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Jay Electronica

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Jay Electronica
Jay Electronica performing in 2014
Jay Electronica performing in 2014
Background information
Birth nameTimothy Elpadaro Thedford[1]
Also known asJe'Ri
Born (1976-09-19) September 19, 1976 (age 47)[2]
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Rapper
  • record producer
  • songwriter
Years active2000–present
Formerly ofThe Bullitts

Elpadaro F. Electronica Allah[3][4] (born Timothy Elpadaro Thedford; September 19, 1976), known professionally as Jay Electronica (stylized as J A Y E L E C T R O N I C A), is an American rapper and record producer. Born and raised in New Orleans, he first saw recognition with release of his mixtape, Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) (2007). Its success, along with his standalone single "Exhibit C", led New York rapper Jay-Z to sign Electronica to his record label, Roc Nation by 2010 following a multi-label bidding war. His debut studio album, A Written Testimony (2020) was met with critical acclaim and entered the Billboard 200 at number 12; it was followed by his second album, Act II: The Patents of Nobility (The Turn) (2020) in October of that same year. His guest performance on Kanye West's 2021 song "Jesus Lord" marked his first entry on the Billboard Hot 100.[5]


Jay Electronica performing in 2010

In 2007, Jay Electronica released his first mixtape, Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), via Myspace. It was downloaded over 50,000 times.[6] That success and his catalog led to Electronica joining the Rock the Bells Tour in 2008.[7]

Later that year, producer Just Blaze and Jay Electronica selected songs for Guitar Center's GAIN project, Fresh Cuts Vol. 3 and included a (previously unnamed) song which Just Blaze named "Exhibit A (Transformations)."[8]

Just Blaze would later (October 27, 2009) debut "Exhibit C" on Tony Touch's Sirius Radio program,[9] where it quickly caught on, making its way to terrestrial radio stations like New York's Hot 97 and spawning artist remixes from MCs AZ, N.O.R.E, Saigon, Joell Ortiz and others.

A bidding war ensued with Jay finally signing (November 12, 2010) with Roc Nation. Though fans and critics anticipated a full-length debut, Electronica's output in the subsequent decade consisted of several collaborations and non-album solo songs.[10]

On February 7, 2020, Jay Electronica announced via Twitter[11] the completion of his album, A Written Testimony, which was recorded over a 40-day period. It was released on March 13, 2020.[12]

On October 5, 2020, Jay Electronica announced via Twitter[13] that his previously unreleased album, Act II: The Patents of Nobility (The Turn), was available for streaming on Tidal after the album had surfaced online two days prior.

In August 2021, Jay Electronica guest featured on the song "Jesus Lord" released on Kanye West's album Donda.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Jay Electronica and Erykah Badu were in a relationship for five years and have a daughter together, Mars Merkaba Thedford, who was born in 2009.[15]

Jay Electronica had an affair with Kate Emma Rothschild, the wife of Benjamin Goldsmith, resulting in the breakdown of Goldsmith's marriage.[16]

Jay Electronica is a registered member of the Nation of Islam[17] and follower of Louis Farrakhan, whose sermons he sampled on A Written Testimony. The track "Ghost of Soulja Slim" from the album includes a reference to the "Synagogue of Satan", a phrase pulled from Revelation 2:9 often considered as an antisemitic slur. As a result, Electronica has been accused of antisemitism.[18] His verse on Noname's song "Balloons" also features numerous antisemitic dog whistles, including the Rothschild conspiracy theory.[19]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Jay Electronica
Organization Year Category Nominated work Result
Grammy Awards[20] 2021 Best Rap Album A Written Testimony Nominated


  1. ^ Bassil, Ryan (October 23, 2013). "The Prestige, The Five Percenters, and Why Jay Electronica Hasn't Released His Debut Album". Vice. Retrieved April 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jay Electronica Co-Signs Soulja Boy 'It's Not About Lyrics, It's About Energy – HIPHOPNEWS24-7.COM". YouTube. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  3. ^ "Credits / A Written Testimony / J A Y E L E C T R O N I C A". Tidal. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Anon. (2020). A Written Testimony (CD booklet). Jay Electronica. Roc Nation. 51602.
  5. ^ "Jay Electronica Alleges He Inspired Kanye West's "Bound 2" Production". Complex Networks.
  6. ^ Sweeney Kovar (October 10, 2013). "REVISITING… JAY ELECTRONICA'S 'ACT I: THE PLEDGE'". The Boombox. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Pharcyde Lead Rock the Bells 2008". Rolling Stone. April 22, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "Guitar Center Helps Employees Release Their Music with Fresh Cuts Vol. 3 Compilation CD". Guitar Player. Retrieved March 12, 2020.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Just Blaze debuts Jay Electronica's "Exhibit C" and more on Toca Tuesday (Updated w/ lyrics)". Miss Info. Archived from the original on December 3, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Thompson, Paul (March 13, 2020). "Your Guide to the Extended Mythology of Jay Electronica, Rap's Great Mystery". Vulture. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  11. ^ "Album Done ". Twitter. J A Y E L E C T R O N I C A @JayElectronica. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  12. ^ Klinkenberg, Brendan (March 13, 2020). "Jay Electronica's Debut Album Is Real, and It's Finally Here". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  13. ^ @jayelectronica (October 5, 2020). "tidal.com/album/157489152" (Tweet). Retrieved October 9, 2020 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Caraan, Sophie (August 29, 2021). "Full List of Producers and Guest Artists on Kanye West's 'DONDA'". HypeBeast. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Fiyin, Olowokandi (February 10, 2020). "Meet Mars Merkaba, Erykah Badu's Younger Daughter Who Just Turned 11 in Beautiful Pics". news.amomama.com. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  16. ^ Beckford, Martin (June 22, 2012). "Jay Electronica: I'll 'come see' you, threatens Ben Goldsmith's rap star love rival". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  17. ^ "Farrakhan Predicts Another Holocaust, Espouses Antisemitism and Bigotry in Saviours' Day Speech | ADL". www.adl.org.
  18. ^ Rosenberg, Yair (October 27, 2022). "Kanye West Destroys Himself". The Atlantic.
  19. ^ Cunningham, Kyndall (August 14, 2023). "Noname Refuses to Apologize for Jay Electronica's Antisemitic Verse on Her Album". The Daily Beast. Retrieved August 26, 2023.
  20. ^ "2020 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List". Grammy.com. November 24, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.

External links[edit]