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‘Watch the Throne’ comparisons are far-off for Jay Electronica’s duet with Jay-Z (Review)

Watch the Throne? No, not at all. It is not that.

Photo: TIDAL

From the way the album started, we—the “Black Delegates” and unequivocal “hip-hop heads” all over the globe—were sure the highly-anticipated debut ‘A Written Testimony’ was going to be the thrilling moment we believe Jay Electronica deserves. It wasn’t.

Photo: TIDAL

As ‘Ghost of Soulja Slim’ cued and the powerful messages from ‘The Overwhelming Event’ became one with the beat, Jay-Z is the first verse the Black Delegates hear—an event usually reserved for a Jay-Z solo album. Why? It is seldom the Hip-Hop veteran appears first on any track that doesn’t involve his wife or daughter, and someone of his staus will go last because it is for “the best”. As we listen to the backing track of the album’s first song, we can understand why the Brooklyn icon might have wanted to go first. That Jay Electronica-production will stop anyone in their tracks. It’s beautiful without additional vocals. (The MF DOOM fan in me can also hear MF DOOM all over this beat.)

‘Shiny Suit Theory’ is my personal favourite because we get to hear Jay Electronica for a little more than two minutes before his label boss comes in. Overall as someone who thinks big and sees the big picture all the time, it would have been great to have some of the new Roc Nation artists bless background vocals like the Griselda family. Rihanna’s vocals are on ‘Flux Capacitor’, but it is one of the most off-beat deliveries on the entire project. I feel it deserved better execution. From English, Arabic to Spanish, there’s still something mystique about the travelled man that is the artist, Jay Electronica. At this point, I’d much rather watch a movie about his life. To me, he didn’t sound eager to make this album. Respectfully, the album sounds like it was a pending task.

On previous recordings before signing to Roc Nation, Jay Electronica appeared to rap like he had something to lose. Today, I don’t think it’s the case. He sits, dates, and breaks bread with the world’s elite. So, although, Puffy and Jay may want more for him and his family as he’s stated within the lyrics, we think he’s comfortable with what he’s earned.

Now, there’s a lot of tweets flying about why the album is what it is. People are asking why Jay-Z’s name isn’t on the official tracklisting—revealed ahead of the early scheduled release. Others want to know why the rollout is what it is. Both of the men involved don’t interview often, so we are on going to wish ourselves well on that. We may not get a full explanation anytime soon.

Just take it for what it is: A spiritual body of music, without all of the live singing from a choir, like Kanye’s latest, ‘JESUS IS KING’. This short ten-track album is not about Jesus. Allah, Santería, and whatever is in-between power its emcees.

Watch the Throne? No, not at all. It is not that.




Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor.

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