Sunday, January 10, 2010

When Keeping It Real Goes Horribly Wrong

So in honor of last week's discovery of a great new verse that I've been bumping steadily on the daily, I spent yesterday listening to a compilation from Jaydolf Spitler that made the back end of my 50 greatest albums of the decade list. I really enjoy listening to artists find and develop their voices, and What the fuck is a Jay Electronica? gives you the opportunity to observe that metamorphosis in the span of a brief mixtape. Watching him go from an ambling, uncertain so and so who sounds like Immortal Technique and raps like Black Thought to the spaced out, philosophical, Rawkus styled, Jus Blaze endorsed weirdo in front of us today is entertaining as it is educational.

What it also did is somewhat douse the lofty expectations backpack apologists are lumping on this kid. Re-listening to all Jay's old standouts in addition to a few of his more recent cuts has me worried that with his style as it is he may be a one trick pony. Under close inspection his verses are meandering Black on Both Sides style ruminations chock full of religious reference with the occasional goofy punchline that ultimately lack much concrete substance. It's little more than hippie dippie liberal platitudes and the trappings of an education. Plus, I've yet to hear a truly great hook from him. That being said it sounds dope as fuck, I just worry how it will play over the course of a long player, assuming he ever drops one.

Anyways, as I was listening to WTF I was reminded of one of the best bad songs I've ever heard. In his experimentation Jay fell prey to a natural mistake in attempting to show his versatility as an MC from Louisiana, taking a stab at Bounce, inviting Lil Flip of all people along for the carnage. Like Phonte before him and J. Cole after, Electronica is Southern in address alone. His style has exactly nothing to do with the rap practiced in New Orleans or South of the Mason Dixon line for that matter (with the exception of the Dungeon Family's left wing). This song is the hilarious proof, a decision as ill fated as Ice-T's Body Count and Cudi's attempts at legitimate rapping. Jay sounds uncomfortable using regional slang like whoadie and "lil daddy" to the point that it's uncomfortable to listen to. I'd bet he spent about a week studying Ludacris' masterful club banger cameos before trying his hand and it's simply a massive failure. He even spits with a phony Southern accent. But don't take my word for it.

Jay Electronica ft. Lil Flip- Walk With It

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