Jay Electronica's "A Written Testimony": Is it a Solid Debut Album?
Updated: Apr 14
Jay Electronica has been a quiet-but-powerful figure in the hip-hop industry in the past, known mostly as a producer with occasional features, such as a feature on Chance The Rapper's Coloring Book Album. But as of March 2020, Jay Electronica has ventured into album creation with the debut album, A Written Testimony.
A Written Testimony is one that reminds me of a fashion collection: they all have the same feel, but are all individual in their own way, keeping the listener intrigued but not bored. Jay Electronica focuses on using jazz-inspired beats throughout the album, complete with a theatrical intro song ("The Overwhelming Event") and a mellow sounding final track ("A.P.I.D.T.A"). Jay Electronica even incorporates the 1992 song "Get the Gat" in a way that still matches the rest of the album (on "Flux Capacitor"). The jazzy sound gives the album a classy feel that blends seamlessly with Jay-E and Jay-Z's flows. Some tracks are busier than others, but they still easily blend to create an overall aesthetically pleasing sound. If you like the vibes of Ari Lennox's music, then you will surely enjoy this album that incorporates the same soulful, neo-jazz melody. Intersect gives the sound a 10/10 on a 1-10 rating scale because of the way it beautifully blends with the vocals to create a harmony that can be difficult to achieve.
Jay Electronica raps throughout most of the album with Jay-Z in tandem on almost every track. Along with them is Travis Scott, who is featured on "The Blinding," and The-Dream, who is featured on "Shiny Suit Theory" and "Ezekiel's Wheel." The features are a great addition to the album, but it would not be complete without Jay-Z's frequent accompaniment to Jay Electronica's rapping. Both of their voices, rich and mellow, pair extremely well with the melody. My only complaint is that I wish Jay Electronica would have added in at least a small amount of his own signing along with his rapping to showcase his multi-talented voice. The signing receives an 8/10 on a 1-10 scale because I would have liked to hear a little more experimentation from Jay Electronica, but the rapping of both himself and the features are good.
THE ART BEHIND THE ALBUM
By solely glancing at the cover, one can see that the album is religiously inspired. Jay Electronica uses the theme of religion, specifically Islam, heavily in the beginning and continuing throughout the album, although less frequently towards the end. I really enjoyed the way he used religion to map his journey in music and self-discovery, referencing common black idols as well as Islamic idols, and rapping about how he found his self-worth. As the tracks continue, the lyrics focus more on the struggles that come with fame, such as pressure from both others and within and superficial relationships. The album seems to switch from religion to fame somewhat quickly, but still intertwining the two themes pretty well. Because of the lack of the religious theme in the second half, Intersect gives the art behind the album a 9/10 on the 1-10 rating scale.
MY FAVORITE TRACKS ON THE ALBUM
A.P.I.D.T.A, FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, THE BLINDING
APPLE MUSIC'S FAVORITE TRACKS ON THE ALBUM
THE BLINDING, GHOST OF SOULJA SLIM, THE NEVERENDING STORY
After listening to A Written Testimony from top to bottom, I'd affirm that this is a very solid debut album. Jay Electronica did not hesitate to use his smooth beats and flow to tell a cohesive story that he can look back on and be proud of. Congratulations to Jay Electronica for the debut album, A Written Testimony. Listen to the album below.