3. Because Monie Love Says So
Living up to the hype can be a daunting and at times crushing task for any musical artist. Indeed, it remains to be seen if Jay Electronica will be able to cope with the intense pressure of being hailed as the next underground savior. The history of hip-hop is littered with the bodies of would-be-contenders who struggled mightily to show-and-prove beyond the buzz (Remember Canibus?). However, rapper Monie Love, who faced similar lofty expectations before the release of her much-anticipated 1990 debut album Down To Earth, believes Electronica will be able to deliver on the hyperbolic raves.
“I know what it feels like to be a Jay Electronica…to be called the next best thing since sliced bread,” Monie says of her time under the intense glare of the hip-hop spotlight. Before the British rhymer and member of the influential rap collective the Native Tongues signed a recording deal in the United States, she was already being hailed as the female MC who would completely reshape the game following career-defining appearances on De La Soul’s “Buddy” and Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First.”
“Benny Medina (legendary former head of Warner Bros. Records’ urban music division and manager of such superstar clients as Jennifer Lopez and Sean “Diddy” Combs) went back to the U.S. like, ‘There’s this girl from the England…she’s really dope,’” recalls Monie, a former radio DJ at Philadelphia’s Power 99 who currently host the Sirius satellite show Ladies First.
“The record labels started to make their bids to get my U.S. and Canadian rights. Warner Bros won the bid, but what’s interesting is another heavy courting session started with me and Russell Simmons’ Rush Management, which was the monopoly management company at the time. They had everybody from LL Cool J and Public Enemy to A Tribe Called Quest! Russell used to send his boys to take me out to dinner and get me tickets to Showtime At The Apollo…all kinds of stuff just to get me to sign with his management company.”
Monie Love continues: “Jay Electronica reminds me of that time when I was grinding and free styling at every club that I could get into just to prove I was worth the buzz. “I had the opportunity to see him perform at Luxe Lounge in Philadelphia March of this year. My friend introduced us and we just started talking about music. That time with Jay gives me faith again that there’s someone who is able to capture the spirit of the culture I came up in. He seems to embody everything that epitomizes an MC. It was a very spiritual hip-hop night for me.”