Name: John Jackson
Birthday: November 18th
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Hobbies: Playing Basketball, Sony PS2
Favorite Foods: Chicken fingers, Shrimp and a fruit plate
Favorite Drinks: Hawaiian Punch, Pepsi
Favorite Candy: Kit Kat or Jolly Ranchers
Maybe it's his sly, laid back style or maybe it's his Hollywood-ready good looks (Rolling Stone), but who knew that when John Jackson chose to call himself Fabolous, the name would define his career? Despite being released on September 11, 2001 (the same day as veteran Jay Z, by the way), Fab's dynamic debut album, Ghetto Fabolous, still managed to make a standout debut at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart, cementing his slot as the year's most successful new solo hip hop artist.
The spark, ignited when Fab killed it on DJ Clue's New York City radio show, quietly and consistently burned throughout 2002 with Fab effortlessly navigating the cluttered hip hop landscape to rack up genre-defying accomplishments. From landing a spot in Rolling Stone's Hot issue, to making Teen People's list of 25 Hottest Stars Under 25, to his inclusion in Paper magazine's Beautiful People issue, Fab became the rapper to have in your corner. From Nelly nabbing Fab to open his uber-successful Nellyville tour, to Reebok scooping Fab up for the hottest sneaker commercial of the year, to EA Sports making Fab an actual character in its NBA Live 2003 video game, Fab wowed fans and industry haters equally.
And amidst this whirlwind of success, Fab has maintained his confident swagger, his uncanny charm, and most importantly, his humility. A year and a half after the release of Ghetto Fabolous, one of Brooklyn, New York's finest MC's is more focused, more serious, and more aware of the many miles he's traveled in only 23 short years. There's millions of kids that want to do what I do, he says, matter-of-factly. Rapping became a profession. That's why I feel it's a street dream.
Hence the name of Fabolous' second offering Street Dreams. It was only 1998, when mixtape king, DJ Clue, had Fabolous spontaneously rhyme live, for millions of people, on Clue's New York City radio show. Before that moment of fate, Fabolous was simply John Jackson, a quiet kid from Brooklyn's Brevoort Houses. But Clue fell in love with Fabolous' slow, hypnotic, and concentrated flow. Next thing Fabolous knew, he was the featured artist on Clue mixtapes, landing a record deal and heading out on the fifty-city Hard Knock Life Tour. And for Christmas 2002? Fab's infamous, trademark sneer appeared on the cover of The Source. This kind of success only happens in dreams. And when they come true, they'll change your life forever. Everybody changes even though they say they won't. You go from being a kid to a grown person, he says. It's a lifestyle change. And you have to be prepared for it.
Street Dreams isn't just about Fabolous' fantasies come true. It's a combination of his experiences and growth between the making of his first album, Ghetto Fabolous, and the creation of gem number two Street Dreams. It's the same kind of music. But there's a little maturity to it now. Places I've been. Things I've done, he explains. With Ghetto Fabolous I was just a person making an album and trying to achieve what I wanted to do. And now that I'm successful, Street Dreams is the album after the success. But in reality, Street Dreams will undoubtedly continue Fabolous' impressive track record.
Unforgettable tracks like the Kanye West produced hit My Life, features Mary J. Blige. Sampling the hook from Mary's debut album What's the 411, the standout track fuses blazing beats with Fab's bold honesty and magically manages to be hardcore and smooth at the same time. The acoustic guitar licks on Bad B*tch help set a laid back tone to Fabolous' recollection of a memorable night with two special women, a joint that reminds you that being charmingly cocky and truthful is a feat that only Fabolous can make seem easy. So Into You, features an appearance by the chart-topping princess Ashanti. The remake of Tamia's hit is soulful enough for the ladies and grimy enough for even the toughest thug. Missy moves Fab to endless wit on the out of control track Sickalicious. And the funny tale on the Trackmasters produced Call Me, tells the story of a fan turned stalker. But all Fabolous will say about the story is, I've had girls do all types of crazy things. Fab also reunites with the always-provocative Lil Mo on Can't Let You Go, a track that also introduces newcomer Mike Shorey. The duo kick-started Fabolous' soaring career with their back-and-forth on Lil Mo's smash hit Superwoman, Part 2, from Mo's debut album, Based On A True Story.
Party tracks like Damn, And This is My Party, are already enjoying regular burn on the FM side. While a subtle message to those that mistakenly think that Fab may have lost his focus comes on the song Change You or Change Me, when he testifies, Why would I change/ I Ain't step out of Superman's booth/ To remind me where I'm from, I look at my own tooth. It's about how people say you changed but in reality they the ones that changed, he says. Like 'Did my success change me or did it change you?' A lot of people change and their perceptions of you changes.
With Street Dreams, Fabolous is a little different. He's older. Wiser. More perceptive. And more aware of what he wants to do and what he needs to do. This time around, Fab knows it's okay to dream and have fun. But he's also learned that after cloud nine clears; you better have your business in mind. I try to motivate street people, make them focus on what they want to do. At a certain point in life, you have to get focused, he says. Before pausing and adding with a smile, And if I'm dreaming, I don't want to wake up.
--- from the official Fabolous website