Music Lounge

Published on February 28th, 2020 | by Jameelah "Just Jay" Wilkerson


the Jacka – Murder Weapon

“Oakland rapper the Jacka’s new album suggests he should be recognized as one of the last decade’s strongest writers—both within and outside of hip-hop. He makes accessible music that could easily appeal to a wide audience, but What Happened to the World will most readily reach those who still value hip-hop as an art form of evocative lyricism.” – Pitchfork

“It was his talent for writing about the West Coast thug life with unflinching honesty, and a slightly wheezy, yet magnetic, voice, that made him a beloved artist.” – Rolling Stone

“Staunchly independent with commercial highlights in spite of that independence, The Jacka was regionally revered while remaining lightly indifferent to local trends. Throughout his voluminous discography, The Jacka regaled listeners with saccharine chorus hooks, while his wheezy yet stern flow dispatched nuanced, panoramic hustler scenes. Gangsta narratives were tempered by deep empathy — in this regard, The Jacka was an heir to 2Pac.” – East Bay Express

“One of the Bay Area’s most respected lyricists, The Jacka gave voice to the complexities and contradictions of following a spiritual path while doing what it took to survive.” – KQED

The Album + Video:
Known for his detail-rich pen and strong moral center, Bay Area artist the Jacka is dearly missed by the hip-hop community. Today, the Jacka’s spirit returns with Murder Weapon, the late legend’s new posthumous album. The finished version of the album the artist was working on before his passing, Murder Weapon executes the Jacka’s original artistic vision, compiling dozens of unreleased verses and keeping the original instrumentals whenever possible. A celebration of the Jacka’s legacy, the new album was lovingly completed by many of his closest friends, including Husalah, Rydah J. Klyde, & FedX of his Mob Figaz crew, and frequent behind-the-boards collaborators like RobLo, Maki, DJ Child, Lev, and AK.

Coming at the tail end of Jack History Month, the album features new guest verses from a long list of notable names from across the rap spectrum. Murder Weapon is home to “Can’t Go Home,” a soulful collaboration with Freddie Gibbs, which earned coverage in Pitchfork, HotNewHipHop, and more, and recent single “Take Over The World,” a heart-wrenching and hopeful song that dwells on Jack’s lifelong struggles. The album also boasts new highlights like the Curren$y and Berner collab “Live It Up,” the conspiratorial “Ancient Astronaut,” featuring Killah Priest, and the night-driving anthem “We Outside.” Featuring additional appearances from Styles P, Paul Wall, Cormega, and more, Murder Weapon arrives via The Artist Records / EMPIRE.

Along with the album, the Jacka’s team shares “Ask God,” a brand new music video for the album’s closing track. A glistening anthem with a dancehall-influenced bounce in the verses, “Ask God” is a testament to the late artist’s versatility, mixing a two-beat cadence with gentle melodies over the mutating instrumental. The upbeat instrumental belies the song’s dark subject matter, which touches on the struggle to succeed amidst rising violence in the streets–the eerie lyrics find the Jacka pondering his mortality, while secure in the lasting nature of his legacy: “You came/To see me perform in a place where most ain’t safe/But we still had fun/Cause I can remember/I know you remember/The gangstas/forever.”

Originally filmed in 2014, the video is one of the final finished videos that the Jacka filmed before he passed. Directed by Suj and filmed in a studio in Oakland, the video emphasizes the celebratory and danceable aspects of the song, as Jacka mobs with some beautiful women and a crew of his close friends, including Mob Figaz members Husalah and FedX and other Bay Area figures like Lil Blood. The video stresses the Jacka’s importance to Bay Area rap, and is an emotional reminder of the huge hole that remains in the scene since his passing.

Buy/Stream Murder Weapon:

Watch “Ask God”:

Check out a wide-ranging retrospective on The Jacka’s life and legacy at KQED

Murder Weapon tracklist:
1. Intro (feat. Husalah)
2. Walk Away (feat. Styles P)
3. Take Over the World (feat. Fed-X)
4. Not Dead (feat. Rydah J. Klyde & Husalah)
5. Live It Up (feat. Curren$y & Berner)
6. Can’t Go Home (feat. Freddie Gibbs)
7. Never Worked
8. Ancient Astronaut (feat. Killah Priest)
9. Cherish Me (feat. Dubb 20 & Street Knowledge)
10. We Outside
11. They Know What This Is (feat. Paul Wall & Boo Banga)
12. Too Real (feat. Cormega)
13. Ask God

About the Author

Publisher and CEO of The Hype Magazine. Follow me on Twitter @HypeJustJay

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