Mixtape Review | Jay Electronica – Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)

This mixtape was released on July 2nd in 2007. It is Jay Electronica’s ONLY official project to ever be released. Obviously people have been waiting for it’s sequel, Act II for a very long time. I don’t even know how to start this shit. I’ve never listened to this project, but I’m still a HUGE fan of Jay Electronica. Have I ever heard a full project from him? Well, since this is the only one, the answer is obviously no. However, he’s dropped s plethora of singles ever since this project came out, and two of them are classic songs. I’ll talk about them later tho… I really don’t know what to expect from this project. I just know it won’t be boring… I think every song is self produced.

Track 1: Intro (Performed by Just Blaze & Erykah Badu)

This intro is just Just Blaze & Erykah Badu talking about Jay Electronica. There’s not much to say about it. I like the production tho.

Track 2: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Apparently all of the production on this mixtape is taken directly from Jon Brion’s soundtrack for the movie Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. That’s cool I guess. Oh my God… Oh my GOD. This song is fucking incredible. When I heard that he was rapping without percussion, I wasn’t sure how it was gonna work, but this is… This is just mind blowing. First of all, this production from Jon Brion is amazing. Jay’s flow on this bitch is phenomenal too. I’ve only listened to the first four bars, but it’s just so fucking good. I’m so excited right now. I wasn’t sure whether or not I should listen to this mixtape or just skip it, but this is fucking incredible. “She say she never fell in love with a Superman / Christian, Muslim, Protestant, Lutheran / I told her that being a mortal is the portal to the true nature of growth / The Christlike Buddha man.” Oh my Gawd. HAHA. I just listened to the whole song. It’s fucking incredible. I’m so happy right now. I seriously haven’t enjoyed a song this much ever since I listened to To Pimp A Butterfly. This is fucking incredible tho. I know I keep saying that, but seriously… I don’t know what else to say. “Don’t get a nigga wrong / I get tempted by the rewards that all come along with making nigga songs / But what does it mean if I’m a Muslim and you a Jew / And because of that alone we don’t get along?” I really can’t describe how good this shit is. You know how the Wu-Tang Clan wanted Once Upon A Time In Shaolin to be looked at as art? THIS song is fucking art. This is amazing. I can’t believe it. You know that feeling you get when a song is so good that you’re uncomfortable? How is it even possible for me to enjoy something so much? “Dope af” feels like an understatement. This song is fucking unbelievable. I’ve never heard anything like this. This is absolutely phenomenal. 5/5

Track 3: …Because He Broke The Rules (Paper Thin)

This song starts with a very long sound clip of a scene from the original version of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Oh I probably should mention that I just listened to the song all the way through. I usually write my reviews as I’m hearing the music, but I just had to listen to this shit first. I didn’t wanna pause in the middle and have to rewind. Anyway, the production on this track is great. It didn’t hit me quite as hard as the beat—it doesn’t even feel right calling it a beat since there isn’t any percussion—from Eternal Sunshine since I kinda knew what to expect, but it’s still good. He fucking killed the verse. It sounds like he’s rapping about having his heart broken. I don’t even know which line to quote… I feel like Jay Electronica is the rapper Kanye wishes he was. This song was made by a genius. This song was made by a true artist. I love this shit. If any other artist made this, I would give it a 5. However, compared to Jay’s other work, there are just two small things about this track that hold it back for me. First of all, I’m not gonna wanna have to hear that long ass Willy Wonka sample every time I wanna listen to this song. Second, the production just didn’t grab me the way the first song did. I still think it’s good. Just not AS good. Jay killed this shit tho. The song is definitely dope. I fuck with this shit. 4/5

Track 4: Voodoo Man

I don’t know what language these kids are speaking in the sample at the beginning of this track. Okay, Jay’s goin’ in now. Oh my gawd. Again, Jay fuckin’ killed this shit. “Voodoo man / Civilize the savage / Criticize the parish / Spreading false doctrine / Terrorize the cleric for carrying on nonsense / Specialized lies to paralyze the conscience.” I don’t even know what else to say about this one. It’s another fantastic song. The production is fantastic, and Jay’s flow was on point. I love this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track 5: FYI

This is just another great song. I’m not shocked by how amazing it is like I was with the first track. I still think it’s great tho. I didn’t really mind the sample at the beginning of this track that much, or the one at the end. The production is fantastic, and Jay killed it. I don’t have much to say about it. I’ve noticed that I don’t really say as much when I don’t have any problems with a track. I’m gonna have to work on that… Anyway, this song is fantastic. I definitely fuck with this one. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track +1: Exhibit A (Transformations) [Prod. Just Blaze]

Exhibit A

This song was released in 2009. I couldn’t find the exact release date. It doesn’t really matter tho. This is one of the classic songs that I alluded to in the preamble of this review. The production is fucking incredible. Just Blaze put his ASS in this beat. Of course Jay ripped the verses in half. The samples in Act I got kind of annoying, but the way they’re implemented in this song is just perfect. I think that Willy Wonka sample is way doper than any hook they could’ve come up with. I fucking love this song. I listen to it all the time. It’s been out for 7 years. If you haven’t heard it yet, you fuckin’ up. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track +2: Exhibit C (Prod. Just Blaze)

Exhibit C

This song was released on December 22nd in 2009. It’s obviously another one of the classic songs that I was referring to in the preamble. I’m pretty sure this is considered to be one of the greatest Hip Hop songs of all time. The beat is just as incredible as that of Exhibit A. I seriously can’t decide which one I prefer. If someone put a gun up to my head and told me to choose which beat I prefer, I’d probably go with Exhibit A, but it’s not an easy decision. I’m pretty sure the general consensus is that Exhibit C is better than Exhibit A. I fucking love Exhibit A, but I’d have to agree… He killed Exhibit A, but this track is just on another level… “It’s quite amazing that you rhyme how you do / And that you shine like you grew up in a shrine in Peru.” He absolutely ripped this shit to shreds. This song is just bars on top of bars on top of bars. If anyone tells you that Jay Electronica can’t rap even after hearing this song, that person deserves a swift flick to his balls. This shit is dope af. 5/5

Track +3: The Announcement

This song was first premiered when JAY-Z announced that Jay Electronica was signed to Roc Nation on November 12th in 2010. It wasn’t officially released until November 15th that year. It starts off with this LONG ass excerpt from one of JFK’s most famous speeches. It’s the one where he talks about how they do shit “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Once it’s finally over, the way Jay Electronica’s verse starts is really weird. It’s really poorly edited. You just here a loud ass lion’s roar, and then before you have time to think about it, you realize that Jay Electronica is suddenly rapping. It’s weird as hell. Everything else about the song is great tho. I love the minimal production. It almost sounds like it could’ve been on Act I. Of course he killed his verse. The only problem I have with this song is the way it’s edited. If it weren’t for the JFK sample, the lion’s roar, and the abrupt way his verse starts, this would be dope af. I still like the song tho. It’s dope. 4/5

Track +4: Shiny Suit Theory Feat. JAY-Z & The Dream (Co-Prod. Jeymes Samuel)

This song was released on the same day as the previous track. I’ve actually never heard this one. It’s starting now. This beat is alright I guess. The sound quality sounds kinda… bad. I’m listening to it directly from Jay’s SoundCloud page tho, so this is the best version there is. The first verse was dope. That applause sound effect that keeps coming in is really fucking annoying. It’s way louder than the actual song. I guess this track just isn’t mixed properly. The hook is cool. Oh my God the fucking applause is so annoying. The sound quality is really bad. It’s really noticeable on JAY-Z’s verse. I’m not really that much of a JAY-Z fan, but his verse was actually dope. If nobody told me that The Dream was featured on this song, I would’ve thought that it was a girl singing that bridge. The poor sound quality makes it sound like one of them old school Classical songs from the 50s. I think the song is pretty dope, but the applause and the poor sound quality really make this hard for me to enjoy. The beat was pretty underwhelming too. It’s an okay song I guess. 3/5

Track +5: Call Of Duty (Modern Warfare 3) Feat. Mobb Deep

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This song was released on October 10th in 2011. Everyone says that this song features Mobb Deep, but Havoc doesn’t have any vocal presence in the song. Maybe he produced it… Anyway, the beat is pretty dope. The first verse was great. “Electronic / Niggas call my album ‘Detox‘ ’cause they know I’m finna bring the next chronic.” The hook from Prodigy is dope. Jay killed the second verse. The final verse from Prodigy was great too. I fuck with this song, but it’s nowhere near as impressive as a lot of Jay’s other shit to me. Nothing about it is bad, but nothing really blows me away either. I fuck with it tho. It’s a dope song. 4/5

Track +6: Man Up

This song was apparently recorded before The Pledge was even released, but it didn’t come out until July 22nd last year. It’s dope af. This is seriously one of my favorite Jay Electronica songs. The beat is phenomenal, and Jay’s verses are fantastic. His delivery actually kinda sounds like a slight Tupac bite. Kinda. Not really tho. This song actually has a hook, and it’s dope. It’s simple, but it works. I don’t usually like guitars, but this beat is fantastic. “These cats’ll split your wig in the name of beef / But when the cops come they’re runnin’ and tossin’ their heat / Is you a thug or a coward? / It’s time to rebel.” Jay killed this shit. I definitely fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track +7: Can I Kick It? (Holladay) [Prod. Rob Holladay]

This is an unreleased song that was leaked sometime in September last year. In terms of production, this is one of my favorite Jay Electronica songs, and that’s saying a lot. It sounds like Rob sampled the keys from Nas’ song Pussy Killz, which is great because that’s pretty much the only thing I like about that track. I love this song, but I wish Jay finished it. Instead of finishing his verse, he kinda just laughs and stops rapping. It’s weird. It’s still a listenable song tho. There’s enough here to enjoy. I just wish he kept going. “They saw my names on the forums and the blogs/ And they said ‘He’s a herb / He’s a lame / It’s an epic fail / FOH, SMH, nigga, LOL‘ / But what they don’t understand is according to statistics I’m supposed to be hangin’ from my neck in jail / Or on a slab in the mortuary freezin’ / With a blank stare on my face lettin’ off a wretched smell.” He killed this shit. I definitely fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5

Track +8: #TBE The Curse Of Mayweather

This song was released on February 15th this year. It’s a diss to Kendrick Lamar. I think he also sent some shots to 50 Cent too. I think people are really sleeping on this track. People are calling it trash just because he dissed their favorite rapper. I gave To Pimp A Butterfly a perfect fucking score, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a diss towards him if it’s dope. This song is fantastic. It’s kinda weird that he caught feelings over being overshadowed by Kendrick on Control, but I still love this song. I kinda wish Kendrick released a full diss in response to Jay instead of sneak dissing him on Untitled 7, but hopefully since Jay squashed it they’ll work together in the future. The beat is dope af. Jay killed every verse. He doesn’t really start dissing Kendrick like that until the second verse. “He’s got eleven Grammy nominations; y’all not equal‘ / Man, FUCK these white people / My grandma died at 82 scrubbin’ floors / And niggas still runnin’ ’round beggin’ for awards.” This song is dope af. The only problem I have with it is the fuckin’ kids in the background screaming. Was that really necessary, Jay? It’s annoying as motherFUCK. I fuck with the song tho. It’s dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

If you’re wondering why I’m not talking about Better In Tune With The Infinite or Road To Perdition, it’s because Jay released a tracklist to Act II a few years ago, and both of those songs were on it, so I’ll just review them when that album comes out… I mean… IF that album comes out. Anyway, lemme get back to my thoughts on the actual mixtape. It’s incredible. It’s not the best project I’ve ever heard. It’s not perfect. It’s amazing tho. I was really skeptical and nervous when I heard that he was rapping over a movie soundtrack with no percussion, but it came out in the best possible way. I feel like this mixtape belongs in a museum. This music could change the opinions of snobbish old white people who think Hip Hop is “nigger music.” This mixtape is truly a work of art. Wow, that sounded really douchy. You know what I mean tho. If you haven’t heard this yet, you’re seriously missing out. I understand tho; there’s a reason I waited so long to hear this shit. I was afraid that it would make the wait for Act II even more difficult, and it has. It’s bittersweet. It was kinda worth it tho. I’ve never heard anything like this. It’s dope af. If you’re into trendy, mainstream shit that you can dance to, you won’t like this. You probably shouldn’t even be on my website if you only like shit that you can dance to tho. Anyway, I definitely fuck with this mixtape. Honestly, if Jay Electronica had an album he would probably be my favorite rapper…

Favorite Song: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Least Favorite Song: …Because He Broke The Rules

Verdict:

95%

VERY HOTTTTT

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