jay-Z may have tried to address the controversy surrounding his NFL deal in interviews at the time, but he’s always given his best responses to his various life trials in his music. Think back to iconic lines like Jay’s reference to stabbing Lance “Un” Rivera in 1999 on “I Did It My Way” from The Blueprint 2: “This n**** Un, yo, I scratched him, he went home without an aspirin / But it’s cool cause he’s back friends.” Of course, it didn’t seem likely Jay would be addressing the NFL controversy anytime soon — but then Jay Electronica’s debut album, A Written Testimony, came out.
While billed as a debut solo album for Jay El, A Written Testimony is in practice a bit more like Watch The Throne in that Jay-Z is all over it. Although the focus and artistic direction is weighted heavily toward Electronica’s comfort zone, Shawn Corey gets plenty of real estate to do what he does best, complementing his signee’s spirituality talk with some cold, hard reality raps. One of those realities is the one where fans censured him for signing on to become the NFL’s “live music entertainment strategist” after previously supporting quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his legal battle with the league for blackballing him in the wake of his kneeling protest against police violence.
While Jay-Z previously said it didn’t matter what was said about him and opened up about the backlash earlier this year, on Jay Electronica’s album cut “Flux Capacitor,” he takes a different — and much more incisive — tack, rhyming: “Why would I sell out? I’m already rich, don’t make no sense / Got more money than Goodell, a whole NFL bench / Did it one-handed like Odell, handcuffed to a jail / I would’ve stayed on the sideline if they could’ve tackled that sh*t themselves.”
It seems that the various accusations that he had selfish motives in getting involved may have gotten under his skin — at least, enough for him to remind folks that he is hip-hop’s first actual billionaire. Whether that quells the criticisms against him remains to be seen but one thing is certain: He’s still one of the best rappers to pick up a mic, 24 years after his own debut album — and about 30 years deep in the game.
Listen to “Flux Capacitor” above.
A Written Testimony is out now on Roc Nation. Get it here.