Hailed by Jay Z and Alchemist as incredible, and famously described by Nas as being, 'the whole package', US Rapper and producer Jay Electronica made his UK debut at the Jazz Café last week.
Fans who attended either night of the New Orleans emcee’s London shows on 17th and 18th February 2010, can certainly testify that he is the whole package, and then some.
Hosted by 1Xtra’s Benji B and Semtex (respectively) with support performances by Fatima, Klashnekoff and Sway – London Town was certainly not disappointed.
It was obvious from the crowd’s reaction that it was only about one man. On the opening night the rapper made his way onto the Jazz Café stage in a razor sharp navy blue suit proclaiming, “I had to keep it proper for London”.
Jay lead the crowd in touching tributes to the late seminal hip hop producer J Dilla, who lost his battle with Lupus in 2006 and fellow Slum Village member and co-founder Baatin, who passed away in August 2009.
As a quirk of the opening night, when the Dilla joint Waves dropped Jay invited a member of the audience to step up and ‘bless the beat’. These impromptu performances can so often prove a risky addition, yet on this occasion successfully added yet another dimension to an already memorable show.
Mangaliso asi stepped up and quiet simply killed it, with even Electronica himself professing, “this mother f***er can spit”, and insisting that Giles Peterson, also in the crowd, gets the youngster to spit something on his Radio 1 show.
I caught up with ‘hip hop wordsmith’ Asi, to ask how it felt to share a stage, albeit briefly, with someone he clearly respects and admires. “The show was amazing. As an emerging artist I was just grateful for the opportunity to stand on stage with someone that I respect, and have that respect reciprocated by them and the crowd”.
Another definite highlight of the night was when Electronica’s Exhibit C dropped twice and the Jazz Café erupted on both occasions.
Electronica’s interaction with both the audience and his DJ was phenomenal, setting both nights in a league of their own. With frequent conversational sound bites whilst passing around his bottle of Jack Daniels and finally jumping into the crowd at the end of the show to converse and take photos with the public – he was truly at one with his fans.
Jay Electronica may have tweeted that he, “had the MOST AMAZING two days out here in London Town!”, but one thing is for sure London won’t forget Jay Electronica in a hurry.
By: Thuto Mali | Photo © Cherri Prince