If you’ve read a music magazine any time in the last two years, you’re probably aware that Drake is the hottest new rapper in the game right now. If you’ve read a music blog any time in that period, you may also be aware that the man pictured above, the elusive Jay Electronica, is the hottest new emcee in the game, and depending on who you ask, he just might be the savior of hip-hop.
You can read about his curious methods on Wikipedia, but here’s a few key details. He’s from New Orleans. He likes to rap over movie scores. He’s released most of his material via posts in random web forums and his mysteriously disappearing and reappearing MySpace and Twitter accounts. He just had a baby with Erykah Badu. He has produced for and toured with Nas. There is intense speculation as to when, if ever, he will release a proper debut album. And oh yeah, he can rap his ass off.
These are the kind of details that make for killer blog posts, so it’s no wonder that he’s got the web buzzing. Late last year he translated that buzz into an appearance on iTunes’ hip-hop charts with his first proper single, “Exhibit C.” If you haven’t heard it, I suggest checking it out, About.com named it the best rap song of 2009. Last week, Jay returned with a new track that is already making headlines. The song is titled “The Ghost of Christopher Wallace,” yes, as in The Notorious BIG, and it features a high profile guest spot by Diddy, yes, as in yell-a-bunch-of-stupid-shit-in-between-Biggies-bars, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Jay explained the title in an interview on Shade 45 the other morning:
“More often than not when I click on new music and it feels good and I like it, it can be good, it can be great, but I don’t necessarily get that feeling I used to get. I just think when Big was around, that time period when people used to rhyme, it was more than just the rhyme and the skill, it was the spirit of the person that you could tap in to. I really wanted to invoke that energy.”
The “ghost” part makes a little more sense now. The Diddy adlibs though, while an interesting gimmick, are just as annoying as they were in the ’90s, which is really friggin’ annoying. The beat isn’t bad, but by the third or fourth minute (of six), it wears a bit thin. In fact, you can turn it off at that point because Diddy just talks for two minutes to close it out. My focus here is really on Jay’s lyricism though, which is why I posted this. He’s on point as usual and there are plenty of quotables, but this track is nowhere near as good as “Exhibit C.” Which is a bit disappointing. But that’s just my take. What do you think?