Fashawn Says "When She Calls" Was Originally For Jay Electronica

Exclusive: Fashawn connects the dots between Joanna Newsom, Exile, Jay Electronica and BK-One on his musical tribute to a fallen friend.

As part of a long-term strategy to cultivate fans in new markets, Brother Ali and Fashawn found themselves performing in front of crowds as small as 200 during the “Breakin’ Dawn” tour. Needless to say, some of the stops were far from luxurious. During a stop at Nashville Tennessee’s Exit/In, their back stage quarters had a rider complete with peanut butter and jelly, Wonder bread, plastic cutlery, and a few scattered cases of water, beer and Red Bull. But those who did manage to catch the “Breakin’ Dawn” performances were privy to hearing Fashawn perform “When She Calls” live for the first time ever.

“It’s about my friend, man…it’s a real touchy subject,” Fashawn explains. Rhymesayers producer/deejay BK-One suggested adding the song to the tour’s set list. Despite never formally meeting each other, Fash and BK developed an onstage chemistry after rehearsing for a total of about three hours prior to the first “Breakin’ Dawn” date.

During a performance, which featured Fash stop a few times to regain his composure, he told the audience he usually avoids performing the track live, because it hits too close to home. Told in first-person narration, it tells the story of a friend who commits suicide after finding his girlfriend has cheated on him. Naturally, Fashawn had his doubts about how crowds who weren’t familiar with his work would receive the song.

“It’s a suicidal romance story, which isn’t the typical cookie-cutter type of rap shit,” Fashawn adds. “It’s about a lot of serious emotions that human beings go through. Sometimes emotions get that strong that you can’t handle them.”

As interesting and shocking as the story behind “When She Calls” is, Fashawn almost never recorded it. The track features a sample of folk artist Joanna Newsom’s “Cosmia.” The song avoided suffering the same fate as dozens of other unreleased works by Fashawn and Exile only after Newsom cleared the sample.

“‘Cosmia’ is one of my favorite songs,” said Fashawn who cites Wolfmother and other alternative artists as current favorites. Since Newsom counts herself as a fan of Jay-Z, Kanye West and The Roots, it’s not unconceivable that she and Fash may collaborate in the future. Stranger things have happened, considering the fact that the “When She Calls” beat was originally intended for another critically acclaimed emcee.

“That beat was actually supposed to go to Jay Electronica,” Fashawn said. “When Exile sent me the beat, the file said ‘Jay Electronica’ on it, so shouts out to Exile and Jay Elec.”

Fashawn’s debut album, Boy Meets World is currently available in stores and in digital formats.

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  • open ears / open mind

    Fashawn's album, like most of you have already stated, is one of the best that I've heard in a while. Never heard of him before DX's review of the album so I bought it (yes, bought, as in purchased, legally). Good look DX's for keeping some real hip hop shit relevant. for the Exile fans... which album do you like better, Fashawn's 'Boy Meets World' or Blu's 'Below the Heavens'. No disrespect to Fash, but I'll give the slight edge to Blu on that one. I think his wordplay is better than Fashawns, but both albums are stellar.

    • HarryLLord

      to me, fashawn has a better flow and has better lyrics than blu who sometimes can be lazy. exiles production is better on BMW BMW - 5/5 BTH 4/5

    • ASEE

      Both albums are incredible, but I think "Boy Meets World" shows Exile at a more mature phase in his career. The variety of vibes and styles of music on that album always amazes me. With respect to Blu versus Fash--I don't know, I think that I feel Fash's lyrics more, but Blu's flow is out of this world. Both amazing emcees; both amazing albums.

    • ASEE

      Both albums are incredible, but I think "Boy Meets World" shows Exile at a more mature phase in his career. The variety of vibes and styles of music on that album always amazes me.

  • DJJ

    Boy meets world is an incredible album from the intro to the last track. Feels so good to find some real hip hop!

  • Skrill

    I was at that show in Nashville, and it there were about 50 people there, and 3 blacks...including myself, lol. Shout out to Fash, Bk One, and Brother Ali for performing in towns where nobody knows you. They definitely gained some new fans that night and retained my utmost respect. Next...Jay Elec at Bonnaroo!!

  • williedebo

    Jay Electronica: Exhibit A, B & C - it's the Hip Hop Renaissance, yall: http://bit.ly/dfO89S

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  • mdave2001

    one of my favorite tracks off an amazing album. Support great music!

  • Georgia boy 247

    Fash is def one to watch. Hey young world and samsonite man are two of my favorite joints

  • Loni

    I was at the Toronto show where he performed When She Calls. Boys Meets World is from start to finish an amazing album and when it comes to delivering it live, Fashawn don't disappoint. Check the pics if you like: http://cupcakesandmixtapes.blogspot.com/2010/04/fashawn-boy-meets-toronto.html

  • akim

    fash is a dope mc. boy meet world is an amezing album

  • Harry The Hat

    Really interesting. I hope Jay Electronica still works with Exile, but Fashawn had one of the best albums of the last 5 years.

    • ASEE

      Yeah man. A Jay Elec collab with Exile would be amazing. Imagine he did an album full of Exile beats like "Boy Meets World" or "Below The Heavens" (w/ Blu).

  • nice...

    you know what i really want to know, i wanna know who's still waitin on that dre single. yall keep gettin played.

  • ASEE

    Joanna Newsom is the shit. "When She Calls" is one of the best tracks on the album for sure. I love the sample. It would be great to hear Jay Elec over this beat. LISTEN: anyone who hasn't at least heard "Boy Meets World" needs to cop it, download it, torrent it, whatever--that album is fucking amazing and is mad slept on by people who would definitely vibe to it.


      i went to youtube for a ear full homie cool just not what i like

    • ASEE

      "who?" as in Fashawn? A dope westcoast emcee who recently released his first album "Boy Meets World" which is entirely produced by Exile and it widely acclaimed. He gets compared a lot to early Nas and I think those comparisons are apt.

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