I love Jordan’s… Retro 1s and 3s to be specific, and while Concords aren’t as consistently dropped, those joints are fire too. Sometimes it takes one retro drop to bring out another. Gotta have your money ready for it.
I also love hip hop.
Two Jays dropped Thursday night… and it was truly a collaboration between Jay Electronica, who has been dropping his elusive debut album for over ten years, and Jay-Z, his mentor and arguably at 50 the GOAT MC. Dude is spittin at 50 like most dudes tryna spit at 25 or 30, creatively. He’s reached the age of no fucks given. He ain’t holding back the bars anymore.
“If skills sold truth be told
I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli”-Jay Z, Moment of Clarity
Electronica, always the lyricist, would drop these masterpieces of song off and get everyone excited about this debut… that never came. In reality, I don’t know that that is what we got this time either. It was like to get those Jay Es to drop, those Jay Zs had to release a new color way so we could cop them both. A lot of y’all are complaining, but both those joints are fire… just not what you expected. But expectations keep you disappointed. This was no disappointment. It was lyrical boxing, fancy footwork, grand entrances, and all. It’s what you get when you let creatives just…Create. Both of these men aren’t moved by what is dictated as popular by public consumption. This is excellence because it’s unexpected. It’s reminiscent of Only Built for Cuban Linx. Raekwon and Ghostfaces verbal tag team.
A Written Testimony is Watch the Throne II. It’s not the same as WTT but it is definitely it’s long lost cousin. The big difference is Kanye outshined Jay on WTT, purposely so because he had just dropped arguably his best work, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Romance… so he was on fire. We know Jay is good at keeping the peeling on and not revealing all of himself. There he let Ye do his thing and kinda just supported. But this… is different. Dude was full on onion, either slice up these words too or mine will make you cry. Plus he big ups Lil Elt with the Get the Gat hook. Roc Nation is an army better yet a navy.
50 year old Jay Z is a wild boy.
“Listen, I named my son, Sir, so you gotta call my son, “Sir”
That boy already knighted, he ain’t even out his romper…
That gossip I send bald heads, Lou Gossett out the gun, sir
I’m brazy, I’m so brazen, I’m “Raisin in the Sun” sir“-Jay-Z, The Blinding
He’s better. 4.44 let us know he had an arsenal of shit to stay past the point most rappers have sat down and started buying wings franchises. He let er go on A Written Testilimony, and rightfully so. We called this a debut album, but it’s a mentor challenging his mentee to be greater. You can’t put out bullshit after waiting for ten years yo. So let’s shadow box in this joint and see what you go.
I mean look… Jay Z is playing hip hop hop scotch.
“If you didn’t have no straps, you couldn’t wear your necklace
Niggas hand around your throat, that’s a choker reference…“
Then picks it back up bars later…
“You mouth off for the cameras, I make a silent movie
Now here’s some jewelry
No civilization is conquered from the outside until it destroys itself from within
Pen, put a pin in that, will come back when I fin
You can’t talk like I talk ’cause you ain’t been where I been, young.” -Jay-Z, The Ghost of Soulja Slim
Electronica often follows and here pays homage to Jay:
“If it come from me and Hov, consider it Qur’an
If it come from any of those, consider it Harām
The minaret that Jigga built me on the Dome of the Roc
Was crafted, so beautifully, consider this Adhan
From a hard place and a rock to the Roc Nation of Islam
I emerged on the wave that Tidal made to drop bombs” -Jay Electronica, The Ghost of Soulja Slim
They are two heavyweights but Jay is Evander and Electronica is Tyson… and you gotta do more than bite at ears to win the crown. Jay Electronica was eventually outrapped by Jay-Z… he ain’t the first one, but he sparred with dude like a G. His real solo debut, that shit will be some five mics shit. Let’s be real, in a sea of dudes who call themselves Baby, there is no doubt that Jay Electronica is a beast among men… but you gotta put out whole projects to show those skills. Put the heavyweight equivalents of Exhibit C, Road to Perdition, and Letters to Falon on an album.
“It’s the return of Mr. Shakur spittin’ out phlegm at paparazzi
That’s my new style“-Electronica
Electronica was made better by this collab. His lyrics were crisper, both spiritual and brutal. You can honor Allah and your ferocity on the mic simultaneously. The production Electronica did on this album was phenomenal. He makes beats that he can freak to, and he rides those bitches with expertise. I personally can’t wait to see what dude does next. WTT was the mentor releasing his mentee out to the world, this was no different, but since Electronica’s drops are inconsistent… Jay basically put him through boot camp on wax first to prove him ready. In this corner…
“Some ask me “Jay, man, why come for so many years you been exempt?”
‘Cause familiarity don’t breed gratitude, just contempt
And the price of sanity is too damn high, just like the rent
Mm-mm-mm, mm-mm-mm, uh, uh
Sometimes I was held down by the gravity of my pen
Sometimes I was held down by the gravity of my sin Sometimes, like Santiago, at crucial points of my novel
My only logical option was to transform into the wind”- Electronica
He’s ripe and ready… lyrically we had no doubt, but he’s locked in spiritually and mentally now. And he’s right, there is no coming back from immense fame, and sometimes like Paul Coehlo’s character Santiago in The Alchemist , you just have to stop and confer with nature on your journey and the wind will escort you to your next destination in your journey. You can’t do anything but learn from verbal sparring with Jay-Z. They call you Jay Electronica, Jay ElecHannukah, Jay ElecYarmulke, Jay ElectRamadaan, Muhammad Asalaamica RasoulAllah. I bet Jay-Z calls you Timothy Thedford. I mean everyone has to call his son, Sir. Now go light some of Badu’s panties and get in the zone.
“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.“-Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon