Until it arrived on Thursday night time within the midst of a pandemic, virtually nobody might assert a technique or one other whether or not Jay Electronica‘s album was actually going to appear. He — and his label, Jay Z’s Roc Nation — had stoked the fires, and rumors abounded, together with that this could be a joint undertaking with Jay Z. But subsequent to no confirmable particulars emerged till Electronica himself shared a tracklist. Even then, it was laborious to ensure that the album was actual, and for good cause: Everyone’s been ready for some time.

Jay Electronica, a New York transplant from New Orleans, arrived on-line in 2007. Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) was his introduction, a 15-minute piece that includes Electronica rapping over Jon Brion’s rating for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was a bizarre, dense observe — he doesn’t take management of it till 6 minutes in, completely satisfied to construct mystique and ambiance — however the rapping was so instantly, titanically good, that Electronica was rapidly hailed because the style’s subsequent nice hope. It can be the final undertaking he’d launch for almost 15 years.

fter Act I, Electronica would go on to launch a sequence of one-off songs and visitor verses, most notably partnering with the veteran producer Just Blaze on 2009’s “Exhibit A” and “Exhibit C.” True to their identify, the songs sound like proof in a case for Electronica as the reply to each rap traditionalist’s wildest desires. Here was, lastly, the following artist to take significantly as a contender for the most effective rapper alive. After a bidding struggle, he signed with Jay Z’s then-nascent Roc Nation, beneath one of many different perennial contenders for that very same title.

After that, rumors about Jay Electronica’s private life started to spike, and the music started to dry up. There are scattered songs and appearances — all of them vary from good to dazzling — however he steadily receded from view. The debut album rap followers had been ready for by no means materialized. The sport modified, time and again, and the one-time savior of the artwork of rapping stubbornly refused to reach.

Until 2020, that’s, over 10 years since his final agreed-upon masterwork, “Exhibit C.” Late on Thursday night time, Electronica appeared on Instagram Live; listening events that had been scheduled in New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans had been cancelled because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic. He appeared unconcerned. Electronica held the cellphone himself and performed “4:44” over the displays as a big group crowded right into a studio. “This is the safest room on earth right now,” Electronica stated, after Big Sean requested that everybody put on gloves. “We’re going to blast from the top,” he stated, as quickly as he reached 4,000 viewers on his livestream. Then, he performed the album.

After a quick, string-filled introduction, the primary voice on the album — based mostly on the order it was performed on the livestream — wasn’t Jay Electronica’s, however Jay Z’s. He was additionally on the second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and 10th songs. The rumors that it was a joint album weren’t strictly appropriate — nevertheless it’s shut. “The most patient man alive,” Electronica stated, describing his mentor. “I’m serious,” he insisted, after the room started laughing.

Following the livestream, A Written Testimony hit Tidal; it’s anticipated to be launched on all platforms on Friday. It’s been a very long time coming, however Jay Electronica’s debut album has arrived.

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