Friday on Elm Street

Jadakis & Fabolous - Friday on Elm Street Cover

Two of the best punchline hip-hop artists in the last 15 years are coming together to do what?! To make me remember what it was I loved about hip-hop in the first place? Here we have Jadakiss and Fabolous uniting for what should be an out-the-gate classic titled Friday on Elm Street. Why that title? Because Fab likens himself to Freddy Krueger from the hit horror film Nightmare on Elm Street (he’s a nightmare to emcees/rappers in the game) and Jadakiss likens himself to Jason, the hockey mask murderer from Camp Crystal Lake, NJ.

These two emcee destroyed tracks as solo artists for more years than I can count – incredible bar-barians with songs and features that have topped the charts for ages. So when I pushed play on this album, I immediately got cold chills. What’s been lost in hip-hop for some time now, in my opinion, is creativity. I come from an era where artists had skits and concepts in their albums and that feel hasn’t been around for a good while now.

The first track is titled F vs. J Intro and it comes on with an eeriely melodic tune and a woman speaking in fear of her nightmares, premonitions of Freddy & Jason. Listening to the album with all the lights out gives the full effect and feel of the intro and the, bam, the beat drops! God damn. This track is produced by DJ Tedsmooth and Mally The Martian, and boy did they set it off right. I’m a horror film maker and lover, so you gotta know listening to this all is extremely soul pleasing and takes me back to watching these films in my childhood. Fabolous/Freddy gets the first verse of the song and it incorporates Nightmare on Elm Street keys, chords, and synths. What a masterpiece. When Jadakiss/Jason’s verse comes on, the entire beat switches up so it fits a Friday the 13th vibe.  Even though it’s the first track, by this point my mind is completely blown and their word play over these beats is simply masterful. Check the bars out!

[Verse 1: Fabolous]
Yeah, it’s gettin’ spooky out here
All the Nino Browns done turned Pookie out here
No cool niggas, it’s just goofies out here
I mean, niggas is eating pork wearing kufis out here
Through it all, stood tall, Doofy out here
Ten toes down, I’m on two feet out here
Truthfully, out here, I’ll be too flee out here
Getting fly, no bullshit, I’m the 2-3 out here
From Jordans you ain’t see, shoutout to Carolina
To all baby me’s, I see all you Harold Miners
Mixtape three-peats, I fadeaway at the go-go
With girls that’ll spread they legs open for a logo, ay
Check out the swag, yo, I walk like a ball player
To the locker room, I’m back to cock it to ‘em
Toast to all you niggas that was talkin’ caca to ‘em
We on a different FLŌH, we ain’t sendin’ vodka to ‘em
The shots that we giving make you send a doctor to ‘em
Bet he say ‘aah’ when it blocka-blocka to ‘em
Now he in a awkward room tryna lock a goon
Like the shooter had a hood on, mighta been Dr. Doom

Did you read that?  Really, go back if you didn’t.  Imma just give you a bit of Kiss’s verse too:

[Verse 2: Jadakiss]
HA-HAAAEEH! (You remember!)
I’m dead wrong; you wanna live, I can’t let you
You at full speed, I’m walking, I still catch you
Mr. Voorhees, good looking, I destroy these
These niggas ain’t bosses, they workers and employees
I came out of the lake, but I be in the boondocks
Flannel or overall, work boots, tube socks
I’ll put something right through your face from out the toolbox
Niggas get hot and make the news, I make the news hot
You can be as hard as whoever, I crack craniums
You know all my killings are brutal and spontaneous
I like this, pop out, soon as you hit the light switch
Run and then all a sudden you fall like the white chicks
Might have to crush your Adam’s apple with the vice grips
You never see me during the day, I play the night shift
Cartilage, flesh and bone, damp gristle
Be my guest, go ahead and hide, I can’t miss you
You already know I reside at Camp Crystal
Lake, dismantle your face, revamp tissue
Power from the hockey mask, James St. Patrick
Three bodies in one night, that’s a hat trick
Pay the plug soon as you finish, that’s a backflip
Spend six, make 12 back, that’s a crack flip

Listen, I don’t know what kind of rap you listen to in 2018 and there’s a lot of people claiming to be artists and rappers in this age, but few do it like these guys right here. Too many fans give emcee-level credit to people who can’t put together a complete thought or speak clear enough for me to understand. Enough of my opinion though, let’s just move onto another track that split my wig.

Now I listened and skipped through the second track that featured Future. I like some of his music (very little, honestly) but the song Stand Up was complete garbage especially after such an intro track. Who in the hell thought it was a good idea? Is this a concept album or a get-rich(er) quick scheme? The track is horrific and not in a good way. I guess I could see it being one of he last songs on the album as a selling point because Future is one of the biggest names in hip-hop at the moment, but the second track of this album? Skip.

Theme Music, the third track on the album, was produced by and features Swizz Beatz. Although he’s not one of my favorite producers, he uses a Marvin Gay sample that blew me away.  After all the doubt from the second track, this song saved my life, even if it feels strange as a third track on a Freddy vs Jason themed album. The back-to-back flow on the tracks is another call-back to what rap use to be: pure skill, bouncing back and forth off each others’ verse energy. “Theme Music” is a dope song for a place like the 40/40. It’s clean and makes you want to buy a bottle of something you can’t really afford.  It’s so clean, it makes me wanna put on a cleaner pair of socks and a brand new pair of boxers. Thank the rap gods for this gift of a song!

Heavy burn on the fourth track which might as well just take the place of the second track. Ground Up – Kiss says:

[Verse 1: Jadakiss]
Uh, now what?
I got the regulators to mount up
Go ahead and thank us for elevating the town up
That boy ‘Kiss is a bastard, you gotta see him
He giving out free caskets and mausoleums
My first tour, I copped work off my per diem
Emotional motherfuckers hurt, that’s a EM
At least a quarter mil’ for the V, the for-eign
Some niggas that’ll kill you for free just off a DM
Damn shame what they did to his body
You know me, I keep a alibi, slid to the party
Mingle with a couple skeezers, dark caesar, Ducatis
To top it off, all white so they could see that I’m Godly
Yeah, crooked niggas get set straight
When you increase the death rate, it’s less hate
Mmm, real niggas can relate though
True master of ceremonies, what’s the ratio?
Impossible for me to get full off your plate, bro
I ain’t tryna make new friends, I’m tryna make dough
And they gon’ do what I say so
(Kill kill kill kill kill kill)
That’s the Camp Crystal Lake flow

Then Fab (Freddy) follows up with this heat:

[Verse 2: Fabolous]
Ayo, I built this from the ground up, that’s how I found patience
Came up from the mud and that’s how you foundation
Don’t stop, pop that, that’s if you found hatin’
Face down, ass up, that’s how you found facin’
No witnesses, that’s all that they found, casings
I dipped in Crystal Lake and that’s how I found Jason
(Kill kill kill kill kill kill)
That Bentley Bentayga, straight violation
The truck so fire, it came with a dalmation
Hit the lights, cock the ladder, then slide down slow
Them niggas don’t want no smoke, they better lie down low
These bars are still flaming, never died down flows
And I know some fire hoes that slide down poles, whoa
I’m used to the sirens
I don’t jump when I hear shots, I’m used to the firin’
I come from the COD, but got used to the wirin’
I could talk it cause I live it, I just use my environments
See these old niggas washed, and I used to admire them
Now they begging for a job but they used to be hirin’
Ain’t no, use of retirin’ if you still inspirin’
She ain’t ground up like Cookie
She can’t share my empire then, nigga

This track is official! Fab says:

No witnesses, that’s all that they found, casings
I dipped in Crystal Lake and that’s how I found Jason

Now that’s what I’m talking about: getting back to the concept of the concept album! But on the very next track, Soul Food, we get away from it again (even though the next track is incredible deserves its music video). C-Sick production on the track feels so good and it comes off like a song you’d play on a Sunday or at a family gathering; it’s like a summer drive with the top down, with the sunroof open, or maybe with your head hanging out a window like a dog does. The first time through, I had to rewind the song three times before I could let it end. Don’t know about you, but I hear Fab’s growth on this.

The last track I want to focus on is surprisingly Swizz’s second feature, I Pray, and the beat is super sinister! Definitely reminds me of something RZA might have done in the 90’s – dark basement filth all over the track:

[Verse 1: Fabolous]
Yeah, God forgive us I know we don’t pray as much as we should
We call in bad times, don’t stay in touch when we good
‘Less it’s your downfall they don’t pray for much in the hood
So when they ask “What’s up?” I don’t say as much as I could
Can’t tell niggas who never been up you leveling up
That’s like going to hell and tellin’ the Devil, “What’s up?”
Can’t even bless your food round here, niggas hate that
You close your eyes and bow your head and get your plate snatched
So I keep it with my faithfully, you demons stay away from me
Love don’t cost a thing and y’all still got hate for me
Sometimes the ones clapping for you ain’t happy for you
Thought they was rooting for you, really shooting for you
Hoes ain’t loyal, niggas ain’t either
People lie religiously, we just ain’t believers
Pastor said, “Let us pray for our enemies”
Fuck that we let it spray for our enemies, brrrrah!

There are so many jewels in Fab’s verse. I don’t know about you, but emcees helped raise me in the streets. I didn’t have a father who was really around so I guess you can say the streets had a major impact on my upbringing.

If you’re a Jadakiss fan, you already know he’s a jewel dropping machine and it’s not hard to find em on this dope-ass track:

[Verse 2: Jadakiss]
Lord, I know I call in a time of need (sorry)
These niggas come around in a time of greed (always)
I got five children I’m trying to feed (yeah)
They killing to follow, I’m dying to lead (woo!)
You ain’t wearing a vest, it’s time to bleed (mmm)
Thirty second or less, it’s time to leave (go)
You dealing with death, it’s time to grieve (yes)
Cherish every breath just trying to breathe
I don’t to the rappers, I be round ball players (haha)
Too much fake jewelry and downfall prayers (ahh)
Yeah, everything is irrelevant (irrelevant)
You mistaking the elements with the elegance (why?)
Your emotion supersedes your intelligence (okay)
Then they might just kill you for the hell of it (yep)
One thing about the Devil, he gon’ always pop up
Pitchfork with a shovel (amen), let us pray

Gotta love Jada. He one of the wisest street rapper of all time in my opinion.

This album isn’t at all what I thought it would be. Is it a dope album and must have for your hip-hop collection? Of course. Is it a dope collaboration album? Sure it is. Is it consistent with the albums title? No. Maybe it wasn’t really supposed to be or maybe their schedules conflicted in the process of recording. But I won’t make excuses for it, even if some of their bars on the album are what I’d expect.  Half of this is music for a different project and the production and track listing don’t hold to the theme. Don’t get me wrong, I dig most of the songs. I just expected more of a bloody bar massacre on this album. I expected them to make wannabe rappers afraid to put out bullshit and I didn’t get that with this album. In the end, it isn’t vicious at all. I learned more listening to this than I wanted on an album titled Friday On Elm Street. The intro track made me believe in something that never arrived.

This album was the hot shower before putting on your best outfit to go and have a nice time on the town with the people you love. I have major respect for these two artists and they will forever be top tier lyricists to me, but this album needed to be everything it wasn’t: frightening.