Introducing Fugative (or, Bieber: watch your back)

The UK music scene has been busy of late, exporting more than its fair share of indie pop-rock and electronic music. The next British Invader may be a kid with his eye on a piece of that Justin Bieber money.

Fugative, aka Harry James Byart, is a pop rapper from Essex. Just sixteen years old (and exactly ten days younger than Mr. Bieber), he writes and produces his music with Richard “YoungLord” Frierson. The pairing is a natural fit, as the Top 40 hip-hop producer was also a sixteen year old prodigy, working with Puff Daddy’s Hitmen Production Team in the mid-90s. The Bad Boy connection goes deeper, as Fugative is signed by Bad Boy co-founder / ex-Mary J. Blige manager Kirk Burrowes.

Fugative’s hip-hop is the sonic and lyrical counterpoint to Bieber’s R&B: age-appropriate, de-sexualized, “schools and girls are confusing” territory. The beats range from 90s dance throwbacks (“It’s Summertime,” which reached #4 on the UK R&B charts) to re-hashed club beats (“Supafly” apes the fills from “Drop it like it’s hot”). Still – a hit is a hit, and Fugative’s audience probably doesn’t care about originality.

Between shuttling him between Atlanta and the UK and building his social media presence, the team behind Fugative are also trying something novel to boost their young performer. Remixes of his tracks are not coming from Timbaland or Young Money – but from top EDM producers like A1 Bassline, Roska, and Moto Blanco.

In fact, I first found Fugative while searching for a song with an infectious “I think I’ve got a crush” hook. Turns out the song was Fugative’s “Crush” (single release on May 10th), remixed by none other than TGRI-favorites Nadastrom. Keeping the pop melody and sugary hook, the guys dropped most of Fugative’s rapping in lieu of some serious wobble:

By brandishing his blog credentials before he even gets a stateside release, Fugative will already be on the minds of taste makers and culture fiends when he gets a US push. Probably just in time for the summertime.

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