A Written Testimony – Jay Electronica
★ ★ ★
During this time of turmoil, good news has come in the gift of Jay Electronica’s debut album. Having signed to Roc Nation in 2010, the wordsmith has reserved his polished, poetic penmanship for collaborations and singles. After looking forward to this release for so long, hearing Jay-Z perform on 8 tracks left me with a feeling of pleasant surprise tinged with disappointment. After a decade, we would expect a 10-track project to barely be enough for all a vocal performer has to say, instead, we got a collaboration.
Being a multi-talented musician bolsters your standing in my eyes, so Jay Elec producing six songs on the project, including the highlights “Shiny Suit Theory,” “Universal Soldier,” and “Flux Capacitor”, is fantastic to see. Across the album, Elec frequently references, but refuses to explain, his absence from the music scene. After multiple listens, an appreciation for the artist’s play on absence and space begins to grow – “Familiarity don’t breed gratitude, just contempt.” However, this may not be the artistic direction you want from an entertainer. Despite the opening track’s title, “The Overwhelming Event”, it’s hard not to feel a little underwhelmed on this one.
Nicholas Lane – Music Writer