Thursday, March 01, 2012

Kufiyaspotting: Jay Electronica

This photo of rapper Jay Electronica accompanied his recent release, via RCRD.LBL, of the free single, "Suckas."

Jay Electronica is probably not wearing the kufiya because it is fashionable. His rap style is in the general universe of the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, J Dilla, and the like. The song "Suckas" blasts shallow and materialistic mainstream rap MC's:

These wack emcees got the game twisted
We don't give a fuck about your rings and your chains
Your four-dot six Range
Or Frankie B jeans

His lyrics are in the "conscious" vein:

The last dragon, carrying weight like Oprah
Redeemer of Abner Louima and Sankofa

And, it is clear from this line, that he is a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths (Five Percenters):

Eighty-five think they free but they really in chains
Talking that big willy looking silly and strange

The "eighty five" in Five Percenter beliefs are the deaf, dumb and blind who are misled and victimized by the elites, the bloodsuckers of the poor, the Ten Percent. (The Five Percenters have "knowledge of self," and struggle to bring consciousness to the 85%.)

These lines allude to Jay's status as a "God":

Jay Elect reign supreme over everything
Meet the heavenly man mics in my hand I rip 'em

I'm somewhat surprised to come across a Five Percenter who is originally from New Orleans, but since leaving NOLA, Electronica has led a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, living variously in Philly, Detroit, NYC and Baltimore. Probably he came across some Gods in those places. Somewhere along the way he hooked up, for a time, with Erykah Badu (who has her own connections to the Gods and Earths; her first son is named 7), and they have a child together, born in 2009.

Electronica is worth following. Here are the complete lyrics to "Suckas" (which get the Abner Louima reference wrong, however.)

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