By D.L. Chandler
Over the years, the eclectic New Orleans native — and new Roc Nation signee — Jay Electronica has mesmerized the hip-hop nation not only with sharp, if esoteric, rhymes, but also some zany acts as well. Apart from signing to Jay-Z’s label recently, the MC skews to the left more often than your typical rapper and while most of the time that’s a good thing, others leave fans scratching their heads. RapFix focuses on some key moments in the crazy career arc of Jay Elec-Yarmulke.
2004: Well before his name rang bells on Internet message boards and the blogs, Jay ran his own page that promoted some of his early demos. A section of the songs on this cached page from Jay’s ‘banger’ eventually were released on his 2004 Style Wars EP.
2007: Jay made a splash on the scene with heavy co-signs from Erykah Badu — the two are parents of daughter Mars — and producer Just Blaze. “Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)” was released on Jay’s now defunct MySpace page as a free download. With no drums, a series of oddly-placed vocal samples and some heavy monologues from Blaze and Badu, Jay’s otherworldly weirdness left fans rabid and critics scratching their heads.
2008: With Jay Electronica’s star growing, the MC’s official onstage debut was, to put it mildly, interesting. Billed alongside headliner Mos Def at New York’s Nokia Theater in front of a sold-out audience, the MC rambled incessantly and forced the crowd into booing him to spit his verses. Random outbursts about his then-current beau’s bottom and announcing Mos Def’s nonexistent arrival further cemented the fact that Jay operates on a different scale than most — and gaining him a list of haters as long as the Nile River.
2009: While nobody should be above a parent’s joy in sharing news of the the birth of their child, some thought that Badu and Jay “live-tweeting” the event was a bit out there. Yet there were endearing moments where Jay pronounced the moment as “the happiest day of my life.”
2009: In December 2009, Jay announced on Shade45 that he was dropping the second of his “Acts” — Act II: Patents of Nobility — on Christmas day. Almost a year later to the day, Jay’s Wikipedia page still promises that 2010 will produce its release although some fans have stopped holding their breath.
2010: Back in May, Jay and radio personality DJ Kay Slay got into a heated argument on air during Angela Yee’s Lip Service show — which was amicably squashed but started as a result of Kay tweeting his disdain of his misperception of the rapper. The two clashed verbally and passionately for minutes — Jay even listed his home address at one point for Kay to meet him outside.
2010: Jay Electronica’s explanation for the delay of his “Act II” release was classified as fear. The rapper tweeted in August his concerns over why he suddenly had cold feet, saying “I feel like it’s not gonna be good enough. I know the people expect so much from me. I just don’t want to let anyone down.”
2010: Jay Electronica’s sensual side was exposed this month and the rapper’s explanation behind his violent interpretation of sex with women was confusing to say the least. Many female-led groups have voiced disappointment over the rapper’s choking chant — where he asks female audience members if they like to be choked — but apparently he’s been conducting his informal survey for quite sometime.
2010: Bad Boy mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jay Electronica engaged in a very heated exchange of tweets shortly after the announcement of Elec’s signing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. The infamous “it hurts when breathe” tweet ensued, possibly because Diddy felt some manner of betrayal from the New Orleans MC. Interestingly enough, Erykah Badu also tweeted a brief “I’m sorry” to Mr. Combs. Jay Electronica proceeded to get some tough barbs in before he and Diddy amicably squashed the beef like gentlemen.
Did we miss anything? Share your picks for the Firestarter of 2010 by tweeting us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below!
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