Today we take a look at Jay Electronica, and we pay respect where respect is due. For those of you who aren’t fimilar, its time to get fimilar. For those of you who are, pat yourselves on the back and rub it in your friends faces, especially those who don’t listen to new music when you try to show it to them, and then call your music tastes lame and don’t let you be the DJ in the car. But i digress…
Jay Electronica was born in the infamous Magnolia Project in New Orleans, Lousiana. At age 19, he left home to chase his musical dreams. Only problem was, he didn’t have anywhere specific in mind. So he bounced around the major East Coast cities such as Philly, Baltimore, and the mecca, NYC. While travelling around, he picked up pieces of each cities specific sound. Eventually, he was approached by the 5 Percenters while living in NYC and converted to Islam. Jay first got hype from a track called Act I: The Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), which he self-released on his Myspace page in 2007. Act I is unlike any hip hop song in recent memory. The track opens with a 6 minute intro that lets us hear Just Blaze and Erikyah Badu (who just happens to be Jay’s baby momma) brag about how talented and different Jay Elec is from the rest of the pack. From there, Jay took parts of the soundtrack from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It is 15 minutes of various loops, each being seperated by a sample of dialog, mostly from the movies Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp, thank God) and The Prestige. No hooks, no bass, no percussion, just pure and intelligent word play. Check it out below.
Act I saw Jay become a popular topic. Famous artists like Nas and Diddy hailed him as the new savior of rap, but no one knew anything about him. LA Weekly called him “one of the most buzzed about rappers of 2008″ while sites like HipHopDX said he was “at times more like an urban myth than an actual artist.” This all lead to Mr. Electronica finding himself in the middle of a bidding war from various record labels. Diddy wanted him at Bad Boy Records, and one Shawn Carter wanted him signed to Rocafeller Records (Jay eventually signed to Rocafeller). After signing to the Roc Nation, Jay dropped several free singles online to help build hype, one of which even featured his new boss, Jay-Z. For those of you that haven’t heard a lot of Jay Electronica, these tracks will be a good place to start.
The Announcment (ft. John F. Kennedy):
The Ghost of Christopher Wallace (ft. Diddy):