The letter J is very symbolic to the art of hip-hop music. For example, Jay-Z is arguably one of the best rappers to ever touch a microphone. J. Cole, newcomer to the hip-hop game, is not only one of the youngest to excel at the craft of rap, but his rhymes also present a more methodical and mature point of view than his age suggests. Just Blaze manages to bless our ears with gem after gem every time he produces a beat.
But those are all names you may have heard before or read about on the Internet. There is a new Jay in the game now. Neither newcomer nor youngster, he is shaping up to be one of the more doper emcees in 2010.
Jay Electronica, born in 1976 in New Orleans, has seen struggle in his life, and he uses discourse effectively to paint vivid pictures of that struggle.
He has worked with some of the best beat-makers in the hip-hop industry, including the likes of Just Blaze and the great, late J Dilla. He is also responsible for the percussion-less beat that is found on the intro track to Nas’ last album.
“Exhibit C” is one of the few projects that Jay Electronica and Just Blaze have been working on during this past year. It has been said that this song is better than “Your” entire album, which is backed up entirely with impetuous lyrics and an equally accompanied beat.
Just Blaze creates a musical pearl of a beat taken from a simple sample of a 1967 song “Cross My Heart” by Billy Stewart, combined with a rhythmic putting together of piano notes and a heavy, head-nodding drum cadence.
“Ladies and Gentleman, this time around the revolution will not be televised,” are the introduction words said by Just Blaze before we get to experience the way a hip-hop song should be. Also, this is a low blow to the rappers who are known more for their dance songs and all those one-hit wonders. This time around, it won’t be about what moves one can do, but what words one can say.
“When I was sleepin’ on the train / Sleepin’ on Meserole Ave out in the rain / Without even a single slice of pizza to my name / Too proud to beg for change mastering the pain / when New York n– was calling southern rappers lame / But then Jackin’ our slang.”
Electronica puts the picture in a frame for the listener as he talks about being homeless and having nowhere to go, but more importantly he addresses the issue of hip-hop and its evolution.
Yes, hip-hop started in New York, but it died as it went South. However, Electronica answers that. No matter how unorthodox the South may seem when it comes to rap, the northerners still use the lingo of those in the South. This doesn’t just pertain to northern rap, but also America as a whole. (Ever heard of the term ‘bling bling’?)
After a short prophecy of hearing an angel prophesying the gospel of Electronica’s music career, he says, “I ain’t believe it then / N– I was homeless / Fightin’, shootin’ dice, smoking weed on the corners / Tryna find the meaning of life in a Corona / ‘Til the 5 percenters rolled up on a n– and informed him.”
The content as well as the lyrics are enough to send any hip-hop junkie into euphoria from an overdose of greatness. His religion comes alive in his lyrics as he references a conversation with a practicing Muslim.
“Hmmm, it’s quite amazing that you rhyme how you do/ and how you shine like you grew up in a shrine in Peru.” That’s a nifty way to say Electronica’s flow is somewhat holy water to the rap game.
“Nas hit me up on the phone, said ‘What you waitin on?’/ Tip hit me up with a twitt, said ‘What you waitin on’/ Diddy send a text every hour on the dot sayin’ / When you gone drop that verse, n– you taking long.” After Electronica’s name drops a bit, he says his flow is not only the truth, but also the realest in the game saying, “So now I’m back spittin’ that He Could Pass A Polygraph / That Reverend Run rockin’ Adidas out on Hollis Ave.”
But it is near the end of the song where we see not only witty word play, lively lyrics and a spiritual and sensual flow, but we also see a diverse use of language. For example, he says, “They call me Jay Electronica / F– that / Call me Jay ElecHannukah / Jay ElecYarmulke / JayElectRamadaan Muhammad Asalaamica RasoulAllah Supana Watallah through your monitor / My Uzi still weigh a ton check the barometer / I’m hotter than the mother f– sun, check the thermometer.”
But one of the wittier and more humorous lines in the song brings the track to a close. With Jay Electronica’s style of rhyme, it isn’t hard to rap, but it may be hard to finish. His neglect of a hook or chorus is what makes him standout.
“My momma told me never throw a stone and hide your hand / I got a lot of family, you got a lot of fans / That’s why the people got my back like the Verizon man.”
If this were a telephone ad, then I would probably say something about cell phone service, but this is about the best song of 2009. With that said, play this song on your iPod and turn it up loud. “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Good.”
~Keep hip-hop alive~