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Here’s a Look at What’s Been Going on With Jay Electronica’s ‘Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)’ Album

jay electronica tidal
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Will Jay Electronica ever drop his debut album, Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)? Who knows. It’s been a decade since Jay Elec announced Act II was coming. The rapper once revealed through his MySpace page that the release date for Act II would be on Christmas day in 2007. He also said that there would be over 10 tracks on the album with production from Hi-Tek, Madlib and Mr. Porter plus guest verses from Nas and Guilty Simpson.

Fast forward to 2017, and there is still no Act II and no release date in sight. Last summer, director Jason Goldwatch posted a picture of the NOLA spitta on Instagram along with the caption “1.7.17.” Fans thought that was a hint that the project would be coming out this January. That month has since passed. Most recently, during 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, Electronica spoke about how an album is a false concept and furthermore, he made an actually release date for Act II as murky as Dr. Dre’s Detox album.

“Then again, an album is a false concept anyway. An album is something that was created by corporations as a product to make money,” he said. “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.”

That’s not to say that Jay Elec has been completely dormant. He’s been dropping tracks here and there, with some records believed to be on his debut album. He most recently released “The Curse of Mayweather,” where he took shots at 50 Cent, dropped guest verses on Chance The Rapper’s “How Great” and teamed up with Emeli Sande for her song “Garden.”

XXL looks back at all the events involving Act II since Jay Electronica announced the album. Take a look here.


1

Jay Electronica Says Act II Will Drop on Christmas Day, Just Blaze Shoots That Down

December 2009

 

 

Following the release of “Exhibit C,” Jay Electronica says that Act II will drop on Christmas for free, but Just Blaze quickly shuts down that release date via Twitter.

 

2

Jay Elec and Just Blaze Blame Nas for Act II Delay

January 2010

 

 

Just Blaze and Jay Electronica visit DJ Green Lantern’s Invasion Radio on SiriusXM and say Nas is the reason that Act II is being delayed.

 

3

Act II Is Coming Once Again

February 2010

 

 

On Gilles Peterson’s Radio 1 show, Jay Electronica once again shares information that Act II is coming and he’s working on separate projects with Nas and Mos Def.

 

4

Act II Gets a Release Date

August 2010

 

 

Jay Electronica tells DJ Semtex during an interview that Act II is done and he’s planning to release the project on Sept. 19, Jay Elec’s birthday. A month later, he shares a new song titled “FatBellyBella,” paying tribute to Erykah Badu, his former girlfriend and baby mama.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9xA7G342AM

 

5

Jay Electronica Signs to Roc Nation

November 2010

 

 

Jay Electronica signs to Roc Nation. A few days layer, Elec drops the songs “The Announcement” and “Shiny Suit Theory” featuring Jay Z and The-Dream.

 

6

The Making of Act II Pops Up Online

March 2011

 

 

A video titled The Making of Act II appears online. The video shows footage of Jay Elec recording music while in Johannesburg, South Africa. There fans meet singer LaTonya Givens who’s laying down vocals for what is believed to be “Better in Tune with the Infinite.”

 

7

Act II Is Complete

July 2011

 

 

A little less than a year after signing to Roc Nation, Jay Electronica tweets that Act II is finished and artists including Bun B, Erykah Badu, Jeymes Samuel, Tony Tagoe and Jay Z have heard it. He expresses his desire to share a song called “Road to Perdition” featuring Hov.

 

8

“Act II (Rough Demo)” and “Call of Duty” Debut

September and October 2011

 

 

A rough, unfinished demo of “Act II” arrives. A month later, he follows up with a new record titled “Call of Duty,” inspired by the popular video game. Prodigy and Havoc drop guest verses on the track.

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9

Young Guru Talks Act II

October 2011

 

 

Young Guru assures fans that the delays for Act II are well worth it. “Jay Electronica’s [album] is going to be an incredible, special album, and by no means do I ever want to rush it. It will be served when it’s time… when he’s ready, it will come out,” Guru shared.

He added, “Jay Electronica makes music that touches my soul. Because he’s not worried about what the latest trend is. He’s very specific in what he’s trying to accomplish with his music. His music has some of the best messages and some of the best direction that I’ve seen in a long time.”

 

10

Jay Z Has the Finished Version of Act II

March, April and May 2012

 

 

Questlove reveals during an interview on The Champs podcast that Jay Z has a completed version of Act II but the LP lacks a single.

“Actually Jay, Shawn Carter, has the record and listens to it constantly and says its his favorite record of 2012,” revealed Questlove. “He said it has no singles on it, though, but it’s his favorite record.”

Around the same time that month, Jay Electronica tweets that his album is ready to be turned in to Roc Nation.

The full version of “Dear Moleskine” leaks in April and in May, Jay Z boasts to MTV about having heard Act II.

“It’s exactly what it should be — it’s amazing. Him as a lyricist is almost scary. He’s scary good,” he stated. “I’m doing something to it that’s really untraditional, so we’ll see how it works.”

 

11

Act II Tracklist Arrives

July 2012

 

 

Jay Electronica shares the tracklist to Act II through Twitter and quickly deletes it.

Act II: Patent of Nobility The Turn Tracklist

1. “Real Magic” Featuring Ronald Regan
2. “New Illuminati” Featuring Kanye West
3. “Patents of Nobility”
4. “Life on Mars” (@FatBellyBella)
5. “Bonnie & Clyde” Guest Starring Serge Gainsbourg
6. “Dinner at Tiffanys (The Shiny Suit Theory)” Featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jay Z & The-Dream
7. “Memories & Merlot”
8. “Better in Tune with the Infinite” Featuring Latonya Givens
9. “A Letter to Falon”
10. “Road to Perdition” Featuring Jay Z
11. “Welcome to Knightsbridge” Featuring Sean “Diddy” Combs
12. “Rough Love” Featuring Kanye West
13. “Run & Hide” Guest Starring The Bullitts
14. “Nights of the Roundtable” (First Draft Skeleton
15. “10,000 Lotus Petals”

 
Jay Electronica
Jay Electronica

12

Jay Elect Gives Small Updates on Act II for Two Years

2012 – 2014

 

 

September 2012: At the Made in America festival, the rapper says the first single for Act II will feature Chris Brown.

July 2013: Following the release of Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album and J. Cole’s Born Sinner, Jay Electronica tweets that “it’s his turn.”

In the same month, Jeymes Samuel of The Bullitts talks to NME about Act II: “Honestly, it’s in the last stages of recording. It’s just tinkering. Just putting the final… you know when a builder builds a house? And when he’s finished the walls he gives them one little brush over, like a once over? And then the album will be done.”

Dom from Cowboy Builders wouldn’t put up with delays like this.

September 2013: When Big Sean dropped his song “Control,” Jay Elec reveals the rapper was supposed to be on Act II. 

Then Just Blaze shares that the LP is almost done.

“He did a lot of the beats himself then I came in and produced the songs,” Blaze said. “Did overdubs, tied songs together, and then added maybe like two or three new songs. Two or three new songs the last time I was out in London. The album’s great and it’s not like he’s not thinking about it. He texted me two days ago like ‘Yo, do you really think I should put out this record as a single?’ He’s still formulating it in his head.”

“He’s just in his own zone and he’s gonna do it when he’s ready…I feel like the album needs a slight bit more touching up. Just in terms of like—not that it needs more songs,” he continues. “The reality of it is there’s like a couple of songs that maybe he needs to do a verse over on…Maybe a song or two that needs maybe a string arrangement or something. But for the most part the core of the album is there. It’s pretty much done.”

September 2014: At the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards, Jay Elec talks about Act II while on the red carpet.

“I feel like the album is gonna be what it is, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “You can never predict… well, you could. Some wise scientists can predict things. That’s how they move fashion and everything forward. They predict. The black man who writes the history of the earth; he predicts things in advance.”

“For me and my album, I can’t really predict how people are going to take to the album and what kind of impact it’s going to have. I feel like my presence alone in the industry… I plan to have impact with my presence alone. Me spreading love, me trying to share what I can share. Me giving my experience. And hopefully that has more impact than, necessarily, the album does.”

 

13

“Better in Tune W the Infinite,” “Road to Perdition” and “Man Up” Drop

2014 – 2015

 

 

March 2014: After performing at SXSW, a fan asked Jay Elec to drop new music and was rewarded with “better in tune w the infinite” featuring LaTonya Givens.

March 2015: Four years after boasting about “Road to Perdition,” he drops the record randomly on SoundCloud minus Jay Z’s verse.

July 2015: A new Jay Electronica record titled “Man Up” pops up on the web. This comes after Jay gave a fan an opportunity to release a new unreleased song.

 

14

Another Act II Release Date Is Teased

August 2016

 

 

Director/photographer Jason Goldwatch shared a photo on Instagram of Jay Electronica holding a falcon with the caption, “1.7.17.” Many believed this be the release date for Jay’s highly anticipated Act II: Patents of Nobility album.

 

15

Jay Z Tells Jay Electronica to Put His Album Out

February 2017

 

 

While hosting a #TIDALXNOLA show in Elect’s hometown of New Orleans during 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, Jay Z tells the “Exhibit C” rapper that it’s time to release Act II.

“Let’s go put this album out,” Mr. Carter said in front of a crowd of fans.

 

16

Jay Electronica Says “An Album Is a False Concept”

February 2017

 

 

During 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, Jay Elec spoke a number of times about Act II and its release date.

“Then again, an album is a false concept anyway. An album is something that was created by corporations as a product to make money,” he said. “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.”

Jay also acknowledged how fans still supported him despite the project not being released yet. “It’s humbling that after all these years anybody still has any interest in what I’m doing,” the MC shared. “As far as an album, I would like to put out an album myself. Nobody in the world wants a Jay Electronica album out more than I do. I release music in my own time… things evolve… over the trajectory of your life… you can’t put a stopwatch on that.”

 

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