Though some had written it off as a hip-hop urban legend, Jay Electronica has officially reclaimed the narrative in his favor with his new album A Written Testimony. And to make things even more enticing for bar connoisseurs, the project is a full-fledged collaborative effort with Jay-Z; a pleasant surprise for those wondering whether 2020 would bring some new music from Hov. Clocking in at ten tracks and a modest thirty-nine minutes, there’s plenty to unpack from the lyrically dense effort.
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Featuring production from Jay Electronica himself, AarabMuzik, Swizz Beatz, The Alchemist, Hit-Boy, and No. I.D, A Written Testimony is equally stacked behind the boards. For the most part, Jay Elec dictates the sonic direction by playing to his strengths, conjuring gritty and lo-fi selections evocative of underground hip-hop. Yet even so, moments like the back-and-forth banger “The Blinding” featuring Travis Scott should serve as a gateway for some curious newcomers — you can check that out right here.
As is always the case with great expectations, so too comes the risk of equally great disappointment. Yet for the most part, Jay Electronica appears to have delivered a quality release, though some might find themselves bamboozled by complex themes and occasionally abstract lyrical content. Either way, the fact this exists to begin with is a win for hip-hop, especially for those keeping track of the ever-growing list of mysterious unreleased projects. Stream A Written Testimony below, and sound off – did it live up to the hype?