After 10 years of waiting Jay Electronica has finally released his debut album, A Written Testimony. The project is his first solo effort, however rap icon Jay-Z joins Electronica on nearly every song. Having your label boss, who happens to be one of the world’s best rappers on your album, has to be an unfair advantage. It really doesn’t matter though because the chemistry between Electronica and Jay is unforced and natural.
The bulk of the album was produced by Electronica. The minimalist approach Electronica takes fits his delivery and allows his poetic cadence to shine. The other producers included on the release are No I.D., Alchemist, Swizz Beatz, AraabMUZIK, Alchemist, Khruangbin, G. Ry and Hit-Boy.
Electronica went into seclusion after signing with Roc Nation in 2010. The anticipation for his album was high, but soon took the road of Dr. Dre’s Detox, meaning it probably was never coming. On Feb. 7, 2020 Electronica announced on twitter that his album was finally coming and it would be out “in 40 days.” The anticipation was reset and Jay Electronica’s legend was resurrected.
Lyrically Electronica is as sharp as ever. He explains why it took so long for his debut to on “Ezekiel’s Wheel.” “Sometimes I was held down by the gravity of my pen/Sometimes I was held down by the gravity of my sin/Sometimes like Santiago, in crucial parts of my novel/The only logical option was to transform into the wind.”
His verses serve as a look inside the mind of a recluse. The words appear as the spirit of an author who has penned a memoir sharing his most personal thoughts.
The Jay-Z we hear on this album is the one who rapped on The Black Album. “Truthfully I want to rhyme like Common Sense/But I did five mil/ I ain’t been rhyming like Common since.”
Jay-Z is a certified billionaire and gets revolutionary Jay on this project. On “The Ghost Of Soulja Slim” Jay-Z raps “Now here’s some jewelry/No civilization is conquered from the outside/Until it destroys itself from within, pen/Put a pin in that/We’ll come back when I fin/You can’t talk how I talk/‘Cause you ain’t been where I been, Young.”
A Written Testimony comes to us as the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic and the United States in the grips of a national emergency. Electronica encapsulates the moment perfectly in one line. “What a time we living in/Just like the scripture says/Earthquakes, fires and plagues, the resurrection of the dead,” he raps.
Standout tracks are “Ghost of Soulja Slim,” “The Neverending Story,” and “Ezekiel’s Wheel” featuring The Dream and “A.P.I.D.T.A.”
What do you think of A Written Testimony? Was it worth the wait? Share in the comments. Listen to A Written Testimony below.