"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Heart Jay Electronica

"Thankfully, this man remains immune to the insidious effects of Baduizm. Quick! Somebody develop a vaccine!"

In a world where every aspiring rapper’s hustle primarily consists of flooding the market with more disposable mixtapes and “Run This Town” freestyles than my desktop’s trash bin can conceivably handle, Jay Electronica’s approach to career promotion is shockingly spartan. It seems like ages since the man has released a full length CDQ instead choosing to release tantalizingly, short snippets of restrained brilliance in MP3 form and live performance videos to satiate the unending, rabid hunger of the internet, true school hip hop fan. In my mind, the one minute, forty-five seconds of the video preview of the Just Blaze produced “Dear Moleskine” is the most thrilling two minutes of music produced all year and it’s not even a finished song. Jay doesn't just believe in the power of quality over quantity. He believes in nothing less than flawless perfection. It's an admirable quality but it leaves the devoted fan of his with a maddening case of blue balls.

So you can imagine the school boy enthusiasm that I felt when Jay released two new, unreleased tracks within twenty-four hours of each other today. “Suckas” and “2 Step” are easily some of the best music released this all year and continues Jay’s burgeoning candidacy for the greatest rapper of his generation. Jay’s perfectionism is obvious and palpable on both of these tracks as his sheer mastery of the lyrical arts continue to astound. The man is simply not playing around. The man needs to release his debut album yesterday.

Download: Jay Electronica - Suckas [Produced By J Dilla] - via Nah Right

Download: Jay Electronica - 2 Step [Produced By Sol Messiah]
- via Dot Got It

Bonus Video: Jay Electronica - Dear Moleskine [Produced By Just Blaze]


tray said...

You know, you're allowed to link straight to another guy's zshare so long as you give said another guy credit. Other than that, Jay is okay. I mean, I understand it's 2009 and you have to reach far and wide to get your lyrics fix, the way you used to do with Saigon ("he’s Kool G. Rap reincarnated crossed with the social consciousness of Nasir Jones in the form of a short scrappy rapper like Prodigy" - actually, more like a poor man's Smoothe The Hustler), but I'm sure you'd acknowledge, or at least I'd hope you'd acknowledge, that if this guy came out 15 years ago, or even 10, he'd be a footnote to a footnote. How does Jay Electronica compare to, say, OC? He has some talent, no doubt, though he could stand to get a personality transfusion and has a so-so voice, but let's not gas him up and call his debut album, if he ever has one, a classic, and then 2 years later admit that you never listen to it anymore. The way you talk about 'Dear Moleskine' a reader would think it was the modern-day 'Life Is Like a Dice Game.' I hear a less interesting version of one of the instrumentals on Madlib's Movie Scenes vol 1-2 and 15 seconds of fairly pedestrian raps about being depressed so bad.

DocZeus said...


You're failure to engage in any music beyond a superficial level is simply astounding. What do you even get out of listening to rap music or life in general? (As far as I can tell the only rap song that I've heard you praise since you started commenting has been "Turn My Swag On." Something far more egregious than bigging up Saigon) Consider that for a second. You show no interest in engaging with the music beyond "I don't like this. This sucks." or "Somebody else did this once before better, therefore this sucks" which is such an asinine level of a thinking. You do the knowledge because your clearly well-versed as anybody in the music but completely miss the context.

What makes Jay Electronica so good is his ability to convey very subtle but palpable emotions through descriptive detail in his storytelling. He builds his verses slowly and surely creating dramatic narrative that reaches crescendo over the verse and usually ends in a near virtuosic display of technical ability. For example,
his verse on "Google Eyes" which might be a serious verse of the year contender. He's able to describe the sexual electricity of a fucking email encounter that he has with an admirer on the road...from both perspectives. It's not only genuinely sexy but it's a textbook display of virtuosic lyrical ass lyricism too.

He doesn't waste words and is able to find unique internal rhythms within the frame of the song as well. It's stunning.

I feel sorry for you if you dismiss Jay Electronica as pedestrian. He's really, really not. He's one of the few new artists that I could listen to for his lyrics alone.

Now whether, he ever releases is album depends on anything. The dude is highly eccentric (he's married to Badu after all) and seems like something of recluse.

hl said...

I disagree Tray. Jay Elec is probably the most interesting rapper I've heard in the past decade. He has a way of putting together concepts that seriously make me question "how did he think of that?". The same way saigon used to years back. The difference is that Jay's quality over quantity approach leaves the listener wanting more. While Saigon beefing with every rapper and constant blogging makes you want him to go away for a while. That song Jay did about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina is one of the most vivid stories I've ever heard.

Also, I think if Jay Elec had came out in 94, he absolutely would be well recieved if he rhymed as well as he does now. Probably more so, because people wouldn't have to think twice whether or not he's overrated. I think fans back then just appreciated a good MC without over analyzing. I think Jay is taking what OC did, and building on it.

DocZeus said...


I couldn't agree more about Jay Elect. There are so many fascinating aspects about him that go beyond your standard "conscious" rapper.

Perhaps, his most underappreciated quality is that he's one of the few rappers in the Mos Def/Common tradition that are as just as comfortable rapping over Dilla beats as they are with dirty south production.

"Walk With Me", his New Orleans bounce record with Lil Flip, is one of the best songs that he's done and he just absolutely destroys that beat. He would absolutely kill rapping over a Zaytoven beat alongside Gucci Mane.

Granted, the man has no commerical aspirations or prospects whatsover but the man is the defintion of an artist. I can't speak highly enough about him.

bding7 said...

"exhibit c" is great, by the way. as a side note, it's great to that just blaze is back, and his sound has grown.

Nova Blade said...

Jay Elect makes ne proud to be a New Orleanian. Well, that and the 09 Saints. XD

DocZeus said...

This was initially posted by HL but I deleted it on accident:

"Man, I'd be so happy if Jay Elec did a whole album with Zaytoven. That dude is incredible. The thing is, few rappers that are nice would sound good over those types of beats.

I agree that Jay, Mos, and Common are pretty diverse as far a what they can rock with. Bun B, Wale, and Big Boi can walk that line successfully as well."