Best Aggregator of Mainstream Rap and the Thug Life

The Jacka

Self-made artist the Jacka built a small empire by selling records
hand-to-hand and pimping his criminal past. (He’s a “jack artist” in
many senses.) Now he’s spotlighted on mainstream radio stations with
such hits as “All Over Me” and “Glamorous Lifestyle,” which features
underground kingpin Andre Nickatina. The Jacka is a classical gangsta
rapper, known less for prurience (though in fairness, he’s no prude)
than for angrily politicized hustler anthems, revenge songs against the
police, and lyrics about his devotion to Islam. His first two albums
got their texture and shape from Mob Figaz producer RobLo, whose
melodic beats formed a perfect juxtaposition to Jacka’s scratchy,
half-sung rap voice. This year, however, the Pittsburg-raised artist
went a little more mainstream. His new album, Tear Gas, includes
celebrity guest cameos (Paul Wall, Freeway, and Devin the Dude) and
beats sampled from the Doors and the Beastie Boys. It’s still
unmistakably a Jacka album, though on this one the Jacka hews a little
more to the hot rapper persona. But why settle for small-time crookery
after you’ve reached Billboard’s Top 100? The Jacka inevitably has more
successes to come.

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