Jay Electronica Proclaims He’s the Last of a Dying Breed at Chicago Show – Exclusive
No album? No problem. On an abnormally warm spring night (April 3) in Chicago, fans came out in droves to see the rap unicorn, Jay Electronica, perform at Metro in Wrigleyville.
Ever since "Exhibit C" dropped in 2009, and took the hip-hop world by storm, the goodwill that Jay Elect garnered with that track almost seven years ago has turned to bitterness as many have grown increasingly impatient and angry that the New Orleans native has yet to drop a full-length LP.
Still, after announcing a slate of tour dates through the month of April, Electronica has managed to once again keep his name buzzing in hip-hop circles, even though people are still asking, “What you waiting on?” when it comes to his album.
The Chicago show kicked off with a slew of local artists as opening acts. First up was Landon Battles, who hails from the South Side of the city. His set got the crowd primed and ready for what was to come. Battles performed a variety of songs off his Black Gold mixtape and closed his performance out with the energetic single, “Get Yo Goofass Out My Face.”
Next up was a performance by Chai Tulani and Stevie Adams. They took the stage and delivered their mix of rap (Adams) and reggae (Thai), which included a live band comprised of two bass players, a saxophonist and a drummer. Their energy was infectious and even though their songs were unfamiliar, they had the crowd rocking out with both their sound and originality.
The duo was followed by The Boy Illinois, an artist who has been quietly making waves in hip-hop circles for several years. The South Side MC’s rhymes are as unique as they are entertaining, as he pays homage to both his Chicago roots and his Haitian background. The packed crowd was certainly feeling his onstage vibe and he left many, including this writer, impressed with his presence and ability to keep everyone locked in while he was on stage. His mixtapes, Jean Baptiste and The Memoirs of Gilbert Gaston, are certainly worth a listen and offer more insight into the mind of the introspective and talented MC.
The final opening performance of the night was from Ty Money, the artist who famously dropped the song “United Center” a day after the Chicago Police Department released the controversial dash cam video showing disgraced officer Jason Van Dyke shooting teen LaQuan McDonald 16 times. The rapper from Harvey, Ill., a suburb just 25 minutes south of Chicago, captivated the crowd with a variety of tracks off his Cinco de Money mixtape, which was ranked No. 36 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 40 best rap albums of 2015. That honor alone is one of the reasons Ty Money is an artist to watch.
Finally, Jay Electronica took the stage, opening his set with “Exhibit A,” the song that first put him on the hip-hop map. The packed house rhymed in sync with the rapper as he moved through the song, particularly when he decided to rap the last verse a cappella. From there, he spit verses from some of his classic songs such as “Abracadabra,” “The Announcement,” “Holladay,” “Swagger Jackson’s Revenge” and Jay Z's “We Made It” remix, all while proclaiming that his style of rhyming is a “dying breed” compared to a lot of the rap music out today.
Electronica also spit songs from his still unreleased album, Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn), including, “Better in Tune with the Infinite,” "Shiny Suit Theory” and “Road to Perdition.” He also paid homage to legendary Detroit producer J Dilla and even invited people in the crowd up on stage to rap with him, while at times, going down into the audience to rhyme amongst the people. He brought his headlining performance to an end with his most recent record, “The Curse of Mayweather,” in which he takes shots at Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent, and closed his set with his most popular song to date, “Exhibit C,” which sent everyone into a frenzy as they rapped along, word for word.
Jay Electronica may be one of hip-hop’s most mysterious MCs, but his talent and place among the rap elite -- even without an album -- is undeniable. For any fan living in one of the cities announced on his April tour schedule, it's well worth the time to see him perform live. After all, it’s not everyday an apparition takes human form and blesses the masses with his lyrical dexterity and skill. -- Bryan Crawford
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