Title: Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho
Artist: Huncho Jack, Travis Scott, Quavo
Release: December 21, 2017
Just a couple days before the new year, 2017 saw the release of what can only be described as an “Atlanta Blockbuster,” starring trap superstars Travis Scott and Quavo. The album delivers in a way similar to a new Star Wars or Marvel movie in the sense that you’re coming to have a good time and enjoy some cheap thrills. Nobody’s going to watch the Avengers for a deeper insight into the meaning of life or some analysis on today’s world. Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho knows exactly what it is. Fun.
In the first minute of the opener, “Modern Slavery,” we get some signature Migos-style triplets, an auto-tuned Travis Scott, and already too many ad-libs to count, all on top of an effortless Otis Redding soul/Atlanta trap fusion by Murda Beatz. Before you even know it, the track fades out and it’s on to the high-energy cut, “Black & Chinese,” giving us some more of that signature Travis Scott mumble-rap paired with some quick interjections from Quavo. One of the best parts of this album is the limited tendency to stretch songs out like we’ve seen Migos do in the past (the legendary Bad and Boujee is also 6 minutes long). A lot of the tracks are less than 3 minutes, which is more than enough time for the pair to establish a new feel on every track. They can often leave you wanting more, but there’s no guarantee that another minute would be at the same caliber as what’s provided. Quavo and Scott know when it’s time to move on to the next track, and not fix what ain’t broke.
Another striking component of the album is how well Quavo’s and Scott’s verses flow together. Unlike the Offset, 21 Savage, and Metro blockbuster collab, Without Warning, no track feels like it’s dominated by one artist. The whole album truly flows like a collaborative project, with the two bringing their styles that have made them so famous, while still complementing each other remarkably smoothly. At the same time, each rapper will take the reins on a track from time to time and really show why they’ve risen to the top of the game. Unfortunately, the features from fellow Migos, Takeoff and Offset on “Eye 2 Eye” and “Dubai Shit” follow the same principle as most the album, delivering refreshing, but disappointingly brief verses.
The variety that each cut brings is unexpected for artists that have tended to have fairly one-dimensional styles in the past. I really appreciate an album with a set-list organized in such a way that keeps its audience on the edge of their seat, eagerly awaiting what the next record’s going to bring to the table. As with any project, there are a few exceptions, with the repetitive “Huncho Jack” feeling like a hashed-out remix of some of its predecessors on the album. Like every other song on the album, the song is brilliant on its own, but in the context of the album, it’s a bore. In the latter half of the album, things noticeably slow down, but bring things we’ve never seen from either artist. “Go” sounds like something you would find on Luv is Rage, “How U Feel” uses the same sample as alternative star Mac Demarco’s “Chamber of Reflection,” and “Best Man” is basically Quavo doing his best Drake impression.
With such a short total run time (only 41 minutes), the album manages to never lose its pace delivering banger after banger, which can largely be credited to Mike Dean and Murda Beatz. The lyrics make it clear that both artists’ minds are focused on other projects, with Scott and Quavo dropping AstroWorld and Culture II soon enough. It’s easy to avoid the lackluster lyrics when each cut features a strong beat and often catchy melody. If this project is just a little something to whet our appetites for some upcoming studio albums, the bar is set very high.
Bottom Line: With all the hype surrounding this project, it was always going to be difficult to impress everybody. Haters are still going to hate, but open-minded listeners will enjoy some strong additions to the trap genre as well as some fresh cuts that reflect the versatility of the superstar duo. Most of the tracks complement each other well, bringing a new energy every 3 minutes or so, while every song stands strong as a single. It’s definitely the best album in its respective genre, but the short run-time and meaningless lyrics make it difficult to say this is a 1st tier piece.