Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Nick Jonas -- is it a law of the universe that the first boy band member to abandon the pack for a solo career inevitably becomes a smooth, R&B-crooning sex symbol? (Well, okay, then there are the Nick Carters and Ashley Parker Angels of the world, but never mind.)
If so, former One Direction
traitor bad boy Zayn Malik is certainly gunning for next in the line of succession. Just two months after a very portentous demo "accidentally" "leaked" on the web as a semi-official stamp of independence, another leak has surfaced. It's not a new or finished song, but it's almost as good: It's a cover of rap duo Rae Sremmurd's sleeper hit "No Type." And it sounds awfully familiar.
Like its predecessor, the smooth R&B cut wasn't dropped by Malik himself; in fact, none of the music we've heard from him has been self-released. Instead, British rapper Mic Righteous, whose verse is featured on the song, published the "No Type" cover on his Soundcloud account Monday. It was immediately removed, according to Righteous, for copyright infringement by "his publisher." Even producer Naughty Boy, who controversially leaked the first demo, is claiming that the cover "has nothing to do" with him or Malik.
Righteous wrote on Facebook that he released it himself because Malik's contract with One Direction forbids him from releasing new music for two years.
Technically, though, that might not be true. According to a recent Billboard report, each member of 1D is signed to their label, Syco, as part of a group and individually. "A 'leaving member clause' in the band's deal allows the act to continue as a foursome," it said, "and it also offers the label the option to pick up Malik's contract as a solo artist." Which is to say his contract is not likely that cut-and-dried.
Malik himself has not commented, likely because he is busy. Whatever the case, the Internet and Directioners being what they are, the song is widely available for streaming basically wherever now.