With all of this against-all-odds hype building around the mighty, mystical Jay Electramadan, we figured now was as good a time as any to delve into the man’s scattered, brilliant catalog and give some extra special shine to one of his finest moments. It’s rarely brought up in discussions of the voodoo man’s greatest wonders on wax, but “Posers,” which is actually a feature verse for a track by The New Royals, is one of Jay’s poetic peaks. Every line is a highlight; every moment is the epitome of rap that’s both a healthy departure from the norm and one that goes down easy.
What becomes a layered and witty breakdown of the presence of falsehood in modern society begins simply: “Question, how does one go from chosen to posin’?” With that, we know the journey we’re embarking on, which makes leaping into metaphors like the next line, “Trapped in a box for years, like Han Solo frozen,” easier to follow and connect into the larger scheme. Jay never passes on the opportunity to attack corporations, especially ones known for imposing their values on society, so it makes sense that he goes after famous diamond company De Biers, but the fact that he flipped the oft-referenced third eye to include the way diamonds attract–“[they] keep your mental eyelids closed and your eyeballs bulgin'” is a cut above the rest.
Next, Jay ironically drops a jewel of his own, one that’s all-applicable enough to be a tattoo, a twitter bio, a mantra, anything: “Fear: it can kill a man, turn a real man to a realer man / or package you as a Bathing Ape wearing gorilla Stan.” Not only does the line work masterfully on its own as a breakdown of the three outcomes of fear (destruction, strengthening, paralysis) that is so spot-on it seems inherently obvious, but if you listen to the way Jay pauses after “Fear,” you can tell that this is meant as an answer to the original “Question.” How do you become a poser? Fear. Now, where does the fear come from?
Jealousy. “Don’t let the green grass across the picket fence / turn you into Mr. Smith without a purpose or a home / underneath he is a Jedi, on the surface he’s a clone,” Jay raps, as if extending a hand to his fallen, envious brother. It’s a piercing comparison, but one made with sympathy: he laments the lost potential in the man who became just another poser. The fact that this is the second Star Wars reference in the song is certainly deliberate, if only because Jay loves mysticism and prophecies, but it could mean even more than that. Yoda once said “Fear is the path to the dark side,” before listing a sequence of emotions not unlike the ones Jay’s put on display. Either Jay Electronica is such an evil genius/nerd that he intended for us to realize that similarity, or he missed out on another opportunity to reference Star Wars. Whatever the case, it’s curious.
We’ve noted before that Jay makes a lot of reference to crying in his rhymes, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this 16 is no exception. He describes the posing man crying “until he dries up all his tear ducts / and he cool with that, as long as he got a haircut and his gear up” showing how the very chase for “nice things” that paralyzed this man’s individuality offers a sort of numbing solace when he realizes what it is he’s lost. It’s a complete picture of a character who’s never named, perhaps because he exists in too many places, and a complete breakdown of a problem that persists in the human psyche; this verse would and will be just as relevant 20 years before and after it was written. Take a moment to bask in the timeless greatness of Jay Electronica.
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