I Can't Call It: A Written Testimony - Jay Electronica

Posted On Monday, March 16, 2020

"Jay Elect-Ramadan, Muhammad as-salaam-alaikum RasoulAllah Subhanahu wa ta'ala through your monitor..."

That line for me is EASILY one of the dopest hip hop lines EVER off of one of the ILLEST songs of the past 20 years! I mean..."Exhibit C?!?!?!?" Come on ya'll...I don't know one soul living or dead who doesn't LOOOOOOOOOVE that song! But then just like that...poof...Jay Elect vanished into thin air just like Keyser Soze. Yeah we got some cameos here and there, with PRhyme's "To Me, To You", Chance's "How Great" and Ski Beatz's "Prowler 2" and my personal fave being Reflection Eternal's "Just Begun," "smile on my face tears of a sad clown, feeling out of place as I whistle a cab down/if I tip extra, can I huff a cig, blow my smoke out the window dropping ashes on the bridge/I'm in New York now, like Akeem and Semmi was trying to get the lobby door open from a semi-buzz." Maaaaaaaaaaaan listen. So yeah, we got some incredible verses but ummmm...where's the damn album? It got to the point that Jay Elect's debut album was sitting right there right next to Dre's "Detox" & D'Angelo's "James River" BUT at least Dre did drop "Compton" 14 years after "2001" & D' did drop "Black Messiah" 14 years after "Voodoo." So with both of those albums dropping and with the magical number 14 floating around both of 'em I personally was looking for Jay Elect to drop an album around 2023 which would be 14 years after "Exhibit C" dropped. But then last month word gets to ear that Jay Elect would be dropping sometime in March and my first thought was "I'll believe it when I see it." Then the next piece of info that pops up is this is going to be a colabo album with Jay Elect and Jay Z. Great. So this isn't REALLY a Jay Elect's debut album, it's a "Watch The Throne" type album...great. And THEN I hear that Young F&$KING Guru is producing this?!?!? Welp that's when all my expectation for this went right out the window. But at the end of the day, even if this is a Jay Elect/Jay Z collabo album produced by an engineer who doesn't even produce, ya'll do KNOW I'm still gonna tune in, right? 

"A Written Testimony" sets off with "The Ghost of Soulajh Slim" and has Jay sounding like he's still 27 and still living in Marcy, "next time they bring up the Gods you gon' respect us, that lil' vest ain't gonna do you, I shoot from neck up." And Jay Elect ain't far behind either, "if it come from me and Hov consider it Qur'an/if it come from any of those consider it Harām/the minaret that Jigga built me on the Dome of the Roc, was crafted, so beautifully, consider this Adhan/from a hard place and a rock to the Roc Nation of Islam, I emerged on the wave that Tidal made to drop bombs/I came to bang with the scholars, And I bet you a Rothschild I get a bang for my dollar." The Swizz produced BANGER "The Blinding" follows suit with "Souljah Slim" and has Jay & Jay Elect trading bars like they're EPMD in their prime, "once upon a time there was a likkle yout the cub of a lion, a stowed away captive a long way home from Zion /the dove Prince sang about in Purple Rain cryin', to the midget you heard tale of on the shoulders of the giant/I named my son Sir so you gotta call my son sir/that boy already knighted he ain't even out his romper /you speakin' on the kingdom you better watch your tongue sir,  I send you where you never been you forget where I'm from, sir." The Alchemist produced "The Never Ending Story" is dope and even though it's 9 years old and uses one of my fave Pete Rock samples ever without even flipping it, "Shiny Suit Theory" still bangs.

The Jay Elect produced "Universal Soldier" has Jay spazzing again, "back when Emory Jones was catchin' the fed charge/I knew less about Chessimar All about Pablo Escobar/thinking I was the last one Allah would lay his blessings on/I was trying not to end up like Tony in the restaurant." Jay Elect's only dolo track on HIS solo album (sounds crazy right?) the No ID produced "Fruits of the Spirit" is dope & has Jay Elect killing it over a sample that Just Blaze used 14 years ago for Talib's "Never Been In Love" but has me wondering, why is No ID using a Just sample but there's no Just Blaze on the album at all? Like Arsenio used to say waaaaaaaay back in the days, "things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm." "Ezekiel's Wheel" was the one track on the album that took me a minute to warm up and the album ends perfectly with what also happens to be my fave song on the album "A.P.I.D.T.A" I LOVED it the second I heard it but after I heard it was recorded the night that Kobe & Gigi passed aways made Jay's chorus "I got numbers in my phone that'll never ring again, cause Allah done sent them home, so until we sing again/I got texts in my phone that'll never ping again I screenshot 'em so I got 'em, I don't want this thing to end" hit THAT much harder. And of course Jay Elect comes correct as always with the bars, "eyes fiery,cry tears to my diary, sometimes a Xanny bar can't help you fight back the anxiety/I go to my Lord quietly teardrops on our faces, teardrops on my face, it's like teardrops become waterfalls by the time they reach my laces/my eyelids is like levees but my tear ducts is like glaciers, as I contemplate creation, the salt that heals my wounds pour out my eyes just like libations/I can't stop my mind from racing, I got numbers on my phone, pictures on my phone/the day my mama died I scrolled her texts all day long, the physical returns but the connection still stay strong/now I understand why you used to cry sometimes we ride down Claybourne, you just missed your mama, now I just miss my mama." Yeah, that's how you end an album right there.

"A Written Testimony" reminds me of when Popeye's Chicken Sandwich first dropped. See one day I was in my teen center and one of my coworkers walked in saying "Kil this chicken sandwich ain't THAT damn good. Not for no damn two hour wait!" And that was the problem when it came to "judging" that chicken sandwich. At first it was a simple debate, was it doper then Chick Fil A's chicken sandwich? But then as fights, robberies and deaths came into play it became "is this sandwich THAT good that people are standing in lines for 2 hours for it? That people are robbing Popeyes NOT for money but for a sandwich? And last but definitely not least, is it good enough for someone to die over?" And of course it wasn't worth all of those things...but it was still a damn good chicken sandwich. See, folk were judging the sandwich based off the time they had to wait to get it and I don't know about ya'll but I've never tasted ANYTHING that was worth a two hour wait. So was this Jay Elect album worth a 11 wait? Nope...not at all. But guess what? It's STILL a damn good album.

4 outta 5 mics

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