It’s only two days into summer and Jeremih may already have a lock for releasing the defining song of the season. The 21-year-old Chicago singer’s debut track “Birthday Sex” is a Top 10 radio smash, thanks to its slinky R&B groove and Jeremih’s X-rated tale of giving his lady a special gift for her birthday. (Dude also gets bonus points for cribbing Rihanna’s “Umbrella” with his catchy repetition of syllables like “aye-aye-aye-aye.”) “You got to go all out with birthday sex,” Jeremih tells Rolling Stone. “This is a special day you only get once. You should cherish that. But at the end of the day, this is just a song. You can make it what you want to make it.”
This week, Jeremih released a clip for “Birthday Sex” that’s got all the hallmarks of your typical steamy music video, from bottles of Cristal to culinary foreplay with strawberries, whipped cream and blindfolds. And while the clip is relatively tame — didn’t Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke pioneer the whole sex-and-food thing in the 1986 movie 9 1/2 Weeks? — Jeremih is wise (or maybe just straight-up sleazy enough) to update the clip with some references for the YouTube era: dig the sub-plot of the two making a home-made sex tape.
Jeremih, who is gearing up to release his debut album next week, cut “Birthday Sex” last year with his producer pal Mike Schultz, who he met at Chicago’s Columbia College. The track caught fire on regional radio and soon caught the ears of Def Jam boss LA Reid, who signed Jeremih to the label in March. These days, Jeremih is finding that he’s getting more and more propositions from lady fans. “Every day, girls tell me it’s their birthday,” he says. “I’m thinking of working for hire.”