Mos Def and Jay Absentia last appeared together on 2009’s Reflection Eternal reunion. The song was called “Just Begun” and it ostensibly highlighted the once nascent rise of Jay Electronica. Over three years later, he’s become a punchline of Detox proportion. Even Dre got an Executive Producer credit on Kendrick’s last record, which we all know was better than Detox was ever going to be. Jay’s latest headlines have been for seducing a Rothschild and going on sporadic Twitter rants that squeeze out his last bit of mystique like a tube of toothpaste you should’ve thrown out a while back.
That’s not to say that no one cares when Jay returns. I’m writing this post. It’s certainly nice to hear him spitting his pseudo-mystic post-backpack mythologies. The problem is that he’s a myth that no one believes in anymore. Rap, like relationships, is all about timing. If this was 2009 and we heard a Jay and whatever Mos is calling himself these days, rhyming over some Spaghetti Western Tarantino-core, we’d all be filled with hope and youthful enthusiasm. The Internet would shut down for ten minutes before returning to trying to solve the crime of who murdered Amanda Bynes vagina. It’s a slow news month.
Despite the gnawing agnosticism that will hang over Electronica until (if) he lives up to his promise, this is a good, if anti-climactic appearance. These two are capable of more, but I’m sure the Bullits check was big enough to cover up the disappointment that this sounds like an excised track from the Django Unchained soundtrack. On the plus side, it’s better than anything on the Posse soundtrack.