Fri 14 May 2010
In an interview that Jay Electronica did with Spine (see below), Jay revisited his opinion that the New York hip hop scene has often underestimated and snubbed Southern lyricists, while “biting our slang.” More specifically, he singled out a 2007 Urb Magazine interview in which RZA said: “How has the South dominated hip-hop for the last four, five years without lyrics, without hip-hop culture really in their blood?…”
That sparked debate with fans, as well as a strong reaction from Hot97’s DJ Kay Slay on Thursday. (via twitter: “This jay electronica dude gettin real disrespectful towards Newyork niggas these days.. if he hates us so f—n’ much why does he rap like us.”)
Later that night, Jay responded on Angela Yee’s Lip Service show. (“Is what I’m saying true or false?….I’m on a mission from almighty God. So I don’t owe none of y’all no explanation.”)
And right after that, Kay Slay responded to the response to a response to a reaction to a comment…on his Hot97 Drama Hour show.
Note: this is a conversation that happens in every group of hip hop fans, it’s joked about in private at every record label, grumbled about at every radio mixers meeting, and divides the know-it-all’s in every blog comment section. But the most common misconception is that the debate is about North and South. Those words are just catch-alls. Like the way “urban” was/is. But when painting with too wide a brush there is misdirected splatter. Do you think RZA was talking about Andre 3000? Or was he thinking about Dem Franchise Boyz? Does Jay Electronica think all New York hip hop fans don’t respect T.I. or Bun B? Does Kay Slay like every Southern song that’s hot in the clubs? Probably not. When someone makes a generalization, I save myself the stress by taking it with a grain of salt.
Listen to Jay Electronica’s comments, DJ Kay Slay’s comments, and watch the Spine interview that sparked it, and more…after the jump…
Jay Electronica on Lip Service: “Mr Kay Slay I got love for you, I got respect for you as an elder and a brother but if you got an issues with me, hit me up, or ask me, don’t just fire off shots on twitter, I’m a grown man….check me on the facts, is what I’m saying true or false? If I’m saying New York n—s was calling southern rappers lame and then jacking our slang, is it true or false? If Im saying there’s there’s n—s in the south that could burn n—s up here alive, is it true or false?….I’m on a mission from almighty God. So I dont owe it to none of y’all no explanation…I got love for New York. People got issue with the shit that I said about RZA in the interview. In “the Ghost of Christopher Wallace,” I say, “the game ain’t been the same since BIG died, and Wu swarmed on New York from out that beehive.” I could quote you all the RZA lyrics from those days….I’m sick and tired and fed up of having to explain myself. Stop being sensitive. Grow some f– nuts and be a man. I’m not gonna get on interviews, I’m not gonna kowtow and be shuckin’ and jiving, and if you don’t like it, then take me up on it and I’ll address it with you…”
AUDIO: DJ Kay Slay’s Drama Hour on Hot97
DJ Kay Slay: “So I got an opinion, I wasn’t really feeling the way he was talking….he got real angry and aggressive…Imma state the facts, homie. This is New York City, right? And this is my stomping grounds…Dog, since you came in the game the first line you said in your song was New York cats were sayin this about us before and I could bring these 5 artists that can’t nobody up North do nothing with. Whatever happened in the past happened, and the South is eating now and you got on, why you keep bringing up old foolishness and keep throwing New York [in it]. You’re naming TI, no artist can deal with him, Ludacris, Bun B, 8Ball and MJG….I’m takin it offensive [sic], because when Ludacris first came around before his album came out, he came to MY crib to freestyle. T.I., he came to my crib to freestyle, I deejayed for him on BET, his first time around. 8-Ball, first time he came to NY, I took him through Harlem. So you using people that’s doin’ their thing, like nobody in NY supported the South, like everybody was dogging them. That never was the case, yo. Back in 2003-2004, my second album first single was with 36 Mafia, in a video. So whoever you angry at, you need to direct that towards them. But you keep saying New York and you don’t owe any explanation. Yo, pa, if I go in the South, the Midwest, or the West Coast talking crazy, and somebody asked me, ‘Yo what you meant by that?’ Yeah, I do owe them explanation. In New York, you do owe explanation, cuz this is our stomping ground. You a guest here….you pay respect here, dog. You can’t stomp through New York kicking over no buildings like we soft, ain’t nobody soft….I got respect for you as an artist, we need lyricists…but the way you was talking, I seen your aggression. Yo, son, I’m aggressive too. And I got ‘knowledge of self’ too….so lets keep things real hip hop and real nice….my whole thing is, you had opinion, and I had opinion, I wanted to know why you said that… I can name 5 rappers from the street, Cory Gunz, Joell Ortiz, Serius Jones, Papoose, Jadakiss, don’t be naming people like I can’t put cats on a stage with a clock and shut things down….I spoke my peace, bloggers y’all have y’all fun…this is hip hop, I ain’t sending no messenger, I aint wish him no harm…” [missinfo note: clearly, at around 3am, I was just sleep-transcribing like a madperson. smh]
Jay Electronica on SpineTV: “[New York] really s–t on Southern rappers, we got dudes out here who will burn these n— completely to ashes, me being one of them…Bun B will eat these dudes alive. Devin Dude, Dre 3000, DOC is from Dallas, 8Ball and MJG, T.I., who’s seeing T.I.? Who’s seeing Ludacris?…so I still got crumbs on my shoulder, had a chip on my shoulder but now it’s just crumbs…please forgive me anybody if you were offended, if you in New York, but if the truth hurts, ya’ll shouldn’t been saying all that dumb s–t…Particularly, RZA, I love RZA and the WuTang but he said some real ridiculously stupid thing about the South….something to the effect of, the lyricism and the quality of music, which is fine… But when you start talking about intelligence levels, which is very disrespectful, like you country, you slow, you unintelligent. But if all these buildings fall down today, you gonna have to eat tomatoes that this man grew…you the one that really don’t know nothing….Peace on RZA and he had a great effect on me….but RZA you said some crazy wild s–t…so I put it in a record, called “I Feel Good.” “We taught you how to build a label while you was whining bout the points on your contract, black.”…[missinfo note: see above missinfo note]
2007 RZA quote in Urb Magazine that Jay was referring to:
“How has the South dominated hip-hop for the last four, five years without lyrics, without hip-hop culture really in their blood? Those brothers came out representing more of a stereotype of how black people are, and I think the media would rather see us as ignorant, crazy motherfuckers than seeing us as intelligent young men trying to rise and take care of ourselves.”
Note: Clearly, there is mutual respect all around here. So this will probably get smoothed over by saying it was really just a “vocabulary rap” vs. “traptivity rap” debate. But you know I’ve always been against that debate too. High art, low art, alternative, mass, mental, physical, backpack, club….the generalizations obscure the basic question: is it good at what it’s supposed to do?