Jay Electronica on Debut: 'Maybe If Minister Farrakhan Said Put the Album Out, I Might Throw Something Together'
Jay Z isn't the only one urging Jay Electronica to put his album out. Hip-hop heads have been clamoring for the low-key New Orleans rapper's official debut, titled Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn), for almost a decade. Though he shared in now-deleted tweets in 2011 that the album was "complete" and has popped up on songs by Chance the Rapper and Emeli Sande, Jay E has offered no semblance of a release date.
During a rare performance at the Bud Light Crew HQ in his native NOLA on Saturday (Feb. 19), Electronica quenched fans' thirst with an energetic set that included several salutes to his close collaborator J Dilla and an impromptu freestyle session from attendees the performer pulled from the crowd. Electronica also proved he was hip to the Internet (despite asking a partygoer to show him how to pull up Instagram live on his phone) by channeling viral personality Dancing Dan and saying, "We live baby!"
Below, Jay Elect explained what it would take for him to release his long-awaited album, his friendship with Hov and Chance The Rapper's recent Grammy wins.
What does it mean to perform in your hometown?
Well, It’s home. I’m always glad to perform at home because they understand what made me like that so it’s always going to be a unique connection when you perform at home.
There's a video where Jay Z says he wants you to put the album out popping up online but what would it take for you to finally put the project out?
When it’s ready, when it’s ready. It don’t matter if Donald Trump say, "Put the album out." Maybe if Minister [Louis] Farrakhan said put the album out then maybe I might go home tonight and throw something together and put it out. Say like with Jay, that’s almost like [asking], "How’s the weather now?" If I walk outside right now, go across the street and if somebody recognize me, the first question they gonna ask me is, "When is the album coming?"
So it’s almost like it’s not a thing that’s just normal to get asked that. But I guess the question you asked me is what will it take. When it’s finished. When it’s something that I’m pleased with because regardless of the six billion people on planet Earth, even if I put something out and the whole six billion say it’s absolutely beautiful and I don’t feel okay with it, I’m the one that carries that.
I have to be at a place where I’m pleased with the offering. So, it will come -- it’s coming soon. Slowly but surely. Then again, an album is a false concept anyway. An album is something that was created by corporations as a product to make money. People have been making music, doing plays and telling stories around fires for trillions of years. I like albums but I’m not too really handcuffed to the concept of that.
With Bud Light celebrating friendship for NBA's All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, what does your relationship with Jay Z mean to you?
Jay is a beautiful dude. He’s a good friend. I know that after all this time being with Roc Nation because first of all, I have to say this -- I don’t really give a damn about no record deals or anything like that. I’m not a 19-year-old kid that’s excited about a record deal. Jay knows this. We grown men. So the thing that I value the most about our relationship outside of just brotherhood, camaraderie, and the love that we share, is he’s understood me enough to be like, "I’m not pressing him on nothing like that" because actually it might cause bad blood.
Who knows what it would cause, but I appreciate patience. I value that greatly and it’s something I wouldn’t have learned unless we had this exact interaction over the course of time. Jay is at the top of what we do and it’s an honor to even just be affiliated with him even as an artist because that’s somebody that I rate [as an artist]. They got other people that went to the top but I don’t really rate them as artist but it means a lot to me. Outside of that, he’s a good brother, a good friend I reach out to sometimes, a good brother and a genuine person.
Chance The Rapper just won three Grammys and you collaborated with him on “How Great." How do you feel about his success?
I love Chance. He’s our little brother. May God bless him all the way to the moon with blessings. I f--k with Chance because he’s somebody that’s out here and he’s using his music as a healing tool. It’s good to party and have fun but also we gotta have some real shit in there so I really value Chance and I pray God continue to bless him.