Dubbed as “hip-hops mythic recluse” by Rolling Stone Magazine, after waiting and being teased for nearly 13 years, Jay Electronica’s debut album ‘A Written Testimony’ is finally here, and no, I am not exaggerating in the least! Jay was first discovered back in 2007 on Myspace when he released a critically acclaimed 5-track mixtape titled ‘Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)’ which amassed 30000 downloads and catapulted him in the spotlight of hip-hop. He had planned to release 2 more ‘Acts” to complete the trilogy, but it never materialized. For the next decade, while he did not release any projects, Jay was sporadically featured on numerous of singles ranging from Big Sean’s ‘Control’ in 2013 to Chance The Rapper’s ‘How Great’ in 2016.
Jay Electonica or Jay Z?
Jay Electronica went to twitter on 02/07/2020 that ‘A Written Testimony’ was recorded over “40 days and 40 nights, starting from Dec 26” and the album features The Dream and Travis Scott but the most noticeable feature, or features, have come from Jay-Z himself. Jay-Z is featured on 8 of the 10 tracks but this LP isn’t considered a joint album as people may think but Jay-Z isn’t credited. You may even find yourself asking “Is this a Jay Electronica or Jay-Z album?”. ‘AWT’ starts off with words from Minister Louis Farrakhan and goes into maybe one of the strongest songs on the album ‘Ghost of Soulja Slim’.
Despite the album falling under 40 minutes with 10 tracks, the lyricism is strong throughout the entire album and is greatly appreciated given today’s climate of watered-down lyrics and rappers rapping about the same thing. I didn’t want to make this a competition, and I won’t, but as far as lyricism, Jay-Z overshadows JE on a few song, well, majority of the songs if we are being honest. But don’t get me wrong, JE still holds his own for sure. Jay-Z shines bright on the track ‘Flux Capacitor’ where he responds to the criticism of him teaming up with the NFL. ‘A.P.I.D.T.A’ is a more sobering track as it was recorded the night Kobe Bryant passed away and talks about people in their life that have passed away. My go-to tracks are Ghost of Soulja Slim, Flux Capacitor, and The Neverending Story.
With all that said, I won’t go to the extent of saying this is the album of the year, but Grammy worthy? Definitely. The album is far from bad, it’s a quick but good listen. Was it worth the 10+ year wait? For me, not quite, but that doesn’t make AWT less than what it is. However, the Jay-Z features keeps the album interesting as the 2 mesh well on the album together, along with the production. My final rating after a few listens, a 7.5/10.