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Jay Electronica’s debut album, A Written Testimony, finally arrived at midnight on Friday (March 13). After signing to JAY-Z’s Roc Nation label in 2010, fans waited patiently for a body of work from the New Orleans native — and the wait was worth it.
Last month, Electronica announced that his project was on the way. “My debut album featuring Hov man this is highway robbery,” he wrote in one tweet. “Recorded over 40 days and 40 nights, starting from Dec 26,” he wrote in another post.
In honor of his latest effort, REVOLT TV dug up nine facts about the rapper that you may not know. Take a look at them below.
1. He is signed to Roc Nation
Back in 2009, Electronica dropped his single “Exhibit C.” After the song became a viral hit, many labels sought him out. Ultimately, he signed with JAY-Z’s Roc Nation. After inking the deal, Electronica and JAY-Z released two singles together: “The Announcement” and “Shiny Suit Theory.”
2. Kobe Bryant’s passing affected him deeply
During Electronica’s album release livestream, he revealed that he recorded the outro track “A.P.I.D.T.A” on the day that Kobe Bryant and eight others victims died in a tragic helicopter crash. Although the rapper and JAY-Z don’t directly say Kobe’s name, the track remembers those who have passed throughout their life. “Uh, I got numbers on my phone that’ll never ring again / ‘Cause Allah done sent them home, and they’ll never, uh,” Hov rapped.
3. He worked on Chance The Rapper’s Grammy award-winning mixtape ‘The Coloring Book’
At the 59th annual Grammys Awards, Chance The Rapper’s mixtape, The Coloring Book, won the award for Best Rap Album, which featured a collaboration with Electronica. During a conversation with Billboard, Electronica praised the Chicago native and their work together. “I love Chance. He’s [my] little brother. May God bless him all the way to the moon with blessings,” he said. “I f—k with Chance because he’s somebody that’s out here and he’s using his music as a healing tool. It’s good to party and have fun but also we gotta have some real s—t in there, so I really value Chance and I pray God continues to bless him.”
4. He believes in working at his own pace
Following his viral hit “Exhibit C” in 2009, fans waited patiently for Electronica’s debut album. Electronica explained that he moves at his own pace when making a body of work. “An album is a false concept anyway. An album is something that was created by corporations as a product to make money,” he told Billboard. “People have been making music, doing plays and telling stories around fires for trillions of years. I like albums, but I’m not too really handcuffed to the concept of that.”
5. He is inspired by Kanye West
In a rare interview with radio station The Beats 99.9, Electronica confessed that he admires Kanye West’s music. He explained that despite West’s “faults,” he has respect for his craft. “Kanye’s a black God, and we love him,” he said. “Kanye’s a beautiful brother. We gotta be careful about anything we hear. We all got our faults and character defects. Kanye, as far as I know, is a beautiful human being. Very beautiful brother physically and spiritually.”
6. He arrived on the music scene in 2007
Thirteen years ago, Electronica released his mixtape, Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) on MySpace. The 15-minute piece featured him rapping over Jon Brion’s score for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The mixtape also featured spoken word appearances from Erykah Badu, who the MC has gushed about in the past.
7. He recorded A Written Testimony over the course of 40 days and nights
Last month, Electronica announced on Twitter that he recorded his debut effort over the course of 40 days and nights. The star also revealed that he worked closely with the “Song Cry” rapper on the body of work. “My debut album featuring Hov man this is highway robbery…Recorded over 40 days and 40 nights, starting from Dec 26,” he tweeted out to his followers.
8. He adopted a nomadic lifestyle after living in New Orleans
Electronica grew up in New Orleans until the age of 19. In the many years that followed, he traveled between Baltimore, New York City, Detroit and Atlanta. New York was one of the cities that his album listening party was scheduled to take place, however, it was canceled due to the widespread of the coronavirus.
9. He began rapping at 10 years old
At only 10 years old, Electronica began working on his flow as a rapper. In the past, he confessed that he was inspired by LL Cool J’s flow. He also played in the band while attending high school in New Orleans.
Be sure to check out Jay Electronica’s debut album, A Written Testimony, below!