|Birth name||Timothy Elpadaro Thedford|
September 19, 1976 |
Magnolia Projects, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
|Genres||Alternative hip hop, experimental hip hop|
|Occupations||Rapper, record producer|
|Labels||The Dogon Society, Roc Nation|
|Associated acts||J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Just Blaze, Nas, Mos Def, The Bullitts, Curren$y, Jay-Z|
Timothy Elpadaro Thedford (born September 19, 1976), better known by his stage name Jay Electronica, is an American hip hop recording artist, and record producer, currently based in London, United Kingdom. Jay Electronica first gained significant attention after the release of the musical composition Act I: Eternal Sunshine (the pledge), made available on a MySpace page in 2007. It is fifteen continuous minutes of music, without drums, built from Jon Brion's soundtrack to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In late 2009 he released two songs, both produced by Just Blaze, "Exhibit A (Transformations)" and "Exhibit C" the latter of which won a Sucker Free Summit Award for Instant Classic. On November 12, 2010, it was announced Jay Electronica had become an official member of Jay-Z's Roc Nation record label.
1976–2006: Early life and career beginnings 
Thedford was born on September 19, 1976, in the Magnolia Projects of New Orleans, a place where the crime rate was infamous throughout the country before 2005, when the projects were flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Thedford began rapping after hearing his nephew Akeem Pryor rhyme. By the age of 19 Jay Electronica left New Orleans to pursue his musical career. Living a mostly nomadic lifestyle, he found refuge in cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, New York, and briefly in Atlanta. From club to club, and stage to stage, Electronica had gotten booed off and denied because of his Southern accent and slang. "In my earlier years from when I first left home, I was embarrassed from being from the South," Thedford stated. "Not in general, but as a rapper because all of the negative things that people in the States put on the South." Electronica’s career really took form in the city of Detroit when he linked up with Detroit native Johnnie Last, a friend he had spent a lot of time with at Darp Studios in Atlanta, GA. In Detroit, Electronica met producer/engineer Mike "Chav" Chavarria, now a regular collaborator, who introduced him to both J. Dilla and Mr. Porter. It is here that he recorded his Style Wars-era music with several J. Dilla beats, meeting the producer subsequently to ask for permission to use the recordings as a demo.
2007–2010: Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) and signing with Roc Nation 
Jay Electronica first gained significant attention through Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), made available on a MySpace page in 2007. It is fifteen continuous minutes of music, without drums, built from Jon Brion's soundtrack to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There are five segments or movements marked by changes in music and mood, raps by Electronica, and occasional snippets of sampled dialogue including scenes from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The first segment is a spoken word piece by Just Blaze and Erykah Badu describing Electronica over piano music.
The nature of the piece of music, along with the nature of its appearance, led to a slow build-up of interest in Electronica as an enigmatic figure. Songs circulating online as the Style Wars EP gained wider circulation, and other songs, such as the dream-inspired "Dimethyltryptamine", soon appeared. In January 2008, Giles Peterson's 90-minute Gilles Peterson Worldwide was devoted to the rapper. Hiphopdx.com in 2008 called him "arguably...the most talked about new emcee last year ... at times...more like a myth or urban legend than an actual rapper", and URB ran a cover story on the artist under the banner "Jay Electronica: A Spotless Mind :: An MC’s mystery revealed", which referred to his wanderings as his being "like some sort of hip-hop Jack Kerouac".
Jeff Weiss' piece for the L.A. Weekly, "Jay Electronica: Much Better Than His Name Would Suggest", acknowledged that the rapper could be fairly described as "one of the most buzzed about rappers of 2008", but attempted to temper the hype somewhat, describing Act 1... as "ambitious, wildly original, if not slightly pretentious", while endorsing only to an extent the comparisons URB had made (referencing an "abstract rhyming style") to rappers like Nas and Pharoahe Monch.
2010–present: Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn) 
Jay Electronica has yet to release a full-length album, but he has released two official singles to date, "Exhibit A" and "Exhibit C", which won a Sucker Free Summit Award for Instant Classic. His music so far has been made available through the internet, either through being leaked to what URB magazine describes as "obscure web forums", or through an appearing and disappearing Myspace page (currently two seem to be in existence, at /jayelect and at /jayelectronica). Erykah Badu has questioned whether he ever will release, in her words, "actual albums". From New Orleans, LA he has lived in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Denver, and Detroit, where he recorded his Style Wars-era music with several J Dilla beats, meeting the producer subsequently to ask for permission to use the recordings as a demo. Jay met producer/engineer Mike "Chav" Chavarria in Detroit, the latter introducing him to both J Dilla and Mr. Porter, and who is now a regular collaborator.
According to URB, Act II: Patents of Nobility will feature Nas, and will be the second of a putative trilogy. URB also reported that digital EPs with both Guilty Simpson and producer 9th Wonder were planned. According to a Filter TV interview, Jay Electronica has partnered with Decon to release his debut project. It is being described as a multi-media release and footage from the project which was partially shot in Nepal and Dubai has begun to surface online. The first clip to leak is titled "Dear Moleskine" and can be found on YouTube, the track was produced by Just Blaze and the clip was directed by Jason Goldwatch from Decon. In June 2009, Decon and Jay's "The Dogon Society" released "Exhibit A" digitally. "Exhibit C" was released on iTunes December 16, 2009 and quickly shot to the top 10 of the iTunes Hip-Hop charts. The following week it was chosen by Hot 97's Dj Enuff as the Heavy Hitter pick of the week.
Jay Electronica appeared at the 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. Jay Electronica continued his scattered release practice, releasing "A Million in the Morning" on April 4, 2010. The song features a weary Electronica trying to keep himself awake to escape his nightmares. On April 30, Jay Electronica debuted "The Ghost of Christopher Wallace" via his Twitter. The song features P Diddy and is produced by London beatsmith Quincey Tones, who is known for producing such acts as Young Jeezy and Royce da 5'9".
On November 12, 2010, Jay-Z announced that Jay Electronica was officially the newest member of his own 'Roc Nation' record label/management company, which boasts such acts as J. Cole, and Willow Smith. Before signing to Roc Nation in 2010, Jay Electronica was a prospective signee of Bad Boy Records, a label owned by producer/rapper/entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs.
In late 2010, he and Lucy Liu were featured on The Bullitts' track "Close Your Eyes". It was BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe's 'record of the week' and will feature on The Bullitts upcoming album set for release in 2011. Then in July 2011, he produced and was featured on the track "Run & Hide", which will be on the same album.
In July 2011, Jay Electronica posted via his Twitter that his debut album, Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn), was complete. On October 10, 2011, Jay Electronica released the song "Call of Duty" featuring Prodigy from Mobb Deep. He stated that this single would not be on his album. On March 8, 2012, Jay Electronica tweeted that the album is complete and will be turned in to Roc Nation 
Personal life 
Jay Electronica and Erykah Badu have one child together, Mars Merkaba Thedford, born on February 1, 2009. On June 2, 2012, it was revealed that Electronica had been having a "passionate" affair with Ben Goldsmith's music producer wife, Kate Rothschild, for a year. On discovering texts between Rothschild, with whom he has three children and had been with for eleven years, and Electronica, Goldsmith announced that he would be filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Electronica is a member of the Five Percent Nation.
Studio albums 
- Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn) (2013)
- Act III: The Last Will & Testament of Timothy Elpadaro Thedford (The Prestige) (TBA)
- Style Wars EP (unofficial)
- Act I: The Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) (2007)
As lead artist 
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Exhibit A (Transformations)"||2009||—||—||—||Non-album singles|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
As featured artist 
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
(Reflection Eternal featuring J. Cole, Mos Def and Jay Electronica)
|2010||—||—||—||Revolutions per Minute|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or receive certification.|
Guest appearances 
|"Cool, Relax"||2008||10.Deep Presents The New Deal||Kidz in the Hall|
|"Walking (J.Period Remix)"||2009||The Madness||J.Period & Nneka|
|"The Day"||2010||Pilot Talk||Curren$y, Mos Def|
|"Live It"||Heart of a Champion||Paul Wall, Raekwon, Yelawolf|
|"Prowler 2"||24 Hour Karate School||Ski Beatz, Jean Grae, Joell Ortiz, Original, Mos Def|
|"Higher"||N/A||Game, Swizz Beatz|
|"Atom Anthem"||2012||#Atom 12.12.12||D. Prosper|
|"Hail Mary"||So Magnolia||CETO|
|"Close Your Eyes"||2013||They Die By Dawn and Other Short Stories||The Bullitts, Lucy Lui|
|"They Die By Dawn"||The Bullitts, Lucy Lui, Yasiin Bey|
Production discography 
Nas - Untitled 
Self Scientific – Have Mercy 
- 00. "Mercy" (featuring Kobe) (produced with DJ Khalil)
- Jay Electronica Official website
- :::::::Magnetik7::::::: (come on in, the water's fine.) - Old official web site (2004-2005)
- Giles Peterson Worldwide (.mp3, 80MB) - Lengthy interview and music
- Jay Electronica video interview on redbullmusicacademy.com
- Just Blaze, Jay Electronica, & Mike "Chav" Chavarria - An Interview with Jay, Chav, & Just Blaze
- Exclaim! magazine interview with Jay Electronica-Exclaim!
- "Jay Electronica Co-Signs Soulja Boy 'It's Not About Lyrics, It's About Energy - HIPHOPNEWS24-7.COM". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Just Blaze Talks Hip-House, Says He's Not Working With Jay Electronica At The Moment Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales HipHop DX". 2012-05-03. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Burgess, Omar (2010-11-13). "Jay-Z Signs Jay Electronica To Roc Nation | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Jay Electronica MTV Interview".
- Jesse Serwer. "Jay Electronica: A Spotless Mind :: An MC’s mystery revealed", URB #152, January, 2008.
- "Prime Productions Posse: Just Blaze, Mike Chav, Jay Electronica", guitarcenter.com, October, 2008.
- Giles Peterson Worldwide
- Aliya Ewing. "Nas Big Ups Jay Electronica", hiphopdx.com. March 29, 2008.
- Jeff Weiss. "Jay Electronica: Much Better Than His Name Would Suggest", LA Weekly, April 4, 2008.
- Andres Tardio. "Nas Co-signs Jay Electronica", hiphopdx.com, May 19, 2008.
- "Video: Behind the Scenes w/ Jay Electronica in New Orleans". Nah Right. 2009-11-14. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Breakdown: Jay Electronica-A Million In The Morning". Planet Ill. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Jay Electronica Tha Hip Hop Interview".
- "Erykah Badu and Jay Electronica Welcome a Daughter" Celebrity Baby Blog, February 2, 2009
- "Rothschild heiress's marriage to Goldsmith heir is over ... after she falls for a rapper called Jay Electronica," by Katie Smith, Daily Mail, June 2, 2012
- Jay Electronica asks for help with his web site, magnetik7.com
- Jay Electronica again asks for help with his web site, magnetik7.com
- Jay Electronica posts on the SOHH message board about his web site, magnetik7.com