Monday, November 2, 2009

Electric Feel

Probably nothing can sum up my love/hate relationship with Jay Electronica better than the short video above, a teaser for a track with Just Blaze off of his ever-forthcoming debut. For the first 45 seconds, it's the most pretentious thing hip-hop has ever produced, like a black Hansel from Zoolander inserted into a Wes Anderson film. I mean, really?

Then the beat goes full-retard at :46 and I forget where my face is.

Then Jay-E materializes out of the ether and tears it open with 4 bars that bleed in a way rap never does, with genuine vulnerability and uncertainty.

Then, just as I'm wrapping my head around it, around all of the dizzying possibility just laid in my lap in the space of a minute in a half, it's over.

So it is with the whole of Jay's career, a series of false starts that are all the more infuriating for their ineffable brilliance. The dude is a total enigma, disappearing for months at a time only to resurface with a track so untouchable, so right, that all the hype in the world doesn't seem like enough. Then, like clockwork, he pulls a Chappelle and flees. Such talent, such a tease.

In an era when every other rapper is using the internet to bury their fans with every half-baked idea that enters their mind (hi Weezy), Jay-E has slowly and methodically brought the entire blogosphere to a fever pitch. And for good reason - nobody in rap has ever set the lyrical bar as high as he does. He spits with an insatiable curiosity that this incurious genre has never seen before, a pleading, an effort, an exploding in every direction that reminds me of no one else. All of which means this: Jay Electronica might be the first rapper to be bigger than hip hop, or he might never release another song in his life. He’s 4 bars in and all we can do is wait.

Download the "What the F*ck is a Jay Electronica" Mixtape here

1 comment:

Sanju Sebastian said...

sounds to me like that 'dear moleskine' is using at least part of the same sample that's used in de la soul's 'sunshine' (off of stakes is high)