In the uncanny journey known as life, we’ve all frequented a figurative Game Stop and traded in our barely-used innocence as a child for the adult starter pack known as cynicism.
At a certain point in adulthood, there are certain things you start to believe will never happen— Nancy Pelosi open-palm-face slapping Donald Trump during a State of the Union address, capitalism being abolished in America and Jay Electronica’s debut album actually happening. In fact, at one point, I was starting to believe Jay Electronica had ceased to exist and had instead taken on a new name and life as The Root’s Jay Connor. Of course, I snapped back, regained my senses and remembered Connor is actually Safaree. Shhh!
Point is, it would’ve taken a miracle for a Jay Electronica album to surface.
Well, miracles happen every day, my nigga. On Thursday, March 13, as we were witnessing the modern day Hunger Games in a world faced with COVID-19, Jay Electronic dropped an actual link to an actual album. Not a tease to an album. Not a release date for an upcoming album. Not a bullshit album promise that was akin to texting “I’m around the corner” when the nigga is really just getting out of the shower. An. Actual. Album.
On Thursday night, fans were able to inject A Written Testimony into their hip hop-laced veins.
It’s important to note that this album has been nearly 13 years in the making, since the release of Jay’s first mixtape, Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) in 2007. That’s right, 13 years a slave to one of the most significant bouts of anticipation in hip hop history. The Root’s Stephen A. Crockett has already expressed most people’s prior frustration about the matter:
Whole careers are built off a buzzy track like “Exhibit C.” For every Migos and Cardi B who turned a hot single into a hot career, there’s a whole gaggle of J. Kwons, Young MCs and Chingys who are just happy to get that small-town fair gig on the strength of their one hit. But at least those rappers tried to keep it going—Jay took that extraordinary buzz of his and shot a deuce on it in a way that should make every aspiring rapper look at him with the Arthur fist meme.
We may never know how Jay got here, but it’s a crying damn shame that he is. The Fat Boys didn’t break up for this.
Needless to say, much like the album’s first track, this album release was an “Overwhelming Event” for Black Twitter.
Along with praising the overall production, most fans had to note that Jay-Z was doing the exact opposite of phoning it in.
Soak it in, family. Might as well enjoy that looming mass quarantine with some well-produced music. Speaking of which, previously scheduled listening parties in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans (Jay’s birthplace) were canceled due to coronavirus concerns, per Rolling Stone.
A Written Testimony is currently available to stream and purchase on TIDAL.