Success breeds complacency.
Travis Scott and Quavo are two of the biggest names in modern rap. Quavo and the Migos are finishing up their most successful year ever, as their 2017 album Culture dominated the charts. Arguably one of the most inescapable songs of 2017, “Bad and Boujee,” propelled their success and worldwide fame. Meanwhile, Travis Scott’s flurry of features in 2017 with everyone from SZA and Major Lazer to Drake and Miguel helped establish him as an omnipresent force in rap. When two artists riding the zeitgeist team up, surely the end result has to be a rap classic, right? Instead, Quavo and Travis (under the moniker HUNCHO JACK) overdo their old tropes over a selection of lackluster beats to make a wholly unmemorable album.
First off, Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho has the misfortune of being the last collaborative album in a year where marquee rap collabs popped up each month. To name a few:
- Buddy & Kaytranada, Ocean & Montana
- Gucci Mane & Metro Boomin, Droptopwop
- Yo Gotti & Mike WiLL Made-It, Gotti Made It
- Nav & Metro Boomin, Perfect Timing
- Lil Wayne & T-Pain, T-Wayne
- DJ Carnage & Young Thug, Young Martha
- Young Thug & Future, Super Slimey
- Metro Boomin, Offset & 21 Savage, Without Warning
- Fabolous & Jadakiss, Friday on Elm Street
- Metro Boomin & Big Sean, Double or Nothing
After so many collab releases in one year, the excitement for another one starts to fade. It seems Quavo and Travis were counting on the hype of their combination to carry the deadweight of the album. However, after the saturation of collaboration, Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho feels like another regular album release.
Despite the stifled hype, Travis and Quavo still try to assert their dominance as monarchs of the rap game. Their opening track “Modern Slavery” opens with a smooth Otis Redding sample that breaks into a typical trap beat. Call it an homage or call it a challenge, but the track is entirely reminiscent of 2011 when Jay-Z and Kanye West announced themselves as the kings of rap with “Otis” on their collab album Watch the Throne. If you’re going to copy a format that’s already been done, you had better do it better. Instead, Travis and Quavo stumble their way through the blasé Buddah Bless production that starts the album on a humdrum note.
To the album’s credit, the consistency across tracks makes for a well-flowing album, but this is largely on account of the monotonous, unoriginal production across the album. Clear stand-out tracks “Motorcycle Patches” and “How U Feel” provide some much-needed variation with solid, hard-hitting beats and interesting melodic elements. However, “How U Feel” is reliant on the same sample as Mac Demarco’s hit “Chamber of Reflection.” Again, if you’re going to copy a format that’s already been done, you had better do it better.
Overall, Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho had the potential to be one of the defining albums of modern rap’s soundscape. Instead, Quavo and Travis’ unmemorable performances and the project’s weak production overall come across as lazy efforts by some of the top hit-makers who have grown complacent in their successes.