Decades of friendship enrich a new collaboration by rapper Rich Jones and producer Montana Macks | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Decades of friendship enrich a new collaboration by rapper Rich Jones and producer Montana Macks 

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click to enlarge Rich Jones & Montana Macks

Rich Jones & Montana Macks

Jason Neloms

Rapper-singer Rich Jones and producer Montana Macks have been friends for nearly two decades, which surely helps explain how the Chicagoans’ new self-released album, How Do You Sleep at Night?, hits so smoothly. For the past few years, Jones has leaned into the downy plushness of his voice, more and more often rhyming in a relaxed croon—and he’s also one of the few MCs who can drop Yiddish into the middle of a verse without sounding fakakta (the exact word he uses in “Clicksonmyphone”). For the new record, Macks has crafted loose-limbed instrumentals to match Jones’s mood, providing a subtle percussive kick that accentuates his friend’s sharp observations and syllabic twists. Jones and Macks recruited a load of talented Chicago guests for this full-length—the leisurely, triumphant “Locals Only” features an all-star team of rappers Matt Muse, Defcee, Skech185, Psalm One, and Jovan Landry—and the two of them work as hard to make their collaborators shine as they do to show off their own skills.   v

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