Is Jay-Z Signing Jay Electronica A Good Idea?

In 2008, I checked out Jay Electronica and was less than impressed. Naturally, I voiced my opinion here on Parlour.

“Ultimately, I wanted to tell Jay, “Yo, rap mu’fucka! That’s what I came to see. I don’t care about Dirty Joe or you discussing your boo’s gratuitous bottom (apparently Jay said “I guess you wanna hear me talk about Erykah’s ass!” and she poked her booty out from backstage. SMH…).”

I was honest and whoa, did I garner a response from my opinion. Somehow, my little post got the attention of OkayPlayer and the fury reigned down. Thankfully, Shannon is a thug in the comment section and deleted disrespectful folks. My favorite one was from a guy who wrote, “Did a broad write this? Sounds like a broad wrote it.” iDie.

At the chiding of readers, and Nahright‘s Eskay, to give Jay Electronica a fresh chance, I googled a bunch of his videos. Following listening to him, I had to admit that the New Orleans native can rap.

“I think that while Jay’s a good MC, he just sucks like every other MC does at the start of their career,” I wrote a few days later. “Like MissInfo said … they all suck in the beginning. I guess I was just so disappointed because I really expected him to bring it during the performance but–he just didn’t. But hey, everything’s a learning experience, right? Hell, even for me.”

But then I had another bone to pick with him—Jay Elec doesn’t release music. How can he be such an amazing MC but his “Exhibit” series has fans looking for his songs like the U.S. government searching for WMDs? No one finds anything.

Then the Parlour camp has seen dude in the most random spots—not rapping. Shannon has her own stories, but I saw him at the Erykah Badu’s listening session for New AmErykah. Then months later, and no, I’m not joking, I see dude walking down the street while I’m on the way home with my two friends. By the time, I’d settled in my apartment, the pair had emailed me saying that somehow Jay’d circled the block in time enough to ask them ‘Where the trees at?’

Flash-forward to November 12, 2010 and Jay-Z rents out the swanky Box venue in lower Manhattan. The Roc Nation leader announces to a crowd of industry insiders that he’s signed a new “wizard”—dear Lord, what has Cudi started with this term—and it’s Jay Electronica. Dressed in a suit, Jay rhymes and the crowd is thrilled.

But, I’m just not convinced.

There are bunches of MCs that are talented, but don’t have the discipline to be great. This paradigm is what makes me nervous about Jay Electronica. However, Jay-Z must have hedged his bets if he’s signed him to Roc Nation because that Brooklyn native is a business man. I just hope that the New Orleans Jay knows that if he doesn’t produce—the land of Beanie Sigel, Freeway and the rest of Roc-A-Fella isn’t too far away.

Last 5 posts by Hillary aka Steely D

  • You have the unfortunate ability to not feel Jay Electronica. I feel for you. The guy makes incredible music. You are right that he doesn’t release songs frequently like other “artists”, but when he does, it is invariably a masterpiece. Whether he will put out more regular material now remains to be seen- it would be nice, but anyone who knows what he is about will not mind waiting. DJ Semtex called Act II “diverse Hip Hop excellence” and called Jay “one of the Illest MCs ever”. I can’t wait for it to drop which I hope will be soon after his signing to Roc Nation.

    To suggest that Jay-Z had to hedge his bets is an insult. How can you as a music critic be so wide of the mark with someone who is quite literally a Godsend to Hip Hop?

  • if you’re still open to listening to his music check datpiff.