"Yeah bro, we all need a little culture." — Fabolous
That sentiment is at the core of Friday on Elm Street, Fabolous and Jadakiss's soulful and grizzled journey of a collaborative project. The two New York natives might have pitched themselves to fans as Freddy vs. Jason before the release of the album, but Friday on Elm Street is anything but.
Instead of a house of horrors, listeners are treated to sage advice from the rap legends. Fab and Jada present a carefully prepared meal, one with punchline appetizers about Hoodie Melo and raps about the effects of mass incarceration and police brutality on African-Americans.
In a year where we've received collaborations ranging from Future and Young Thug to 21 Savage and Offset, Friday on Elm Street stands apart. Fab and Jada take the metaphorical baton from Jay-Z's 4:44 and provide listeners with the type of wisdom culled from 40-plus collective years in the rap game. The material is never condescending. Instead, both MCs speak their truth — take it or leave it.
In an interview with MTV News, the two rappers open up about their past and present.
How Pharrell Pushed Jadakiss And Fabolous Out Of Their Comfort Zone
When asked about the difference between producers and beatmakers, Fab and Jada realized they both had similar stories about Pharrell. First, Fab:
Pharrell, to this day, when he came with ["Young'n (Holla Back)"], I'm like, dog, I am not doing that joint called 'Holla Back Young'n, woot woot.' ... I want a Clipse "Grindin"-like kinda joint, and he, like, telling me this is it, and we end up doing it, and that's one of my most memorable songs that I've probably ever done.
Jadakiss, meanwhile, revealed that "'Knock Yourself Out' had a totally different beat."
"When I went back to the Hit Factory or Sony or wherever to lay it, they said Pharrell had sent a new [version]," he said. "When the engineer hit play, it was nothing. It was that one you heard ... So then I was like, 'I don't want this song. It's not the beat.'"
Jada explains with goading from friends he eventually recorded his verse, but we almost missed out on a classic.
There is nothing better in this world than listening to Jadakiss use a Hot Pocket as a metaphor for easily disposable music — versus the labor of love he set out to make with Fab on their latest project.
"You see the soul food is prepared with the seasoning," said Jada. "The seasoning is cooked into the soul food. After you grab your Hot Pocket or whatever out of the microwave, you try to season it then, but it just stays on the outside. It don't get really in there."
What It Feels Like Seeing LL Cool J Show Love To "Theme Music"
First and foremost, Fab and Jada are students of the game. This is evident in their collective pride at being recognized by LL Cool J on Instagram for their song "Theme Music," produced by Swizz Beatz.
"Seeing L rock out to 'Theme Music' for me is impeccably, enormously, gigantic. Some Busta Rhymes speech from me for that," said Jada. "You never seen L give nobody that kinda love."
Fab shared Jada's sense of awe explaining, "L was one of our favorite rappers coming up."