A WRITTEN TESTIMONY WORTH THE WAIT
“Hailing from the Magnolia projects of New Orleans, then winding his way from Nation of Islam lieutenant to allegedly ghostwriting for Nas to signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation record label to dating and being managed by one of the heirs to the Rothschild banking fortune, the elusive rapper has taken a circuitous and elliptic path.” The Nation
I dont think there has been a more highly anticipated drop than this one. Full of poetry, philosophy, realness and vibes. With features from Travis Scott on one of my favorite records “Blinding” and The Dream on “Shiny Suit Theory”. The first verse we hear on Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony comes from JAY-Z. The God MC opens “Ghost of Soulja Slim,” the second track on the album, which follows an intro comprising mostly remarks from Minister Louis Farrakhan—adding an extra four minutes to the decade-plus many fans have waited to hear Jay Electronica rap on his debut album. Having Jigga bat leadoff registers as much less of a stunt in the context of the full project, and only helps build the anticipation.
GREAT MUSIC BRINGS CONTROVERSY
On the track “The Ghost of Soulja Slim”, Jay Electronica references the Synagogue of Satan (In the letters to the early Christian churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, reference is made to a synagogue of Satan in each case referring to a group persecuting the church “who say they are Jews and are not”.) and his ex-girlfriend Kate Rothschild. Jay Electronica had previously rapped about the Synagogue of Satan on 2014 track “Better Tune in with the Infinite”. Rothschild has also been the subject of multiple anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. American radio personality Peter Rosenberg accused Jay Electronica of anti-Semitism for his Synagogue of Satan references. Jay Electronica responded by accusing Rosenberg of “clout chasing” and invited him to a public forum with theological scholars to discuss the lyrics. Jay Electronica also stated that he stood behind “every single word” on the album. FNR Tigg of Complex defended
“The Ghost of Soulja Slim”, writing that the particular line was not anti-Semetic but that Jay Electronica was “finding a clever way to vent about a personal vendetta he had against [Rothschild] who he feels aided in helping the media assassinate his character.” But the media cant deny the music and the facts.
Lee Harpin of The Jewish Chronicle also noted the lyrics “Satan struck Palestine with yet another mortar” from the track “Fruits of the Spirit”. Gabe Friedman of The Jerusalem Post highlighted the album’s inclusion of vocals from Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam who has been labelled as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to anti-Semitic and black supremacist views. We all know that loving oneself and its people can be frowned upon depending on who the people recieving love are. Jay-Z has also been previously cautioned by the Anti-Defamation League in 2017 for controversial lyrics so this is nothing new to the Rocnation family.
JAY-Z appears on nearly every song on A Written Testimony, assuming a partner-in-rhyme role not unlike the one Ghostface Killah played on Raekwon’s seminal Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. The Jays sound likewise inspired by each other, yielding the mic for continuous intervals of elite-level MCing, delivering bars both forthright and poetic, and also steeped in phrasings uncommon outside of the written word. “If you want to be a master in life, you must submit to a master/I was born to lock horns with the Devil at the brink of the hereafter,” Electronica raps on “The Neverending Story.”
Staying true to self, being real, bars… a few things we all say we want from our artist of today. I dont think you get more authentic to self than this. Religion, politics and values are scattered through out this project and each record was fit perfectly in sync to one another. Electronica is credited with the bulk of production on the album, with additional contributions from No I.D. and The Alchemist, along with the all-star team (Swizz Beatz, Araabmuzik, Hit-Boy, G. Ry) responsible for “The Blinding.”
The MC raps in Spanish on “Fruits of the Spirit,” and though he shouts out Vince Staples, Marvel villain Thanos, and cosmetic butt injections, there are very few references on A Written Testimony that could date the album long-term. The goal here was very clearly to make a timeless project, one we should appreciate considering there’s no telling if or when we will get another. Now we need them classic visuals!
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