Jackie Chain X Nick Catchdubs – After Hours
In one fell swoop, Jackie Chain bests Juicy J at his newest game on After Hours. Over the last year, with releases like Blue Dream and Lean and the Rubba Band Business series, Juicy J has been attempting to renovate his image from terrifying manic to party rapper. Tracks like “Juicy J Can’t” attempted to drive home that even if he was able to cut off your fingers, most of the time he was fucked up in the club, high on lean, staring at bouncing booty and enjoying life. It was a difficult pill to swallow honestly. J has based most of his career on digesting drugs and menacing the square population and when he tried to change gears the only thing that he changed was his content. Make no mistake RBB 1 & 2 and Blue Dream are fairly strong mixtapes, but they were at their strongest when Juicy J was in his murder lane, not when he was expounding on parties and women.
But Jackie Chain, even with his heavily Juicy J influenced flow, has taken that formula and revamped it successfully. Both share a knack for simple choruses, slow flows and AB rhyming patterns, but, proving that sometimes it is all in the voice, Jackie Chain’s lighter, less drugged out flow allows him to be more buoyant over club beats than Juicy J’s heavy chowder snarl. Consider “Role Model” where Chain sounds the most like Juicy J. The lilt in his voice dances over the Three Six Mafia-esque beat brilliantly. It’s this vibrancy that wins the day. When he proclaims his mission statement “I do a lot of drugs and fuck a lot of hoes!” There’s no sinister background noise in his voice and it becomes an affably bald faced statement. Chain plays the loveable douche well. Like the Arthur of Rap, he’s got a lovely bunch of coconuts and cup full of enough drugs to kill an elephant. Still, underneath the fantastic beat selection and his mid ranged slow flow that dominate the length of the tape, Chain hides his skill for smart word play and elastic phrasing. “Molly” finds Chain penning a love letter to ecstasy over a Catchsdubs remix of UK producer Guido’s gorgeous “Mad Sax”. He drops lines like “the DJ plays the Music, I can feel it in my body, and the venues like a painting made by Salvador Dali, and everywhere I look people are glowing at the party” the way that Chain can elongate a rhyme like this is impressive. That particular line actually runs the length of at least double the bars it should. The words would sound clumsy coming from many rappers, but Chain’s buttery flow and knack for chopping up lines at the right time allows it to fit snuggly in the beat. On the undeclared tribute to 8 Ball and MJG “Don’t Violate” Chain rides the smoky, night funk, DJ Burn One beat with a surprising double time, showing off his ability to write internal rhymes.
The features on After Hours are scarce and satisfying overall. Standouts Big Sant and Gangsta Boo bring their signature sounds to the tape with impressive results. Gangsta Boo brings her sinister Catwoman voice to “Don’t Violate”, acting as a counter point to Jackie Chain’s pimp braggadocio. She almost coos as she brags menacingly about mugging and hustling. Her verse here is more frightening than Chain could ever be- even when he’s quoting the most vile 8 Ball lyric “Bang her head into the wall until you hear the cracking sound” it’s a testament to a veteran who has always been one of the more vicious special teams players of the Hypnotized Minds label. Sant, on the other hand, is one of the best feature rappers in the game right now, comes in with his weighty voice to smack the beat as he’s been doing since “Return of 4 Eva”. Sant is as you expect him to be. He can make almost any track a standout at this point. Chain takes a chance inviting these two underrated heavyweights to the party, and even though he hold his own, the attentions is taken away from him in these moments alone.
At 15 tracks, Jackie Chain and party DJ Nick Catchdubs have crafted a front to back burner that is so cohesive that nothing ever seems out of place or disrupting to the flow of the tape. Like the best DJ mixes, the tape rides a curve. It comes out hard and clubby, slowing down for a few minutes before beating feet again. This type of sequencing allows the listener to breath, and ensures that nothing seems tedious are boring simply because it’s placed at track 12 of 28. Even if the production is, for the most part, all gaudy neon and 90’s party hits samples, it never feels cloying are exhausting. This is something that Juicy J should take note of: if he is going to make this transformation from Three Six Mafia menace to loveable jerk off he needs to loosen up a bit and enjoy the ride with his best girl more than he enjoys the ride to an undisclosed body dump. Jackie Chain knows the difference between wanting to be the life of the party and actually being the life of the party by becoming the party. In that way Jackie Chain that he is an excellent MC in the most traditional sense.
You can download After Hours at the address below.
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