Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How They Came Up: The Jay Electronica Story

  • Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • In ’96, after high school, left for Atlanta then traveled back and forth from New York, Detroit, and Baltimore, in pursuit of better opportunities for his music career.
  • Jay was homeless several times times during this period, on the street and sleeping on the couches of friends while he pursued his dreams
  • Jay says that genuine relationships with others was key to his networking success
  • During his stay in Detroit, Jay met producer J Dilla through, D12 member and producer, Mr. Porter and friends. Jay then got permission to use Dilla’s instrumentals for his “Style Wars” EP released in 2007. Jay never actually got the chance to work with Dilla before he passed away.
  • Jay began using the internet to distribute his music. Jay’s Mypace page , in particular, was where he started to build a following.
  • It was when Jay released “Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)” that Jay’s buzz really intensified. The song was a homemade recording of Jay raping over a music, without drums, taken from a movie sound track.
  • Jay’s known affiliations and collaborations with more established artists like Erykah Badu and producers like Just Blaze only helped to validate him and increase talk about him.
  • Jay continued to release free singles and mixtapes. At this point, he started to become sort of an urban legend without ever having a commercial release
  • After partnering up with music company Deacon, Jay released 2 commercial singles produced by Just Blaze. They were Exhibit A and C.
  • Exhibit C was top 10 on the iTunes Hip-Hop charts and named an “instant classic’ by MTV
  • Jay has worked with, collabed with, and gained the respect of some of the biggest names in hip hop; all while remaining an independent artist without an album release.
  • It wasn’t until November 2010 that Jay Electronica would sign an artist deal with Jay Z’s label, Roc Nation
When I [first started],…I was trying to [make music] for the people that pulled the strings [in the industry] to try to get accepted. Once I got frustrated and said “fuck this” and started doing it [my] way…things started opening up for me. – Jay Electronica

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