Jay Electronica Tried to Hide His Southern Upbringing
Jay Electronica has the sort of sprawling roots that legendary MCs are made of, but he mostly reps his home base in New Orleans nowadays. In a recent interview with MTV News, he explained how he used to hide these southern roots because he perceived that other regions of America think of slowness and a distinct lack of intelligence coming from that part of the country.
“I have to admit, you know, a few years ago, I wouldn’t have admitted this — or maybe I wouldn’t have been conscious of it in a way to admit or be embarrassed — but in my earlier years from when I first left home, I was embarrassed from being from the South,” he said in the interview. “Not in general, but as a rapper because all of the negative things that people in the States put on the South. Like, ‘The South, they’re slow. They move slow, they think slow, they’re less intelligent. They’re less exposed, they’re underexposed, they’re more sheltered.’”
Now, with some solid critical success under his belt, Jay Elec is showing the south is more than just epic beats and punchlines. That doesn’t mean people aren’t still judging hip-hop artists from the South. While they certainly owned the last decade — Lil Wayne is also a New Orleans native, while T.I and Ludacris are two major emcees that hail from Atlanta — the music industry resides in New York and Los Angeles and keeps its classic prejudices intact unless you prove you can sell.
“So as a rapper — I’ve been rapping since I was 10 years old — I always had a feeling of ‘I’m gonna show you’ because we down here doing it,’” Electronica continued. “Not that I was embarrassed necessarily — I don’t know if that’s the correct word — but I know that when I left home, if someone had heard my accent and heard where I was from, the door was immediately closed.”