Calm Down Those Expectations: Fabolous and Jadakiss Delivers

In reading the many reviews that are slowly trickling in on the internet, I see a lot of wishy-washy commentary about Fabolous and Jadakiss new collaborative LP.

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For example, from one music site Soul in Stereo, the author of the article prematurely sums up the album hinting that expectations were sorely unmet. A reader could infer that the writer is being a bit too sensitive and/or greedy dissatisfied with just a rap album:

The album opener “F & J Intro” shows a ton of promise. The A Nightmare On Elm Street theme is blended with EPMD’s “You’re a Customer” to provide a chilling backdrop for Fab and Jada to wreak havoc. But besides that one track the horror movie motif is largely ignored (outside of Jada randomly chanting “kill kill kill” like a Jason Voorhees flick every so often). Disappointingly, Friday on Elm Street quickly descends into typical 2017 rap territory, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t highlights.

And this sort of review journalism has been consistent among the professional opinions regarding the veteran MC’s latest offering. HipHop DX went as far as scoring it a paltry “3.2” ultimately for the very reason written by the above author.

I don’t know if these professional, self-permitted music critics (hey I fall in this category to thanks to the internet) wanted a Late Registration magnum opus with Bon Iver musical composition woven in and around hip-hop lyrics.

Personally, as a fan of Fabolous and Jadakiss, I went into this project with only one expectation: barz. Not bars, but barz. Fortunately I wasn’t disappointed. “Dope beats, dope rhymes, what more do you want?” once rapped Phonte on Little Brother’s The Minstrel Show. Unfortunately for many cake eaters, this is not enough.

I understand their collaboration gas’d some fans up leaving many to believe the music would be shaped in a horror movie mold. I get it. But, my question to the many self-recognized critics is this: is it possible that the album is not about horror or Freddie or Jason at all? And I know your response: “Well if it’s not that, then why even name the album ‘Friday on Elm Street’? They could have named it something else.”

While it’s a valid rebuttal, my interpretation was just different. Immediately when I saw the idea of Fabolous and Jadakiss assuming the identity of Freddie and Jason, I took the borrowed personas as JUST a metaphor, and nothing more. It’s also very easy to think that Fabolous and Jadakiss assumes their respective roles off of first initials alone. Yeah we won’t go there.

For what it’s worth, the dynamic duo live up to “killing it” as all types of figurative language, dual references, and vocabulary is murdered on the listeners eardrum. My brains lights up like a Christmas tree listening to “F vs J Intro,” “Theme Music,” “Soul Food,” and “I Pray.” The hate Swizz Beatz receives is a travesty as I find his features to be catchy adding a charismatic dynamic to certain tracks. (“So Appalled,” from Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and “Summer on Smash” off Nas’ Life is Good? What?!) I’ll write an article on that at another time.

Marketing them donning the iconic stripes and gloves and signature Voorhees’ hockey mask was gimmicky, but served it’s purpose to let the fans know: “Don’t sleep or you might trip over a bar running through the album.”

DeShaun Johnson

DeShaun Johnson puts fingers to the keyboard producing content, stories, and websites roughly at 40 – 60 wpm. You can see his results at dljworks and DeShaun’s Bibliography in addition to this blog. Follow him on Twitter.

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