It’s not every day — or even every month — that we get a new Jay Electronica verse. So when one comes, it’s sort of a big deal. Sons of Yusuf is an independent Kuwaiti-born, Los Angeles-raised rap duo. In 2018, they established Astrolabe Records with Mike Chav, dropping their most successful single, “One Time,” that same year.
The two were able to get Jay Electronica to come out of hiding for their new single. The song features the three MCs rapping over pulsating percussion, courtesy of Chav.
Jay Electronica has the third verse and he goes off. On the track, he raps:
We don’t fold, we don’t bend, we don’t break / ever since birth been at war with the state / so if I don’t make it to the pearly gates / I’ll be wringing Satan’s neck in the fiery lake.
In an email exchange, Sons of Yusaf explained how they got Jay Electronica on the song. They told us they established a relationship with Jay through their partner Mike Chav, who has worked with the rapper in the past.
“When he first heard our music through Chav he immediately believed in us,” Sons of Yusuf told us in an email. “We sent him a couple tracks and he liked ‘Diving For Pearls,’ which is about our early struggles leading to success. We’re blown away by how he connected his story to ours — from being in the Desert of Arabia to pearl diving in the Gulf of Kuwait, to being guided and freed from slave ships.”
“Diving for Pearls” will be featured on their debut album Shaykh The World, which drops on February 4, 2020. Their album features appearances from Jay Electronica, Talib Kweli, Shafiq Husayn, Cyhi The Prynce, and more.
Check out “Driving for Pearls” below.