The latest from Jay Electronica is packed with storylines that turn out to be red herrings. First off, there’s the long-silent rapper‘s recent return, with Notorious B.I.G. remix “In the System” and original track “Better in Tune With the Infinite” this month alone. Then, there’s the meeting of the Jays: Newest offering “We Made It” pairs Electronica with Jay Z, whose Roc Nation signed the younger MC in late 2010. And never underestimate the blogosphere’s appetite for beef: This remix of a Drake remix of a Soulja Boy song includes Jay sniffing at the Nothing Was the Same maestro as “Mrs. Drizzy.” Last but not least, dig the Eastbound and Down samples.
Ultimately, though, the Jay duo’s “We Made It” is noteworthy as a nimble reclamation of African-American history. “Apologies go out to all of my fans cause they waited so patiently,” Jay Electronica declares early on in this fiery track, but elsewhere his intricate verses are thick with references that go far beyond the impatient holdover for a new album from the other “Control” guest: “From Solomon to Sambo to Django,” all the way through Obamacare.
Jay Z, meanwhile, picks up the black-pride theme with one of his more compelling recent verses, shouting out 12 Years a Slave and alluding to Public Enemy when not subtly throwing more shade at Drake. “I own my own masters,” the Magna Carta Holy Grail magnate insists, in one powerful turn of phrase. There might be a bit too much happening on this track for the sake of its own coherence, but it’s a thrilling testament to how much has changed, for sure.