Sunday, February 4, 2018

Travis Scott & Quavo - Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho Review

A Trap album. That's the best, and most efficient way to refer to Travis Scott & Quavo's collaboration tape Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. With how predictable the genre has become over the past year, what with Soundcloud artists continuing to define the norm, few ideas from even the most prominent of stars have been noted. For the first 20 seconds of Huncho Jack however, it felt like that was all about to change. 'Modern Slavery' doesn't open with bars, bass, or hi-hats, but with a soulful Otis Redding sample from 'Coffee & Cigarettes.' What ensues after that light of ingenuity dims can only be considered a monumental cocktease. Not the track itself, as 'Modern Slavery' stands as one of Huncho Jack's best, but the album and its total lack of originality. For once this year, Trap offered us something tangible. A glimpse into the potential of the genre when delectable flavor is sprinkled on top. One of its most intriguing figures, Travis Scott, teaming up with one of its most desirable, Quavo. It should've been a match made in heaven. Instead, the two meander lazily over subpar beats, failing to muster the courage to say anything that would prod predictability and convention.

To add insult to injury, Huncho Jack's best track comes at the very end with 'Best Man.' Having your closer standout isn't a surprise, what is is Scott's concentrated verse that swerves away from the ad-lib scorched, autotune-laced found elsewhere, replacing it with personal anecdotes that harken back to his esteemed Rodeo days. While Quavo refrains from such soul-searching, 'Best Man's' general tone is one that's more earnest and forthright than anything the Migos rapper has been apart of. However, what dots the inside of Huncho Jack is a different story. From 'Moon' to 'Saint Laurent Mask,' 'Go' to the title track, Huncho Jack is overspilling with sequestered, and horribly dull bangers, the kind that recall Culture's dominos of duds. Both Scott and Quavo sound uninspired throughout, a combination of Trap's trendy nonchalance and the duo's desultory state. Language, as to be expected, ranges from fundamental braggadocio ('Dubai Shit') to drug and alcohol compulsion ('Saint') to overt sexual deviancy ('How U Feel'). More often than not, the three sides act as nothing more than interchangeable one-liners, meaning very few tracks actually have purpose contextually.

Really, there's nothing of interest to gleam from Scott and Quavo's rapping. Even their flows, the Trap staple, has grown stale with limited improvement over the years. The beats are more rewarding however, albeit infrequently. 'Black & Chinese' has a devious kick to it, one found in the programmable loop built into the backbone. 'Motorcycle Patches' finds similar pacing but with a beefier set of percussion that's darker and more distressed. Hats off to Southside for producing the two aforementioned beats. And lastly, 'Where U From's' tense string arrangement mixes nicely with the repined bass, one that Scott sings over gravely using his Kid Cudi influence. That's about where the compliments cease though. With Huncho Jack, it's hard to avoid making eye contact towards the duo's lethargy. Their 'do everything by-the-books' mentality works in direct contrast towards the rebellious state they insist upon. The project screams promotional stunt, grabbing ahold of a community reeling from a exhaustive year with a quiet December. It put Travis Scott and Quavo's names back in the mouths of fans, even though the material they've produced certainly won't accomplish the same feat.


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