In 2008, the Jamaican producer-turned-singer Serani released a pretty, pleading track titled “No Games.” He had already helped create major singles like Sean Paul’s “We Be Burnin,’” so he knew how to pen propulsive, hooky hits; sure enough, “No Games” became a popular single in the U.S. in 2009.
A decade later, rising Jamaican singer Tosh Alexander offers a slick follow-up in the form of her new single “Games,” which makes a case against playing hard to get. Alexander’s requests are simple and easy to fulfill: “Just send reply sometimes/Say you’re mine, all mine.”
Like Serani, Alexander offers a deft mixture of dancehall during the verses and R&B — the clouds of backing vocals that drift upwards during the chorus bring to mind old Aaliyah singles — during the chorus. “Games” is warm and graceful, but there’s a sharp warning hidden in the bridge: “Want to make this work/ Getting on my nerves with your twists and turns.”
Alexander turned to the producer Jaxx for the slippery, radio-ready “Games” beat. Jaxx, who has also worked with Kranium and Jada Kingdom, makes sure the Serani sample is tasteful but never overwhelming.
“Games” is being distributed by Aftercluv, a Universal Music label that focuses on elevating multiple strains of global dance music.