If Jay Electronica will not giveth, the internet will taketh. Or at least discovereth and re-uploadeth.
While the world waits (and waits, and waits) for a Jay Elec album that will most likely never come, some internet hero has dug up and brought to light a 15-year-old project that by all appearances is a long-lost, super early Jay Electronica album, The Awakening. That means it holds the dual distinction of now being one of only two projects we've heard from the man and offers a fascinating insight into the early days of hip-hop's most mysterious emcee.
Ok, let's pump the brakes. Like everything that magically and suddenly appears on the internet, we need to approach this with a healthy dose of skepticism. The album is listed as being by an artist named Je'ri, which isn't a known alias for Jay Electronineverdropanalbumica. And while the voice certainly sounds like Jay, people thought that Your Old Droog was Nas for a minute because their voices sounded similar, and we all know how that turned out.
On the other hand, this Awakening review from 2000 mentions that Je'Ri is from New Orleans and has moved around the country, which matches Jay Elec's life story, song titles like "Supreme Mathematics" echo Elec's current topical choices, and there are multiple lyrical references like living on Magnolia St. in "Can You Feel It" that again fit with what we know of Elec's life.
It's a little crazy to hear such a young and unpolished version of Jay Elec, just like it's crazy to listen to super early music from any of your favorite artists - like when I uncovered those super-early Kanye beats - but that's definitely probably him. So my recommendation is to spend some time really enjoying this because it's definitely probably the only "new" Jay Electronica album we're going to hear in our lifetimes.
UPDATE: So, SoundCloud just pulled the album stream because Soundcloud is a tool of the Illuminati and Jay Elec is definitely Illuminati. (Joking, but not really.) The only thing crazier than a long lost Jay Elec album is a long lost Jay Elec album that vanishes as soon as it appears, but I guess an absence of new music from the man is par for the course. We'll update with a new stream of the project as soon as the powers that be allow it...if they ever allow it.