Jay Electronica honors Guru

Blake Gillespie

Jay Electronica

On the seventh day, Jay ElecHanukkah tweeted a link to “Jazzmatazz” to pay homage to Guru of Gangstarr. If only he were taking the “once a week free music” rapper trend to new heights by releasing a song for each day of Hannukkah, only then would I accept Jay Electronica as the second coming – for now, I sit upon a proverbial fence.

Read any of my posts regarding Jay Electronica and you'll be burdened with lengthy theories as to why each decision he makes is culturally significant, possibly reaching conclusions beyond his intentions. After sitting with “Jazzmatazz” for the past hour, this post will be no different.

I can't determine why Jay Electronica chose December 7 as a day to honor Guru of Gangstarr, the legendary voice who lost his battle with cancer on April 19. His dedication borrows the “Intro” beat from Group Home's Livin' Proof album, which was a notorious DJ Premier project that caught flack for giving phenomenal production to mediocre rappers. But Livin' Proof was released on November 21 1995 – hardly a 15 year anniversary. Was honoring a deceased legend on a random Tuesday an attempt to ornament his sincerity? A recent conversation regarding the subtle guidance of unseen managers catapulting artists into a hype machine that on the surface is regarded as self-made, genuine or even DIY, has put the perk of caution in my receptors. I can no longer resist the curiosity that perhaps Jay Electronica is less of a cherub hero, innocent in his manifestations of the qualities we longed for in an MC and more of a manufactured persona to prey upon our longings. No wonder Diddy wanted him on Bad Boy so badly, right?

It's the use of the Group Home “Intro” beat that troubles me. Today Jay Electronica solved a dilemma that has troubled rap philosophers for ages, the conundrum of how good the Group Home album could have been had talented rappers been given those Premier beats. Thanks to Jay Elec, we can put the conversation to rest as to which MC deserves the Group Home beats. Possibly even odder is the song is tagged as track 8 of Act II: Patents of Nobility, the supposed debut album/mixtape from Jay Elec, yet it's a looped production.

Whether or not my recent hesitancy to trust hype is warranted or just old fashioned paranoia, I'm grateful that Jay Electronica signed to Roc Nation, just like I'm grateful for every leaked song. With their continued existence I feel that much closer to obtaining an album that truly lives up to its hype, not because Jay Electronica thinks he deserves it, but because he proves it like Rakim proved it, like Big Daddy Kane proved it and like Guru proved it.

Jay Electronica, “Jazzmatazz” (feat. Tone Treasure)

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