It took 40 days and 40 nights for Moses to receive the Ten Commandments and lead the people of Israel to salvation using God's word.

During those 40 days, "fear seized the Jews," according to the Torah, and they worried their prophet might not return. Back in February, enigmatic rapper Jay Electronica posted to his Twitter that his highly anticipated debut album, after 15 years of delays, would finally be coming "in 40 days." Fans called bullsh*t, but 35 days later, they awoke to A Written Testimony.

Jay Electronica's religious similarities between him and Moses are presented quite literally. "If it came from me and Hov, consider it the Quran," he boldly raps on "Ghost of Soulja Slim." Electronica doesn't want you to think of him as a rapper, but as an Oracle, who only communicates with his people when God communicates with him. The 43-year-old rapper, who has remained signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation despite never releasing a project, understood that if his album were to finally arrive, it would have to be a prophetic occurrence. 15 years is too long a wait to make an entrance, unless you carry yourself through the front door like Moses himself.

In actuality, only an artist like Jay Electronica could accomplish a feat of this magnitude, and he mostly does. H The instrumentals are beautiful, sprawling pieces of art, and from Jay-Z to Swizz Beats and The-Dream, Electronica made it clear that only his legendary disciples can eat at his table.

Electronica often speaks with the frank sincerity of a seasoned preacher. His devotion is not to Hip-Hop but to his faith. Rap is merely a vessel for his teachings, just as he is merely a vessel for the word of God. "If you want to be a master in life, you must submit to a master," he preaches on "The Neverending Story." "I was born to lock horns with the Devil at the brink of the hereafter."

Throughout A Written Testimony's sprawling 10 tracks, Electronica speaks vulnerably on his 15 year setback. His delayed introduction was not due to creative shortcomings, but rather his ego and the crippling magnanimous feeling he had as an artist towards other rappers ("Shiny Suit Theory"). Electronica views his art as a gateway into his soul and into the inner workings of his faith, and that level of perfectionism is a heavy burden to carry. He doesn't want to be just another rapper. "The price of sanity is too damn high," he says on "Ezekiel's Wheel."

It may be another 15 years until we hear from Jay Electronica again, but A Written Testimony clarifies in profound ways that he only speaks when he has something to say, and in the age of loud-mouth politicians and fake news, that is a significant power to have.


Jay Electronica - A Written Testimony (ALBUM) - YouTube www.youtube.com

Music Lists

Slept On: New Releases from UnoTheActivist, SahBabii, and More

SahBabii, UnoTheActivist and more make up this weeks under appreciated releases

Juice WRLD's posthumous release, Legends Never Die, has already sold over 400,000 copies, putting it in the running for the biggest release of 2020.

Meanwhile, Summer Walker confidently returns with a sleek new E.P., Kid Cudi and Marshall Mathers unite for the first time, James Blake quietly dropped a shadowy new track, and H.E.R. added a splash of reggae flavor to her new track "Do To Me." While it was a big week for the mainstream, it was equally as massive for the underground. Upcoming mumble emcee SahBabii's released an infectious collection of wavy, levitative hip-hop, and the iconic Fresh Veggies duo of Casey Veggies and Rockie Fresh return for their second outing. Check out the latest underground releases below.

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MUSIC

Call It a Comeback: New Music From All Your Nostalgic Favorites

Check out six of this week's returns, reissues, and reunion album announcements.

Harmony Gerber, Getty Images

Among the steady stream of new music that's come out so far in (*Arcade Fire voice*) the month of May, this week brought returns, reissues, and comebacks from some sorely missed artists.

Take a look at six of this week's releases from musical vets who have either returned after spending time out of the public eye, or are simply reinventing their sound.

1. Phantom Planet - "Balisong"

The LA-based indie rock band popularized for writing The OC's theme song are back with a new single, "Balisong," inspired by lead singer Alex Greenwald's obsession with a butterfly knife. This is the "California" group's first new music since their excellent 2008 album, Raise the Dead, the follow-up to 2004's underrated self-titled. Phantom Planet has a new album in the works, but haven't announced an official release date yet. It's safe to say that "Balisong" is a promising preview of what is shaping up to be a tremendous reunion record.

2. Tool - "Descending" and "Invisible" (Not Officially Released)

Tool debuted their first new music in over a decade during their headlining set at Welcome To Rockville. The prog rockers played two new songs, "Descending' and "Invisible," from their upcoming new album. They also officially confirmed the release date for the anticipated new LP, which we now know is due out August 30th, but they haven't disclosed any other details.

3. Blink 182 - "Blame it On My Youth"

The San Diego pop-punk veterans (minus Tom DeLonge, who is trying to prove once and for all that Aliens DO exist as well as releasing new music with Angels & Airwaves) are back with a slightly different sound in a new song called "Blame it On My Youth." This is the first glimpse at their forthcoming album, which is supposed to sound "a lot more aggressive," according to what Mark said in an interview with NME. The three-piece –– made up of Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba –– are set to go on tour with Lil Wayne this summer.

4. Silversun Pickups - "Freakazoid"

Last month, Silversun Pickups shared the first single, "It Doesn't Matter Why," off of their upcoming album, Widow's Weeds, the follow-up to 2014's Better Nature. This week, the "Lazy Eye" musicians are sharing another glimpse of the album with a slow-burning new track called "Freakazoid." The band's new LP will be released June 7 via New Machine Recordings.


5. Michael Stipe - "Your Capricious Soul" and "Drive to the Ocean" (Not Officially Released)

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe previewed new material while opening for Patti Smith. During the performance, he played three new tracks –– "Your Capricious Soul," "Drive to the Ocean," and an untitled track.

6. Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno - "Like I Was A Spectator"

Brian Eno announced that he will be reissuing and expanding the album he made with Daniel Lanois and his brother Roger Eno, "Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks," for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo II moon landing. This will include 11 new tracks, which will comprise a new album entitled For All Mankind. They promoted the new release with the video for one of the new tracks called "Like I Was A Spectator," which features rare NASA footage. The remastered edition (including the new album) is out July 19th.


Sara is a music and culture writer.


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