Monday, March 17, 2014
"Better In Tune With The Infinite" ft. LaTonya Givens
If you were to rank agitated music fan bases, Jay Electronica's small but fervent base would surely be near the top. Since signing with Jay Z's Roc Nation label in November 2010, the New Orleans-born rapper has released exactly zero LPs. Songs and guest appearances have been just as sparse. Wikipedia lists exactly one effort in 2011 and a pair in 2012. Last year was a little more kind to Jay Elec fans, when he guested on Mac Miller's "Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes" and Big Sean's "Control". Granted he only rapped for a minute on the former before disappearing into a whisper and the latter presented him with the unenviable task of clawing out of Kendrick Lamar's gargantuan shadow. So as 2013 transitioned to 2014, there wasn't exactly much hope for his debut Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn) to drop.
But in the past two weeks, Jay Elec stock has been on the uptick. March 9 he paid tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. on J. Period's March9Revisted mixtape, comparing himself to an alchemist and delivering a "universal message." Then over the last week he logged time down at SXSW, hanging with producer Just Blaze and Dan the Automator. Apparently the love he got at the festival moved him to release "Better In Tune With The Infinite", his first track as a lead artist in several years. While it's hard to rationalize waiting so long for a single track, "Better In Tune With The Infinite" makes you consider it. Blurring together samples of Elijah Muhammad and The Wizard of Oz, the subdued number is rife with the pop-culture philosophizing Electronica perfected on "Exhibit C". "It's frustrating when you just can't express yourself," he appropriately begins. He's aware as anyone that his career thus far has been marked by false-starts; as known for his setbacks as successes. "They might could feel the music, but could never ever feel me," he puffs over mourning piano and strings. For all we know about Jay Electronica's music, we know very little about the man himself. And that won't change, no matter what he does.