JAY ELECTRONICA [This Tent | Friday, June 11 @ 1:45 p.m.]
When I recognized the all-too-familiar lyrics of Nas's "The World Is Yours" emanating from This Tent, I literally sprinted toward the stage. Weaving through the crowd to get a better view, I fully expected the QB MC to be occupying the mic, as Nas was (metaphorically) in the building for a mid-afternoon set with Damian Marley. Instead, I found New Orleans native Jay Electronica, covering the rapper who helped to birth his style -- a recurring theme throughout the set, which paid homage to Guru, Biggie, and Dilla.
Along with a litany of respect for those that paved the way, the rapper's also got jokes. At one point, he boldly proclaimed: "Okay, this is a new song right here. We just wrote this last night. We just went to the studio to record this last night. It's something new. You've never heard it before. All original music. All original lyrics. But I promise you, you're going to like it. Can I share it with y'all?" With the crowd psyched up to new heights, his DJ dropped "Iron Man" ... and then Jay sang along, karaoke-style. "I didn't actually write that," he admitted afterward. "That was Black Sabbath ... but I wish I did!"
Upholding the customary festival etiquette of saving your best song for last, he closed the show with "Exhibit C," stretching it out to nearly 10 minutes by pausing the track to hop into the front row and by letting the instrumental breathe at the end. The song has already racked up accolades for being one of the greatest hip-hop tracks in quite some time, and the live rendition served as a perfect indicator for why, somewhere down the line, others may be taking time out of their own sets to pay tribute to this up-and-coming MC.
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