Pittsburgh’s hip-hop scene has been more than just major scratches on the surface, there are vast levels of both independent and mass mainstream artists that make hit after hit. Choo Jackson might not be a Pittsburgh native, but he sure does show the hospitality and the craftsmanship that the City of Champions is known for. From tours with Riff Raff, sold out shows nationally, and the modern, reinvention of the hippy, Choo Jackson is about making moves, creating action, and he illustrates that perhaps becoming a prince of the city is easier than it seems.
His newest album, Parade is released in conjunction with ID Labs production studio; two heavy-hitters that know their way around the city of bridges and with hip-hop. The pair make an inseparable wrecking crew of both melodic and punching hip-hop tracks, kicking things off with “Wake Me Up”. The first impressions are always most important, to Choo Jackson, he runs with the sun-filled production and charming sung and spoken vocals to create multiple layers behind Parade. From the spotless production that is handled primarily by ID Labs, to the mostly gentle Jackson who fulfills with lines that describe, “Look at me, I stayed the same. They said I wouldn’t make it; chain look like a chandelier…”. Choo is an instantly recognizable figure in Pittsburgh hip-hop, his voice is iconic as he mixes styles and continues to adapt to each track he steps foot on. With the break-downs and the consistent flow of energy, Jackson becomes a threat on the following track, “Right Away”.
Jackson’s production is truly impressive as the styles he chose relates incredibly well with his own lyrical style. He is witty, but still stays level-headed as he explains, “Scotty beam me up, I’m working hard as fuck, cause I need that bimmer truck,” in a blaze of glory as the booming instrumental follows along perfectly. The moments where Choo Jackson shines the brightest is where he takes the instrumental and decides to attack, but then switch styles and become more passive with his lyrics. He does this well on “Dinnertime”, where Jackson starts with a focused verse that eventually folds into a compromising, ego-boasting poet that rhymes through impressive production switch ups as well. He seems fearless as he attacks on “Redbull – Interlude” that proceeds almost effortlessly into “Talk” with Rob $tone. The interlude makes for a quick switch up that leads into Jackson happily explaining, “My outfit still cost your whole rent”. With the sudden bass drop and the stumbling hi-hat that snaps along with the snares and booming 808s that makes for an instant movement creator.
Jackson’s Parade can be shown as a dualistic record as he goes from the more turned-up hip-hop track, “Talk” to the then momentous cult-classic “Neighbors”. Jackson outdid himself on “Neighbors”, illustrating a sense of suburban, garage-rock beauty with overlaying backing vocals that create a waving sense that complies with cascading synths that resemble strings and the use of a more authentic styled percussion. “Neighbors” is a track off Parade that instantly clicked as it makes the contrast between the straight-forward hip-hop and the strange, more experimental style of Choo Jackson.
From the second his voice lines the track, Jackson is an instant marvel and one of the nicest guys you can ever meet. He is welcoming, but also creates hits from the flash of his finger tips. Parade is a full realization of how much power Choo Jackson holds in his hands, all it takes is a little push behind him.