The Blinding (song)

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"The Blinding"
Song by Jay Electronica featuring Travis Scott
from the album A Written Testimony
Length2:49
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"The Blinding" (Arabic: التعمية) is a song by American rapper Jay Electronica from his debut studio album A Written Testimony (2020). The song features guest appearances from American rapper Travis Scott and uncredited vocals from American rapper Jay-Z. The song was produced by Swizz Beatz and Hit-Boy, with co-production from AraabMuzik and G. Ry. Canadian singer PartyNextDoor is credited as a songwriter on the song. "The Blinding" peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100.

Background[edit]

Robert Blair of HotNewHipHop praised Travis Scott's (pictured) hook, but wrote that his guest appearance seemed like "a cynical attempt to attract younger listeners".

In July 2007, Jay Electronica released his debut mixtape Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge).[1] The mixtape has been described as his breakout project.[2] Soon after, Jay Electronica announced his next project as Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn); the album would go on to face years of delays and has never been released.[3] In 2010, Jay Electronica met American rapper Jay-Z by chance at a birthday celebration for Atlantic Records COO Julie Greenwald at The Spotted Pig.[4] The meeting was followed by "weeks of intense daily communication and creative courtship" related to Jay-Z wanting to sign Jay Electronica to his record label Roc Nation.[5] This led to their first collaboration, "Shiny Suit Theory", and on November 12, 2010, Jay Electronica officially announced that he had signed to Roc Nation.[5][3] American rapper Travis Scott released his debut mixtape Owl Pharaoh in 2013.[6]

In 2017, a video from the NBA All-Star Game showed Jay-Z pleading to Jay Electronica to release an album.[3] In December 2018, Jay-Z was in contact with Scott in an attempt to convince him not to perform at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show.[7] On February 6, 2020, after nearly thirteen years of delays, Jay Electronica announced that he completed his debut album A Written Testimony.[3][8] Jay Electronica recorded the album in "40 days and 40 nights", beginning on December 26, 2019.[8] On March 12, 2020, Apple Music revealed the track listing for A Written Testimony through Twitter. The track listing, written in the Arabic language, included ten tracks with guest appearances from Scott on "The Blinding" and The-Dream on "Ezekiel's Wheel" and the previously released "Shiny Suit Theory".[9] Mitch Findlay of HotNewHipHop noted that "some were suspicious upon seeing Travis Scott as one of the lone features" on the album.[10] Scott also provides vocals on the sixth track "Universal Soldier", along with James Blake.[11] Jay-Z appears uncredited on eight out of ten tracks.[12]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

The production of "The Blinding" is split into two parts; the song begins with "a classically lumbering beat from Swizz Beatz" and AraabMuzik before abruptly switching to the second part produced by Hit-Boy and G. Ry.[13][14] Scott sings the song's hook with Auto-Tune.[15] Jay Electronica enunciates each syllable in his verses.[14] Jay Electronica makes a tongue-in-cheek allusion to his deliberate tardiness; he speaks about his anxiety in releasing his debut album, which took nearly thirteen years to release.[3][10][16] Jay Electronica also raps about his record label boss Jay-Z pressuring him to release the album.[16][17] Jay Electronica and Jay-Z go back-and-forth trading verses with one another, but with spacing between each verse.[10][18]

Critical reception[edit]

Mitch Findley of HotNewHipHop rated the song as "Very Hottttt" and compared Jay Electronica and Jay-Z's back-and-forth delivery to the latter's collaborative album with American rapper Kanye West, Watch the Throne (2011).[10] Findlay described "The Blinding" as one of the "most immediate and sonically intriguing cuts" from A Written Testimony, but noted that Scott's feature sounded more like a vocal sample.[10] Robert Blair, also writing for HotNewHipHop, wrote that the trading of verses allowed Jay-Z to prove that he was still worthy of his early career legacy and that Jay Electronica is a "worthy sparring partner".[13] Blair wrote that though Scott's feature seemed like "a cynical attempt to attract younger listeners", his hook added "to the overall effect rather than sounding like a marketing-oriented compromise".[13] Brody Kenny of HipHopDX noted that the spacing out of verses between Jay Electronica and Jay-Z let "their words really sink in".[18]

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from Tidal.[11]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100[19] 9

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sweeney Kovar (October 10, 2013). "REVISITING… JAY ELECTRONICA'S 'ACT I: THE PLEDGE'". The Boombox. Archived from the original on January 29, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend". The New York Times. July 25, 2019. Archived from the original on January 29, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Robert Blair (February 15, 2020). "A Written Testimony: The Road To Jay Electronica's Debut Album". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on February 15, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  4. ^ YN (December 17, 2010). "Respect. Jay Electronica Story". Rap Radar. Archived from the original on March 18, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Exclusive: Jay-Z announces "A new wizard in the game…Jay Electronica is officially Roc Nation!"". Missinfo.tv. November 12, 2010. Archived from the original on January 21, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Tom Breihan (July 24, 2013). "Mixtape Of The Week: Travi$ Scott Owl Pharaoh". Stereogum. Archived from the original on February 4, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  7. ^ Randall Colburn (December 20, 2018). "JAY-Z trying to convince Travis Scott not to perform at the Super Bowl: Report". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on February 3, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Evan Minsker (February 7, 2020). "Jay Electronica Says His New Album Is Out in 40 Days". Archived from the original on February 7, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  9. ^ Tara C. Mahadevan (March 12, 2020). "Jay Electronica Shares Tracklist for Upcoming Debut Album 'A Written Testimony'". Complex. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e Mitch Findlay (March 13, 2020). "Jay Electronica & Jay-Z Go Back And Forth On "The Blinding"". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Credits / A Written Testimony / J A Y E L E C T R O N I C A". Tidal. Archived from the original on March 18, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  12. ^ Andrew Barker (March 18, 2020). "Jay Electronica's 'A Written Testimony': Album Review". Variety. Archived from the original on March 22, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Robert Blair (March 19, 2020). "Jay Electronica "A Written Testimony" Album Review". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Sheldon Pearce (March 17, 2020). "Jay Electronica: A Written Testimony Album Review". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  15. ^ Fred Thomas. "A Written Testimony - Jay Electronica". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Rashad Grove (March 17, 2020). "Jay Electronica Finally Delivers on A Written Testimony". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Marcus J. Moore (March 15, 2020). "Jay Electronica's A Written Testimony is a righteous step forward: Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 17, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  18. ^ a b Brody Kenny (March 23, 2020). "Review: Jay Electronica Basks In JAY-Z's Shadow On Debut Album 'A Written Testimony'". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  19. ^ "Jay Electronica Chart History: Bubbling Under Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.