Will we disappoint Jay Electronica?

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Record labels are dying.  Capital is drying up.  Talent is essentially nonexistent.  Yet from the vestiges of the fecal-matted field that is the recording industry rises a phoenix known as Jay ElectronicaHanukkahYarlmukeAsalaamica.  Everyone knows dude’s credentials; his shit is James Bond, man.  Certified.  One of the common refrains his detractors use is the lack of an “official” solo, debut LP.  But what he’s let us hear up to now has evoked the oft-referenced and serially ailing sense that – YES – substance does matter.  YES – talent still counts for something.  And most importantly, YES – someone can still tell a story……on the fucking radio.  Once a well of melodies and rhythms and words that shook souls.  Now reduced to a cesspool of frequencies for twenty-somethings to gyrate to and gripe it about it after it happens on Facebook (AT HOME AND IN THE WHIP!!!!).

“Exhibit C” is the new cocaine and receives regular, heavy rotation on Hot 97.  Someone remarked this is unprecedented seeing as how it is “a lyrically driven song with no hook.”  Given the reality that is 2010 where one messy orgy of sixteen bars bleeds into the next on popular slabs of real estate on the FM side of the dial.  Even “unprecedented” is selling the worth of the display of the alphabet’s third letter shorter than Bob Costas.  We haven’t begun to tally up the number of cats who dropped their own takes of this still-phenom.  From neon-light namers to no-namers, everyone and their mom rocked on that beat.  Clearly the absentee nerve has been struck and is hanging around for a while.  By choice or by virtue of the parameters of an incapacitated principle.

The pendulum is subject to swings.  Sometimes sweeping.  As Drake aka “Last Name: Ever, First Name: Greatest” prepares to hit mother earth off with the guaranteed steamer that is “Thank Me Later” (for what mother fucker??!!), all eyez will be on Billboard.  Bet your bottom dollar this pretty boy is planning on banking on that shit too.  It will likely be yet another “milli” for a minion in Lil’ Wayne’s armada of garage attendants to park or wax.  J. Elec will never get those numbers.  Not in this lifetime or the next.  He doesn’t need millies.  He needs a strong show of sustained support fostered by a ravenous fan base ready to plunk down hard-earned coin for the latest lamentations of this renowned world traveler.

This isn’t an impossibility by any stretch of the imagination.  He’s charted and is charting on iTunes, high and mighty.  He’s now a household name in the brain of any true schooler, hipster, indie rocker or Chillwave enthusiast when Hip Hop is the subject at hand.  But this all circles back to sales.  Will he continue his seemingly well-executed strategy of carpet-bombing the internet for the foreseeable future leading to several stellar albums coupled by a trailblazing career or does he end up shelved because you forgot the security pin on your debit card at the check out page and ended up downloading the joint from a friend?  In spite of my optimistic nature, option two is the likeliest of outcomes.  Get your shit together, soldiers, because Jay will have an album available for our consumption inside of a year.

And when we finally get the work we’ve waited for, we have to look at it like an investment.  Think of it as a tithe to KRS-ONE.  Atonement for acne and JNCO.  Cleaning the slate for memorizing Aesop Rock’s lyrics and quoting them as your own thoughts in class.  Whatever.  Forgive me if my thoughts translate like those of an extraordinarily emotional La Coka Nostra fan on No Doze and imported Red Bull.  Having a stark contrast the nature of Elec vs. Drake in a new pair of competing talents is akin to pitting “Juice” against “Cool As Ice.”  Melodramatic the suggestion may be, is Jay Electronica the lone, living boom-bap dinosaur carrying the torch for future generational icons destined to blow minds?  Do you want your poor children to be subjected to the whims of metrosexual emcees who call the land of Rick Moranis home, sweet home?  I want them to one day experience what I did: Awareness.  Be prepared to dig around in your pockets to clandestinely massage your testicles and pay the toll to continue hearing Jay Electronica’s testaments.


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