Friday on Elm Street

Jadakis & Fabolous - Friday on Elm Street Cover

With so many diverse flows, phrases, and even purposes, it’s hard to decide where to start with this review of an immensely special project released by two undoubtable legends of hip-hop, Jadakiss & Fabolous. No one saw this collabo coming. I mean I sure didn’t, but I’m thankful it dropped. Almost 100% of hip-hop heads and anyone who can appreciate real music (at all) should agree this project is genuine and that there’s true content on the 12 track, 43 minute masterpiece. We have not heard a simply-smooth album like this for too long.

The combination of flawless lyricism and creative control from Fab & Jada on this tape makes it an honest style, to the point where I can feel it. We, the listeners, are gifted knowledge on some of the illest beats from talented producers (including Swizz Beatz who knows just how to use a sample). After experiencing this album from beginning to end as well as watching the music videos that beautifully support it, I’m convinced this is a truly cohesive piece of history from two artists in their forties. Authenticity meets creativity comfortably and these two MC’s that I used to only listen to separately come together in unison.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving 2017, these honorable artists provided the public with a now classic studio album named Friday on Elm Street – a theme they sonically embody with ease, confidence, and the true magic of creative communication. Based off their respective thriller/horror franchises, this album features Freddy (Fab) & Jason (Jadakiss’s real name) who’ve both come from troubled background and persevered as they’ve grown in lyrical greatness.

Interestingly enough this studio album was released by Def Jam Recordings, Street Family Records (which is owned by Fabolous), and D- Block Records which is owned by The LOX (the hip-hop/rap trio Jadakiss generated his early prominence). The project was originally proposed and put into motion on March 1st, 2016 when Fab realized both he and Jada had the streets’ ears after generating a good amount of interest through Friday Freestyles on separate radio stations hosted by DJ Envy and DJ Clue. The minute these two artist exchanged words about a joint venture it was on.

Now that I’ve given this album the time to soak in and after analyzing a few songs/lyrics, I know this project couldn’t have come at a better time. In an interview with The Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM, it was stated that this project is, “A whole new genre of legit adult contemporary hip-hop,” and Jadakiss humbly agrees and thanks the host for understanding the mission and vision behind the feature without having it explained.

At this point, it’s best to just consider the tracklist which boasts a few familiar names like Future, French Montana, Teyana Taylor, and Styles P. With only 12 songs combined over 43 minutes, you know these guys mean business and are getting straight to the point with this one. The short length makes it easy to jump right in and find a new anthem.

Track one bumps. F vs. J Intro produced by DJ Tedsmooth sets the mode and mood the project in a playful but serious way. Bottom line is after years in the game, these two 40-year-old OG’s of the music industry have yet again proven they’re each gifted and wise beyond their time. I’m grateful to hear realistic and positive rap that captures the state of hip-hop currently, and doesn’t seem to take shots at anyone directly. In Fab’s opening verse we hear:

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

I could easily quote the whole song including Jada’s low-key but dramatic entrance to the album, but I’ll save that for another day. Basically off this first stanza I was able to gather a lot of fuel personally! I could see reality here, across every bar – simply mindblowing. After just listening to bars 1 – 4 I had to start the album over. I was so hype at the facts. The whole thing’s true in places if you really take time, look around, and absorb the environment.

Then we have Theme Music, feat. Swizz Beatz which carries Jada and Fab through a back-and-forth styled track laid over a groovy old-school mix made modern with high-energy and fast tempo instrumentals. Each time the beat loops, these guys switch spots explaining some legit simple rules to live by and perfectly express why this is the theme music for when you’re out there tryna get it. In case you can’t get to the song right this minute, here’s a sample of some of that heat:

[Intro: Swizz Beatz]
Goddamn! Right
Oh this that Freddy and Jason
Smooth it out

[Verse 1: Fabolous (Swizz Beatz)]
This that theme music
Some back on your deen music (talk to ’em, Fab)
Told Swizz gotta put the top down (hey)
Drive by my old school just to make my Dean lose it, hah
Always said I’d be a dropout (damn)
Yeah, only right I bring the drop out (woo!)
Look, and everyday is first class
Not bad for the kid who never made his first class
{*school bell ringing*} Yeah

[Verse 2: Jadakiss (Swizz Beatz)]
I’m in homeroom with dime sacks (Jada)
If you miss something, rewind that
Memories take you back to the time
Take the time to remember that you can’t get the time back
Now your boy’s invincible
Got me teaching niggas principles
It just make me wanna holla
You can’t even get a dollar cause I can’t talk sense to you(owww!)

[Verse 3: Fabolous (Swizz Beatz)]
They wanna front ’til you jump in the back
Shawty named Rosa, jump in the back
House party days, you’d get jumped in the back
Nowadays the jump offs just jump in the back
Swish, my jumper is back (oh!)”

The guys go back-and-forth for 6 verses before Swizz closes out the tape, and that’s (without a doubt) enough to gas me up for whatever endeavour I’m embarking on. And it’s only track 3! I kid you not, from beginning to end, every song on this tracklist gave me the same sort of initial chill. I allowed myself to listen and fully here these lyricists break down the world they see around em. Tracks 4, 5, and 6 remain equally energetic, and hold nothing but morals, reasonable values, and principles that cut straight through. I found myself learning while listening to Friday on Elm Street. Amazing.

This is a generation where we naturally overlook things and seem to be one track minded (if we’re paying attention at all). I realized after tracks 7 – 9 that we need to slow our role sometimes, wise up, and stop moving so much. It’s more important to move forward than around. The album left me thinking about Instagram, about scenarios of racial inequality, and about taking knees for the right thing.

Toward the end of the project on tracks 10, 11, and 12, the material Jada & Fab created persists with energy. I was stoked to see fellow member of The LOX, Styles P, on the beat. The guys prove this is their sport, ripping the beat with a raw and unmistakable old-school/new era essence.

Closing up the main project, Jada and Fab team up for one last solo hit called Nightmares Ain’t As Bad which is an uplifting conclusion for the theme and premise of this whole, genius collab. Then, at the end of it all, there’s a remix of Stand Up feat. Yo Gotti, Jeezy, and Future. It’s got fire instrumentals by Reazy Renegade equipped with hard keys, drums, and other intricate attributes. This one was obviously made for the clubs.

I enjoyed this album in full, from cover to cover. Friday on Elm Street does not disappoint and proves “The more, the merrier” is true. When it comes to making a classic with a mixture of raw talent, Fabolous & Jadakiss deliver.