Ah, the fabled alter-ego – it can either be the creative outlet for a successful artist or an excuse of a bad album for an artist struggling to force that creativity. Slim Shady to Eminem to Marshall Mathers. Metal Fingers to Viktor Vaughn to MF Doom. And now, Wildchild to The Jackal.
Therein lies the problem for Wildchild. Though his persona change welcomes an entertaining EP attempt, it clocks in at under 30 minutes (with several tracks devoted to instrumentals), leaving listeners little time to figure out that Wildchild is rapping and taking the image of “The Jackal” this time around (especially when Jackal keeps “talking” to Wildchild in the background). What they will be able to figure quite quickly though is the producer involved in this project – Madlib.
The funked-out sounds of “Heart Surgery” open up “The Jackal EP” with Wildchild behind the boards doing his best impression of a beat that could be found in an old detective flick. He quickly exits stage left though, as Madlib and his brother Oh No steal the show on the extremely conceptual and creative “Vinyl Talk,” where Jackal and Oh No take the roles of a couple of vinyl records and let the “white sleeves” do the talking.
“Fallen Soldiers” features an already-done topic, with Jackal rapping about the “fallen soldiers” of the streets, but still comes together collectively over the usually-consistent Madlib effort. And the back-packing concert track of “All Night” adds a bounce and flair missing elsewhere while teaming Jackal up with Medaphoar, Dudley Perkins, and Oh No.
So, how does The Jackal costume look on Wildchild this time of year? Not quite the creative outlet of success that Wildchild may have hoped for, but also not a blatantly poor choice of an album. Luckily, Wildchild gets Madlib to play the role of white-on-white Air Force One’s for his “costume” – and almost anyone can sound and look good running over tracks with that Madlib on their heels.