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Jay Electronica

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Hip-hop artist

Jay Electronica

Years active
2004 – present


Mars Merkaba Thedford

Jay Electronica Jay Electronica Drops New Heat With quotRoad To Perdition

Birth name
Timothy Elpadaro Thedford

September 19, 1976 (age 47) New Orleans, Louisiana, US (

Magnolia Projects, New Orleans, Louisiana, US

Rapper, record producer

Associated acts
Jay Z, Sean Combs, J Dilla, Just Blaze, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, The Bullitts, Nas

Similar People
Erykah Badu, The DOC, Andre 3000, Amschel Rothschild, Mos Def


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Elpadaro F. Electronica Allah, (born September 19, 1976), better known by his stage name Jay Electronica, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer from New Orleans. Electronica first gained significant attention after the release of the musical composition Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), which was made available on a MySpace page in 2007. It is fifteen continuous minutes of music, without drums, built from Jon Brion's soundtrack to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In late 2009 he released two singles, both produced by Just Blaze, "Exhibit A (Transformations)" and "Exhibit C", the latter of which won a Sucker Free Summit Award for Instant Classic. In November 2010, it was announced Jay Electronica had signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation record label.


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1976–2006: Early life and career beginnings

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Jay Electronica was born on September 19, 1976, in the Magnolia Projects of New Orleans, renowned for having some of the highest crime rates in the country before being flooded during Hurricane Katrina. He began rapping after hearing his uncle rhyme. By the age of 19 Jay Electronica left New Orleans to pursue his musical career. Living a mostly nomadic lifestyle, he found refuge in cities such as Philadelphia, Denver, Baltimore, Detroit, New York, and briefly in Atlanta. From club to club, and stage to stage, Electronica had gotten booed off and denied because of his Southern accent and slang. "In my earlier years from when I first left home, I was embarrassed from being from the South," Thedford stated. "Not in general, but as a rapper because all of the negative things that people in the States put on the South." Electronica’s career really took off in the city of Detroit when he linked up with Detroit native Johnnie Last. In Detroit, Electronica met producer/engineer Mike "Chav" Chavarria, now a regular collaborator, who introduced him to both J. Dilla and Mr. Porter. It is here that he recorded his Style Wars-era music with several J. Dilla beats, meeting the producer subsequently to ask for permission to use the recordings as a demo.

2007–2010: Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge); Roc Nation signing

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Jay Electronica first gained significant attention through Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), made available on a MySpace page in 2007. It is fifteen continuous minutes of music, without drums, built from Jon Brion's soundtrack to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There are five segments or movements marked by changes in music and mood, raps by Electronica, and occasional snippets of sampled dialogue including scenes from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The first segment is a spoken word piece by Just Blaze and Erykah Badu describing Electronica over piano music.

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The nature of the piece of music, along with the nature of its appearance, led to a slow build-up of interest in Electronica as an enigmatic figure. Songs circulating online as the Style Wars EP gained wider circulation, and other songs, such as the dream-inspired "Dimethyltryptamine", appeared. In January 2008, Giles Peterson's 90-minute Gilles Peterson Worldwide podcast was devoted to the rapper. in 2008 called him "arguably...the most talked about new emcee last year ... at times...more like a myth or urban legend than an actual rapper", and URB ran a cover story on the artist under the banner "Jay Electronica: A Spotless Mind :: An MC’s mystery revealed", which referred to his wanderings as his being "like some sort of hip-hop Jack Kerouac".

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Jeff Weiss' piece for the L.A. Weekly, "Jay Electronica: Much Better Than His Name Would Suggest", acknowledged that the rapper could be fairly described as "one of the most buzzed about rappers of 2008", but attempted to temper the hype somewhat, describing Act 1... as "ambitious, wildly original, if not slightly pretentious", while endorsing only to an extent the comparisons URB had made (referencing an "abstract rhyming style") to rappers like Nas and Pharoahe Monch.

2010–present: Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)

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Jay Electronica has yet to release a full-length album, but he has released two official singles to date, "Exhibit A (Transformations)" and "Exhibit C"

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According to URB, Act II: Patents of Nobility will feature Nas, and will be the second of a putative trilogy. URB also reported that digital EPs with both Guilty Simpson and producer 9th Wonder were planned. According to a Filter TV interview, Jay Electronica has partnered with Decon to release his debut project. It is being described as a multi-media release and footage from the project which was partially shot in Nepal and Dubai has begun to surface online. The first clip to leak is titled "Dear Moleskine" and can be found on YouTube, the track was produced by Just Blaze and the clip was directed by Jason Goldwatch from Decon. In June 2009, Decon and Jay's "The Dogon Society" released "Exhibit A (Transformations)" digitally. "Exhibit C" was released on iTunes December 16, 2009 and quickly shot to the top 10 of the iTunes Hip-Hop charts.

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Jay Electronica appeared at the 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. Jay Electronica continued his scattered release practice, releasing "A Million in the Morning" on April 4, 2010. The song features a weary Electronica trying to keep himself awake to escape his nightmares. On April 30, Jay Electronica debuted "The Ghost of Christopher Wallace" via his Twitter. The song features P Diddy and is produced by London beatsmith Quincey Tones, who is known for producing such acts as Young Jeezy and Royce da 5'9".

On November 12, 2010, Jay-Z announced that Jay Electronica had signed with his Roc Nation imprint. In late 2010, Electronica and actress Lucy Liu were featured on The Bullitts' song "Close Your Eyes" that was featured on the album They Die By Dawn & Other Short Stories released in July 2013.

In July 2011, Jay Electronica posted via his Twitter that his debut album, Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn), was complete. On October 10, 2011, Jay Electronica released the song "Call of Duty" featuring Prodigy from Mobb Deep. On March 15, 2014, Jay Electronica released the song "Better In Tune With The Infinite" featuring LaTonya Givens. The song features an excerpt of Professor Marvel's monologue from The Wizard of Oz (1939 film) and will reportedly be included on the long delayed "Act II," according to a track list that Jay Electronica leaked in 2012. Later, on March 22, 2014, he released a remix to Soulja Boy's "We Made It", featuring Jay-Z.

On March 6, 2015, Jay Electronica released "Road to Perdition" featuring Jay-Z. The song uses an audio sample from Ronald Reagan's "A Time For Choosing" 1964 speech.

In 2016, after much anticipation, he hinted that he would be dropping new music (The Turn) by going to his Twitter and writing, "To all those who have been patient with me and supported me over the years, thank you. And get #Tidal#AreYouWatchingClosely?". In 2016 also he released the "Curse of the Mayweather".

Personal life

Electronica and Erykah Badu have one child together, Mars Merkaba Allah, born in 2009. On June 2, 2012, it was revealed that Electronica had been having an affair with Ben Goldsmith's music manager wife, Kate Rothschild, for a year. Electronica is affiliated with the Five Percent Nation and the Nation of Islam. He was based in London for some time.

Nas – Untitled

  • 01. "Queens Get the Money"
  • Sample Credit: John Powell - "I Am Sam (Theme)"
  • Self Scientific – Have Mercy

  • 00. "Mercy" (feat. Kobe) (produced with DJ Khalil)
  • References

    Jay Electronica Wikipedia

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