After about a decade the New Orleans rapper delivered his debut album, and a lot of people have an opinion.
On March 13. Jay Electronica released his debut album, A Written Testimony. The 10-track project features Travis Scott, James Blake, The-Dream, and Jay-Z who remains completely unlisted on the eight tracks that he appears on. It features production from G. Ry, AraabMUZIK, Hit-Boy, The Alchemist, No I.D., Khruangbin, and Jay Electronica himself.
Upon the release many music critiques had a lot to say. After 11 years of waiting and the built up of anticipation that surrounded the project fans were disappointed that he only delivered 9 tracks, 8 of which Jay-Z appears on. In fact Jay-Z is the first rapper you hear on the album. In episode 330 of The Joe Budden Podcast, Joe critiqued the New Orleans rapper and said, “As a rapper, I’m telling you, [Jay Electronica] got smacked around [by JAY-Z].” I beg to differ and instead believe that Jay and Hova challenged each other. Both rappers went in the booth and did what they had to do. At the end of the day I highly doubt that Jay Electronica would willingly let Jay-Z out-rap him on his own album.
A Written Testimony contains multiple referenced to the religion and ideology of Islam. Jay has very close ties to The Nation of Islam, and this is heard and felt throughout the entire project. In fact the first track “The Overwhelming Event” is a speech done by Louis Farrakhan, the leader of The Nation of Islam. The references to Islam and its play on words is clever and slick. Perhaps one of my favorite elements of the project.
Overall I enjoyed the project. Do I think that the production on the project could have been polished a bit better, yes. But I also think that Jay Electronica was in full control of A Written Testimony, therefore he delivered a project to his liking.
What are your thoughts? Did the debut album live up to all the lore?