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The strange enigma of Jay Electronica

By Ewen Ramsbottom | 20 November 2015

When resolving to discover the true nature of an artist and what motivates their actions, there are few examples full of more apparent contradictions and paradoxes than the case of Jay Electronica. His very persona has an air of unexplained mystery about it, and those who have met him have talked of a magnetic aura that seems to draw in those around him.

 Born Timothy Thedford in New Orleans in 1976, official lore has it that he grew up in the city's Magnolia Projects, and that his early life was the ghetto struggle that is the case with the majority of rappers. He is said to have left the city at the age of 19 and taken up something of a nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place to pursue his craft before settling in Detroit, where he was introduced to producers J Dilla and Mr. Porter. He signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint in late 2010.

It wasn't his music that first propelled him into the domain of the mainstream media, however, but rather his high-profile relationship with London-based Kate Rothschild, heiress to the Rothschild banking dynasty. This wasn't the first time a black musician had embarked upon an affair with a Rothschild; as mentioned in an earlier chapter, jazz musician Thelonious Monk had been involved with a Rothschild baroness in the late 1950s. 'Nica', Monk's partner, was said to have been an obsessive jazz fan. Kate, meanwhile, was a music producer among her various activities, running her Round Table record label.

Electronica is a stated Five Per Center - a radical pro-black faction of the Nation Of Islam ideology -  and this would appear to be at odds with him dating a member of the family that is so often cited as the ultimate representation of the white Illuminati power structure. It seems wonderfully ironic that the Nation Of Islam's teachings are frequently described as 'anti-Semitic', when the Rothschilds refer to themselves as Jewish.

This unlikely union has drawn all manner of speculation from truth-seekers and hip-hop fans alike. Some have attested that, in striking up the relationship, Electronica had 'infiltrated the enemy', and was working to expose the workings of the elite bloodlines from the inside. The opposing view, however, is that at the moment he first found fame and fortune, he went the same way as every other artist does in terms of being owned and controlled by the corporate machine, and that the relationship is likely to be an arranged one in the way that all other high-profile celebrity couplings are. Could there be any significance to the lyric 'brunch with the Rothschilds, dinner with the Carters' on Jay's track 'Call Of Duty' in this regard?

Electronica's music has at times been particularly potent and touching, most notably on the stunning 'Better In Tune With The Infinite' where he includes lines such as 'the name on that birth certificate, that ain't the real me', and including an opening quote from long-time leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Mohammed. At other times, however, his lyrics have been more in-keeping with the general glut of mainstream rappers. There's also the apparent paradox of his appearing in promo shots with one eye covered, and his working relationship with the Grand Master of Illuminati Puppets, Jay-Z.

Writer Matt Sergiou delved right into the Electronica enigma on his Conspiro Media blog, which threw forward some further interesting revelations. Among them was the fact that Jay's background was not necessarily as had been generally assumed.

A UK Mail On Sunday article centred around the claims of a man named Virgil C. Tiller, who claims he grew up with the young Timothy Thedford. Tiller claimed that, although Electronica did indeed start out in the Magnolia Projects, when he was six, he and his mother moved to a two-bedroom flat in a Victorian house in an affluent district of New Orleans. Tiller also claimed that Thedford received an education at St. Augustines, a private Catholic boys' school which would have cost, at the time, the equivalent of £3,500 per year in school fees.

Matt went on to address another anomaly surrounding Electronica - the issue of his album, 'Act II: Patents Of Nobility' which, like Dr. Dre's mythological 'Detox', had been promised for years but was still showing no signs of release. A letter had appeared on-line from an individual giving his name as Carter Whitelow. As the initial announced release date for the album approached, Whitelow commented that it would never come out. The reason, he claimed, is because the lyrics and stories contained were actually based on a book of poetry that he, Whitelow, had written years before when he was in high school and entitled 'Act II: The Life And Times of Carter Whitelow'. He had credited the works to his alter-ego, Trademark Legacy, aka the Black Adam.

Electronica had plagiarised the content, he claimed, through a mutual, wealthy college acquaintance who had connections within the Def Jam/ Roc Nation empire. The unnamed friend, if Whitelow's story is true, had given the poetry manuscript to someone within Def Jam, who had held on to it, then seen an opportunity to use it as the basis of Electronica's debut album. Whitelow claims to have recognised his own lyrics when he heard Electronica's material on the radio, and threatened to sue. Little else has been heard in the music media to support Whitelow's claim, but then again, something has to account for the fact that Electronica's album has still not appeared, despite reportedly being completed in 2012, and shows no sign of doing so any time soon.

If Whitelow's story turns out to be true, it casts doubt on the authenticity of any of Electronica's lyrical content, just as the claims about his schooling and housing have to cast doubts upon the consistent claims of a ghetto upbringing. The net result is way more questions than answers when it comes to this most perplexing of artists.



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