in most British national newspapers and in
specialist music magazines such as Mojo, NME, Q and the late and lamented
Hip Hop Connection. His defence writing has appeared in newspapers and in
specialist titles including Aviation Week, Combat Aircraft, Digital
Battlespace and Unmanned Vehicles. He has also written about cinema, TV,
literature, football and cricket. He can be contacted via his website,
www.angusbatey.com, or through @angusbatey on Twitter.