#NP: Jay Electronica - "Dear Moleskine"

Jay Electronica followed me on twitter the other day!  No idea why, but I feel very honored.  Most twitterers get excited or say, "My life is now complete" when Lil B follows them on twitter, but not me.  I appreciate what The Based God is doing on twitter and the general positive affect he's having on the world.  He's a great person, and even a great artist--he is, in fact, creating art in a way that could never be done in any time but now--but he's not a poet like Jay Elec.  Jay has true lyrical skill in the way Pac, Biggie, RakimGuru and all the hip hop legends did, but I think he's even more of a powerful force than any of them.  There's always a need for great writers in music, and despite how much cool, unique music is being made currently, we've never needed great writers more than right now.  Our country (and our world) is on the brink of some really crazy changes and no one really has any idea what the fuck is going on or what's gonna happen.  I think a lot of artists capture that feeling in their music, but very, very few of them are taking on the world with their words the way Jay Elec is.  When he raps, it's almost like listening to a voice inside your head because he's talking about the things that need to be talked about, not just some shit that sounds cool over a beat.

"Dear Moleskine" is a track that's due to be on his upcoming debut album, Act II (The Patents of Nobility), an album that's been "due" for quite sometime.  You can't find a video or a mixtape by this man online without seeing a bunch of comments saying, "Hurry up and drop this shit already!" or "You're losing all your fans!"  This bothers me because if you really listen to what Jay says in his songs, for one, it shouldn't be surprise that he doesn't care at all about the current mainstream rap game, and two, you shouldn't expect things of him that you would of any other artist out there.  He's not just any other artist; he's an actual ARTIST.  He makes Art that's meant to be cherished and not consumed at the blinding pace that music on the internet is today.  I honestly don't know what he's waiting for, and it surprises me that Jay-Z is letting this album sit for so long now that Jay E. is signed to Roc Nation.  But, if neither one of them feel it's ready to go out yet then we should trust them because they have both given their fair share of Art to a world that doesn't really appreciate it as much as they should.

But, let's talk about this song.  It's a five-minute rap song that has about one minute and five seconds of actual rapping.  Why would he do that?  How did he get Just Blaze and Jay-Z to let him do that?  Well, it all depends on how you view rap.  Do you see it as an Art or do you see it as entertainment?  It has the ability to be both, but sometimes, probably all the time, one should come before the other.  Jay-Z said in his memoir, Decoded, that (and I'm paraphrasing a bit here) "rap is an Art form created to handle contradictions."  It can be everything all at once, just like a person's soul, filled with good and bad, filled with contradicting feelings and pressures.  Any song can have the ability to go straight to your heart and soul, but what other genre of music can hold a mirror up to your soul like rap does?  When you hear a really excellent rap song for the first time, it gives you a feeling that's hard to put into words.  I think that's because it's hitting you in a deep, powerful way that you aren't used to when you listen to a song for entertainment.  It's true Art doing what it does best: fucking your life up and making it so you'll never be the same again.

That's how I feel about this song, and just about everything else that Jay Elec puts out.  It doesn't matter to me in the slightest that he has one verse in this five-minute-long song because I listen to everything he says in that verse and the words reach into my soul and say, "Hey there, here's some food for thought for you to chew on for the rest of your life."  Yeah, it's like that.  For me, personally, I need the minute-and-a-half intro to prepare myself and the two minutes and 25 seconds outro to ponder everything that was just said and recover from the huge blow that was dealt straight to my soul.  So now, if you made it through all this, I applaud you.  I hope you listen to this song below, and I hope you really, really listen.  "Tell me you don't hear that, tell me you don't feel that."

Head over to Rap Genius to dissect the lyrics.  Listen below.



This was a great read and I share the same sentiments. Hiphop is an art form and Jay E is a true artist. Back in the day albums would take ages to be made just think classics like illmatic that took a long time to craft. He is taking it back to where its pure artistic skill being displayed on a track from the lyrics, the message and the sound.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! In this internet age, I think a lot of people are seeing music as just entertainment, whether they realize it or not. We consume music so quickly that there's no way we could fully appreciate it as art. And because of that there's less artful music being made. It's obvious Jay E's not interested in entertaining anyone. He wants to drop some knowledge on people and get them talking about shit that's going on in the world. And he's not letting his art be determined by his fans or the industry. That's why his album hasn't dropped for like four years, that's why at his debut performance people had to boo him into rapping. And despite who Jay-Z is and the reputation he has as a business man, I think he appreciates what E's doing. Whenever it drops though, Act II will definitely be something incredible.

Yes it will be incredible with a different approach to hiphop music. Different approaches is what is missing in Hip hop as an art form. Back in the day everyone was different and very creative and Elec is from the ilk we do consume albums and music too quickly where people just know how to recite choruses nowadays or simplistic getting drunk all day lyrics which is not what hip hop is supposed to be. It is art and that is what he embodies from his approach and even just the music that comes out ...

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