As an artist, the only thing more frustrating than being sidelined from a puny buzz is being sidelined because your buzz drew the interest of a major label. Wealthy as they may be, most are still in the beta stage of harnessing new age talent. Too often, burgeoning talent see their momentum come to a standstill because the label needs that heat and wants the artist’s next move under their umbrella, no matter the cost. In Jay Electronica’s case, he’s had to rest on his epigrammatic laurels while the rest of the world speculated, criticized and wrote him off as an one-hitter quitter, not knowing he was silently securing the most coveted position for a formidable MC in 2010.
A slot on Jay-Z’s Roc Nation roster.
The move completed the trifecta of “J’s” throwing up the diamond as he’ll join Jigga and Jermaine “Friday Night Lights” Cole to do microphones and pop filters great damage. With limited relevance thus far, the reborn powerhouse label has coasted along off name alone but time was due. The move also offsets the power yet unpopular move which saw Willow Smith being swooped up with nary any clout aside from platinum genes.
Tonight, Jay E.’s friends, family, fans and critics are packed into The Box, to announce that he’s officially part of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation roster.
Earlier I spoke to Jay E. about the big news, and his plans. He said that the actual contract was signed on Saturday, after a few weeks of intense daily communication and creative courtship. How did it start? With a chance meeting at the Spotted Pig. How did Electronica know Hov was serious? His second replay email came attached with a verse. That ended up becoming the Jay Electronica and Jay-Z collaboration “Shiny Suit Theory” (featuring French chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourg and The-Dream).
There’s irony in the fact Jay-Z appears on a Jay Elec song that’s based on Diddy’s description of Jay Elec. Because Diddy has been mentoring and courting Jay for over a year, in the hopes of signing him as well. Electronica insists he values everything Puff contributed and hopes to have him involved in his career, but said “Jay-Z made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. And I have the freedom I need too.”
The natural of the underground, the anti-establishment, the independent artist is rapidly changing…so I’m anxious to see what happens when Jay the conglomerate and Jay the mystic mix commerce and art.
It should be noted that no good deed goes unpunished and amidst the celebration of “real” Hip-Hop being accessorized on a grand scale, Sean “Puffy/Diddy/Daddy” Combs let out a cryptic Tweet that certainly raised suspicions around the community.
Again this is all pure hearsay at this point (or is it Ms. Badu?) but the timing of the Tweet along with Diddy being amongst the first big name to really ride with the New Orleanyorker. Loyalty runs through shallow waters in the music industry and the dam that held whatever verbal agreement they seemingly had probably burst as soon as he got the call from Jay. There’s obviously reason to feel “betrayed” in you’re Sean John.
But now to play devil advocate because, to some, Diddy has horns and pokes his employees with a pitchfork. We can bring up every artist we all grew up on Bad Boy but let’s just focus on the ones he currently has warming his bench to keep things moving right along. Danity who? Day what? The handling of Red Cafe’s “Hottest In The Hood” was so poor, by the time the video was unveiled, the MP3 had to be thawed out. While it is probably always business, never personal with you Puff, the business end seems to always end in disgruntled blood.
Let’s not dwell on “alleged” spilled milk for now. Congratulations are in order to Jay Electronica, his manager Angela Yee and Jay-Z for giving diamonds in the rough some shine. We now may resume the hunt for Act II. Calling it overdue would be a classic understatement.