Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, the latest multi-label rap collaboration featuring Travis Scott and Quavo, takes a page right out of the Gonzo journalism playbook. Similar to fictional characters “Raoul Duke” and “Dr. Gonzo” from Hunter S. Thompson‘s drug-addled novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the two rappers assume fictional identities solely for the purposes of the record.
Scott first worked with Quavo on the track “Oh My Dis Side” from his debut album, Rodeo (2015), and then again on his collaboration track with Young Thug, “Pick Up the Phone,” from Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight (2016). He later returned the favor with a special guest appearance on Culture (2017), the debut album from the Atlanta rap trio, Migos.
Now, they have teamed up as “Huncho Jack” and “Jack Huncho” for their first-ever conceptual collaboration, featuring guest appearances by Migos cohorts Offset and Takeoff—as well as original artwork designed by Welsh illustrator Ralph Steadman.
The album opens with “Modern Slavery,” a trap-heavy introduction from producer Buddah Bless, that draws similarities between slavery that occurred in America hundreds of years ago, and how consumerist culture enslaves people to life’s many luxuries, including expensive cars, drugs, and jewelry. It also features a short clip from Otis Redding‘s 1966 classic, “Cigarettes and Coffee.”
Scott and Quavo get more into detail about their affinity for drugs and women on the track, “Black & Chinese,” produced by Southside of 808 Mafia, before rapping about how well they work together on the track “Eye 2 Eye” from producer Murda Beatz and Felix Leone.
“Motorcycle Patches” really sticks to the whole Hunter S. Thompson inspired motif with a track about earning patches, an initiation ritual practiced by biker gangs, which Thompson mentions in his book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. The track—produced by Supah Mario, TM88 [808 Mafia], and Grammy Award-winner Frank Dukes—is most likely a reference to how a prospect would earn his “colors” by proving he could carry his own weight, though it could also be referring to the gang’s “wings system.”
Some other noteworthy tracks include, “Dubai Shit,” featuring Offset and additional vocals from Swedish rapper Young Lean, “How U Feel,” which features samples of “the word II” performed by Japanese electone player Shigeo Sekito, and “Where U From,” a chopped string-beat produced by Cardo and Cubeatz.
The album closes with the track, “Best Man,” produced by Wheezy, Dun Deal, Dean, and C4. Sure, singing to one another about being friends is pretty corny, but it’s still nice to see that Scott and Quavo genuinely appreciate the other’s friendship.
Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho is conceptually brilliant, but its execution could have been better. Perhaps, if they included some audio recordings of Thompson’s rants or clips from the Terry Gilliam movie, the music would have seemed more in tune with the overall theme.