Jay Z and Jay Electronica Take on Drake’s “We Made It”

Slate's Culture Blog
March 24 2014 2:22 PM

Jay Z and Jay Electronica Take on Drake’s “We Made It”

Jay Z responds to Drake's "art references" criticism on "We Made It."

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Though it might appear to those excluded from Jay Z’s inner circle that, in his spare time, the entrepreneur spends all his days sipping D’USSE with Beyoncé, performing at Samsung-sponsored SXSW showcases alongside Kanye West, and chasing down sports giants to add to his clientele, he apparently still keeps abreast of pop-culture news. So when last month Drake offered a snide critique of Jay Z’s lyrical subject matter, telling Rolling Stone, “It’s like Hov can’t drop bars these days without at least four art references! I would love to collect at some point, but I think the whole rap/art world thing is getting kind of corny,” Jay Z noticed.

Delivering arguably his best verse in years over Drake and Soulja Boy’s “We Made It,” Jay Z responds to Drake in a new freestyle uploaded Sunday featuring Roc Nation’s most elusive signee Jay Electronica. “Sorry Mr. Drizzy for so much art talk/ Silly me rappin’ ’bout shit that I really bought,” Jay Z mocks the Toronto rapper, referencing the wealth—an estimated $43 million earned in 2013 alone—that afforded him his prestigious art collection. Keeping the boastful momentum up, Jay Z draws parallels between Lupita Nygon’o’s Oscar and his rags-to-riches story, saying, “I’m on my Lupita Nyong’o/ Stuntin’ on stage, got the 12 Years A Slave/ This Ace of Spades look like an Oscar.”


While Jay Z’s the obvious headliner of “We Made It,” Jay Electronica matches his mentor with an intricate verse that ties together Islam (“Lost sons of Muhammad, we wildin’ in the wreckage/ Asha du illah illaha is the message”), slavery, and ancient Egypt (“Face all on the Sphinx/ Story all in the wall of the pyramids”) through an Afrocentric historical lens. “We Made It” comes just a week after Electronica released “Better in Tune With the Infinite,” his first new music since last year’s “Control” with Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar. As Electronica begins to up his output, the odds on the long-awaited sequel to his debut mixtape Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) look better than ever.

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 1:29 PM Want to Know What Makes David Fincher Great? Focus on What He Doesn’t Do.
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 1:22 PM If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would You Notice? What cyranoid experiments reveal about how people act.  
  Health & Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?