Born in Oakland and raised in Pittsburg, CA, The Jacka [click to read] is truly a self-made success, single-handedly selling many of his first two albums’ 40,000 units. Tear Gas follows up his 2008 mixtape, The Street Album, which debuted at #91 on the Billboard Top 100. The Jacka‘s latest effort embraces production from 12 different producers; differing from his previous albums, which were predominantly produced by Bay Area legend RobLo. Additionally, the Pittsburg native has extended his demographical reach, with guest appearances by Philadelphia’s Freeway [click to read]and Houstonians Paul Wall [click to read] and Devin The Dude [click to read].
Having generated over 2,000 Bay Area radio station spins with the Matt Blaque-assisted “All Over Me,” The Jacka was honored as the winner of the 2008 Ozone Awards‘ “Patiently Waiting: California” category. Despite appearing on his Shooters mixtape last year, the Jeffro-produced track is included on Tear Gas as well, along with another collaboration track, entitled “Summer.” Additionally, The Jacka and Cormega [click to read] reunite on The Doors-sampled “Storm,” with Mega Montana rhyming “Never sleep, you get enough rest when you dead / Fuck a dream, what you need is a good connect / If it’s pure compressed, you’ve been blessed / In other words, less complaining, more to stretch.” Introduced by a mutual friend, the two’s long-lasting friendship has resulted in regular guest appearances for both artists’ discographies.
Similar to The Jacka‘s previous efforts, the album provides a glimpse into his strong devotion to Islam. Reaching out to fellow Muslim Freeway for “They Don’t Know,” The Jacka spits lyrics like “Gangsta from the M-O-B, but in Allah we trust / I try to purify my heart, because I’m a slave to my thoughts / I’m a monster out here, because I change when it’s dark.” Likewise, on “Dope Forreal” The Jacka rhymes, “The more I embraced Islam, the more I got sharp (the more I got sharp) / I’m sick of wasting time, so I was lifted from the dark / Median teachings cure the sickness of the heart.”
Additional introspection is provided by the Mistah F.A.B.-assisted [click to read] “Callin My Name,” where F.A.B. discusses the harsh realities of the urban life with rhymes like “When I wake up in the morning, you know what I see? / The world is a ghetto, smoking on D / My little cousin 13, strung out on E / Can’t blame him, his mama on C / O.K. E, 27, but she look like a old lady.” Similarly, on the Tower Of Power-sampled “What Happened To The World,” The Jacka spits, “What happened to the world is biggest my question / You got three or four straps and still feel threatened / Check three or four traps, I got’s real weight / You got a lot of fly shit, but your bills late / You niggas never try shit, but you will hate.”
For the past decade, The Jacka has experienced difficulty tapping target markets east of the Mississippi River. While his Traxamillion-produced first single “Glamorous Life” will gain regional attention, the harsh reality is that “slap music” is an acquired taste. Consequently, The Jacka needs to stick to his roots, rather than trying to improve his marketability with tracks like the Beastie Boys-inspired “Girls” and the Mr. Danny Pearson-sampled “What’s You Zodiac.” Although Tear Gas should inspire those unfamiliar with The Jacka to give him a listen, the Pittsburg native ultimately needs to revisit his critically acclaimed sophomore album The Jack Artist.