Photo Credit: @myfabolouslife Instagram
Friday on Elm Street (released November 24, 2017)
Fabolous and Jadakiss are both considered New York hip-hop royalty. They’re both known for their quick wit and jaw-rattling punchlines. They’re both revered for their guest spots and have made their mark on mainstream airwaves and the underground mixtape scene.
And despite their accolades, both have yet to deliver that one classic, defining album that we know they’re capable of. Friday on Elm Street aims to remedy that.
Fans have been patiently waiting for the release of Fabolous & Jadakiss’ Freddy Vs. Jason project since Fab first announced it way back in February of 2016, but after a couple setback & delays the wait is finally over.
Tired of mumble rap? Here you go https://t.co/eB762km7Ep
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) November 25, 2017
Laced with 12 tracks in total, the project features a star-studded lineup of guest appearances, including Future (“Stand Up”), Teyana Taylor (“Talk About It”), French Montana (“All About It”), Swizz Beatz (“Theme Music”), Styles P (“Ice Pick”), and Yo Gotti and Jeezy (“Stand Up (Remix)”).
Originally called Freddy vs Jason (before its Black Friday release triggered a name change), Friday on Elm Street has seemingly been in the works for years now, hoping to capitalize on the success of other collaboration projects like Future and Drake’s What a Time to Be Alive, Future and Young Thug’s Super Slimey and Future and Gucci Mane’s Freebricks 2.
Friday On Elm Street finds the like-minded pair loosely adopting personas inspired by ‘80s slasher-flick villains: A Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger (Fabo) and Friday The 13th’s Jason Voorhees (Jada).
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. The instrumental then flips for Jadakiss’s part, as Biggie’s “Dead Wrong” drums are threaded through a disorientating loop of the “Friday The 13th” score to introduce his Jason character.
While it’s indicative of Jada and Fabo’s impressive vocal chemistry on display at times during the album, the Freddy vs. Jason standoff concept set out here is only occasionally referenced later on, and remains a vague concept lurking in the background that is never fully fleshed out.
The album’s most ambitious track is “Talk About It,” where the duo dives into socio-political issues. The track features Teyana Taylor on the hook, and is projected as the album’s socially-conscious centerpiece, in which both Jada and Loso take a stridently political approach, reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement, Colin Kaepernick’s stand (or, more accurately, kneel) against injustice, and the inequalities of the American school system.
“Can we talk how many died for the birth of a nation?
And how this national anthem ain’t worth my ovation?
And if I am standing up, Imma stand up for equality
It’s brutality, we need more than that apology
Can we talk about it, not just artists, but the players too
Y’all on the field, not the mic, but y’all can say it too”
— Natasha Marie Llenas (@DjMissGem) November 17, 2017
It’s during the throwback-styled joints that Jadakiss and Fabolous are in more familiar territory, and truly find their focus. “Marvin (Theme Music)” — the album’s standout cut — drips with breezy, vibrant soul, while the pounding drums of “Soul Food” carry faint echoes of those early ’00s NYC mixtape Just Blaze-soundtracked glory days when Fabolous and Jadakiss were on the rise.
Jadakiss and Fabolous may be certified NYC rap royalty, and the album certainly reaffirms their rapping ability, but the broader Freddy vs Jason theme is never really defined or explored, suggesting the duo were unwilling to step outside of their Big Apple #BARS comfort zone into something more conceptually ambitious.
Written by: @happyfeetjones