Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dart’s Rant Of The Day: Jay Electronica: Hip Hop’s New Black Jesus

I seen the same thing happen to Kane! © Jay-Z

The last time I wrote a blog like this it was in reference to Lupe Fiasco. Immediately after posting it I told my brother that it was just a matter of time before I wrote another one for either Saigon, Papoose or whoever else is deemed the “Next Big Thing” or a term I prefer “The New Hip Hop Black Jesus”.

It seems like people either put too much belief in one artist or they have these unrealistic expectations for these emcees. None of these cats is the modern day King Menes, meaning they aren’t going to bridge the gap between the commercial and underground and make it all one big united Hip Hop family again. It didn’t happen when Mos Def & Talib Kweli released the Black Star LP ten years ago and it won’t happen now.

Jay Electronica recently had a “sub par” show...whatever the hell that means. In my opinion, a show is pretty much dictated by the reception of the audience. If some cases you could have the nicest flow and the illest beats and the audience won’t give a damn because you aren’t one of the dudes that they’ve seen on one of the Viacom networks. I’ve seen Flo Rida live on TV and I personally thought he was terrible, the audience was dancing and singing along to “Low” and “Elevator” so I guess I was wrong, huh?

I’m so glad blogs didn’t exist when Black Moon stunk it up on their first ever live TV appearance on BET’s “Teen Summit”. Buckshot came out with too much energy and was jumping around like he was in the video for “Who Got The Props”, he was fighting for air before the first verse was through. I’ve seen Nas fax in “Half Time” and “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” MAD times in 1993 and 1994.

I’ve seen Rakim spit “Lyrics Of Fury” live while people just stared at him with blank looks. I guess they expected him to have energy radiating from his hands like a comic book character while he spit it. They didn’t see what they saw in their mind’s eye when they heard the album so it was a disappointment in their eyes...but who’s fault was that exactly?

This performance occurred but it somehow is STILL a subject of discussion in a world where things that happened yesterday are already forgotten because it’s “old news”. This lackluster performance on the part of Jay Electronica...was it merely an illusion? Was it a creation caused by an audience that heaped a bunch of unrealistic expectations on his performance or was his actual live appearance so godawful that it actually warranted this protracted analysis of it. Or could it be that somewhere along the line someone exaggerated just how bad it was and everyone else jumped on the bandwagon?

I wasn’t there. I was HERE. I’ve seen different clips and read several eyewitness accounts where some people said the show outright sucked (but they weren’t feeling him beforehand anyways), others said that parts of it were awkward and that he talked on stage too much (note: avoid any Prodigy, KRS One, Wu Tang, Percee P, Kanye West, etc. show then. Them niggas will chat at the drop of a dime). Others were enjoying the show because they loved the songs and were just hyped to see Jay Electronica live for a change as opposed to hearing him through iTunes. I’ve read some heads say that it wasn’t that big of a deal. To others, Jay Electronica is overhyped and undeserving of all of the attention that’s lavished on him.

This bring us all to another deeper question. Why are we always trying to find and brand a new Hip Hop Saviour? Every time we find someone to heap this burden on they always fail to live up to it’s lofty expectations. I’ve seen it happen to Rakim, KRS One, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Ice Cube, Chuck D, all the way down to Treach, Notorious B.I.G, Nas, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Ras Kass, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Canibus, Eminem down to Saigon, Papoose, Lupe Fiasco and now Jay Electronica.

They were all supposed to singlehandedly “bring back” creativity, lyricism and excitement in Hip Hop. In effect, they were all expected to bring back “Hip Hop”. Can we cut this bullshit out, please? Why are we all so eager to put this burden on yet another emcees shoulders? So what if Jay Electronic did a live show and didn’t perform miracles on stage for an audience that were like “OK, justify all your press tonight on stage”.

I remember seeing a recorded performance of Kool G. Rap doing “Ill Street Blues” back in 1993. Homie forgot so many of the lyrics that the audience picked him up and recited the missing lyrics for him. They chucked the whole incident to the side and didn't focus on it because he had a body of work to refer to. That audience was not there to see Jay Electronica and he could've channelled LL Cool J circa 1986, it still would've done him no good.

Jay Electronica is not going to turn water to wine, walk on water or move objects with his mind during his live performances. He will move the crowd...provided that they WANT to move first. It all reminds me of that classic J-Live song “Hush The Crowd”. It’s days like this I really don’t regret hanging my mic up and swapping it for the laptop instead.



Anonymous said...

I like your level-headed take on this. I definitely wasn't at the "infamous" concert, but it seemed to me like Jay was burning time so that the audience wouldn't be sitting there listening to some hype man while Mos Def took his sweet time getting there. Besides, what kind of a concert reviewer shows up late to the concert anyway?

Aaron said...

I haven't bothered to listen to this guy yet. What should I be checking for?>

What aboutthis Wale dude? I keep hearing about him too but I think I'll wait for his Seinfeld mixtape to check him out.

Dart Adams said...

@ a-one:

Wale's dope, you can start with both Jay and Wale here where I provided links to their previous material:


ADB said...

Good post and well said.

bTwice said...

Unfortunately, what emcees tend to forget or dont even know, is that a stage performance is entertainment for the EYES! It doesn't matter if you're the dopest on the mic ever! You already got the ears locked. Now it's time to put on a great show for the people to SEE. If you dont connect with the audience in that fashion, then ya might as well give up shows/tourin' before you even start.

I dont know why, but for some reason...a lot of cats in hip hop dont get this. Take a page from most rock bands and show some creativity outside of the studio....please!! Then I wont mind payin' $20-$30 to go see ya. Feel me?

Ass Hat said...

well said. how many hip hop artists are any good live? how many always put in the effort? how often do sound engineers mess up the sound for a live rap p.a.?

i can count the number of 'good' rap gigs i've seen on one hand. the fallout from this concert seems absurd.

Passion of the Weiss said...

I really wish people wouldn't compare anyone to Nas, Rakim or Kane ever. It's just not a good look. That said, Electronica is a great rapper, whether he evolves into a great artist is anyone's guess.

I suspect the underground cats hype dudes like this as a backlash to the Lil Wayne, Jeezy, Clipse, stannery but it's only slightly less absurd. I'm taking the we'll see approach, but am hopeful.

As for the concert, "rap concert fails to meet expectation" is on some "dog bites man shit."

GSL said...

Tis not for DumbFux. Straight up. 37 year old speakin on this. This young Beast is the truth and the truth hurts. See, cats in my circle can watch and recognize lyric nicety and appreciate that as an art form alone with out the hype. Anyone who just listens and does not meditate on HipHop music this is NOT for you. Gah Head with the LLC ENT, thats "Lowest Learning Curve.." and I hope you know what ENT stands for. This emcee is for my cats who take life, beats and lyrics serious such as myself, married a decade with 3 of em STILL keepin a close relationship with the music I love from youth that continues to keep me alive. Jay is sincere about the art and Murders the proven method. But cats with sincere intentions NEVER really get what they deserve and they KNOW this. I'll be supportin this cat in MPLS with NAS at FIRST AVE. Datz HEAT for that AZZ, may take picture or two, the occasion is that Fucking Special.

Play good HipHop for Children.