5. He’s Not On Bad Boy
It was the kind of cryptic display that one would rarely associate with the hit making, Sean John-pushing, Ciroc-peddling uber entertainment mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs. But there he was on Twitter expressing his frustration over Jay Electronica’s surprising pairing with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. “Damn it hurts in a whole other way when someone you felt and I mean really felt was your Friend, Betrays you,” Diddy tweeted on November 15. For the influential music vet, the move was an apparent shock to Diddy after he reportedly took the underground savior under his wing and recorded the track “The Ghost Of Christopher Wallace” with Electronica, prompting many to speculate a possible move to Bad Boy was in the making.
While the public shot was later clarified by Diddy (“Jay Electronica…I’m proud of you! I'm happy for you. I love you! I congratulate you…I'm not mad at you! All I wanna do is see you win! All love."), a fierce debate was ignited. Was Jay Electronica better off with team Jigga or team Diddy?
“I think Jay-Z recently has had more prestige at this point,” says Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal. “Diddy’s Janelle Monae Bad Boy signing last year and even to a certain degree his [managing] of Rick Ross—those artists are more artistic than a lot of what he has done this decade. It seems like that’s where Diddy’s head is at this moment, so I don’t think it would have been a terrible look for [Electronica]. But at the same time, Jay-Z never had a period where he lost credibility, especially when you look at the past artists he signed while he was at Def Jam from Rihanna to Jeezy.”
Billboard’s Mariel Concepcion agrees, adding that while Diddy’s own star-making pedigree should never be questioned (After all, the Harlem-born music visionary is responsible for the careers of such multi-platinum superstar acts as Notorious BIG, Mase, and Faith Evans, selling over 75 million records during his Bad Boy reign), he may have some issues with sharing the spotlight.
“If you are a new artist looking to sign with a label it’s important to have a crew that is going to back you up,” explains Concepcion. “That’s not to say that Electronica would not have exceeded with Diddy. But Diddy is now trying to put out his own music with Dirty Money. He’s doing him right now. So I think Jay Electronica needs someone that’s going to focus on his music and his career and I believe Jay-Z has that team already in place.”