Back with the pop anthem, “Mama Ain’t Proud,” one of Australia’s top-selling male artists, Guy Sebastian, teams up with 2 Chainz to deliver an edgy and bold single from his album Madness. A veteran in the contemporary Aussie music scene, Sebastian shot to fame as the winner of Australian Idol in 2003. The soul sensation has gone on to release eight studio albums, two of which have reached #1 on the Australian charts, joining his six #1 singles. Touring with Taylor Swift, writing with Brian McKnight and acting as a judge on the Australian X-Factor for three seasons (notably producing two winners), Sebastian has made his mark on the music industry as an artist who dares to push the limits musically and lyrically. Collaborating over the years with Mya, Eve, Jordin Sparks, and Lupe Fiasco in his hit “Battle Scars,” the singer returns with the follow-up to “Come Home With Me” as he approaches his first arena tour in 2015.
It’s important to preface this review with the fact that I am a Guy Sebastian fan. And not just, “Oh, I like this singer;” more like when I was 14 I was about as nuts as a Directioner over this guy. Over the past decade, I have watched Sebastian grow and evolve as an artist. I have stood with him as he expressed views that sent the religious community in Australia into uproar, cooed over the adorable pictures of his two sons and have seen him on tour too many times to count. So clearly, I really like Guy Sebastian. Due to this, I approached “Mama Ain’t Proud” with a fair amount of anticipation. Largely, I was rewarded. The single is catchy, has an appropriate amount of funk, and mixes the old school sounds of 50s guitar with synth, an insatiable drum beat and also shows off the best of Sebastian’s superb vocals. The addition of 2 Chainz adds an entirely new dimension to the song, and it turns into a low riding funk tune.
While this is a perfectly-crafted pop song, meaning consumers will love it, within it is a message of boldness and indifference. Lyrics like, “Dance how you wanna, love who you wanna, be who you wanna,” communicate the singer’s conviction about living life true to your own values and identity. In many ways, this song is reminiscent of his hit “Get Along,” which, while written in an entirely different style, communicates a message of love and acceptance. The strength of Sebastian in delivering this message will resonate with audiences particularly in the US, and when mixed with the mind tingling melody it is sure to be a hit. However, as with some of Sebastian’s past tunes, some listeners will find issue with the lyrics and how they corroborate with the singer’s well-known religious beliefs. While Sebastian has weathered the controversy of this in the past, it will cause a stir among listeners as they observe the development in Guy Sebastian as an artist and a human being over the last 10 years.
“Mama Ain’t Proud’ is fun and expressive, showcasing the musicality of Sebastian as he interweaves various styles and genres into the one tune. This creative expression can be a little hard to follow, and it could be argued that the addition of 2 Chains, however notable, nearly takes away from what could have been a pure pop chorus carried largely by a great melody and Sebastian’s vocal prowess. In saying this, fans of rap and the urban scene will likely enjoy the addition to the song as it adds grittiness the tune otherwise lacked.