Written by Damon Washington @damontimeisillmatic
Photo by TheSun.com
“I’m an impeccable lyricist, and with the right mechanics I could take over, be clear of this, they well aware of Kiss, the light of the city, and I ain’t on the label no more, but I’m tighter with Diddy. I got my own plan, handle mine like a grown man, long as I know I’m nice, fuck it, I’m my own fan” – Jadakiss
After the LOX pulverization of the Dip Set during a recent match up on Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz series, everybody was raving about their dominant performance. Their existing fanbase was reminded of why they originally fell in love with the thugged-out Yonkers, New York threesome (comprised of Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch), and a new younger audience would be introduced to the group’s music as well. And while the LOX as a group received lots of love for the well-organized and executed performance, it was clear that one of the three shined brighter than the rest. Jadakiss.
Jadakiss and his LOX bredrin (formerly known as the Warlox) started making their name in the game back in the early nineties. The first time I heard Jadakiss rhyme was during his cameo on Main Source’s “Set It Off” from their Fuck What You Think album. Around that same time the Lox would become a group and a few years later would sign with Puff Daddy, becoming a part of his Bad Boy roster. The LOX would release their debut album, Money, Power & Respect on Bad Boy in ‘98, before falling out with Puff Daddy (a fallout that according to legend left Styles P throwing a chair at the music mogul) and later joining the Ruff Ryders crew, where they would release, We Are The Streets in 2000. Both projects would help lay a solid foundation for the group and lead to Jadakiss becoming the breakout star of the trio and launching his solo career.
Armed with a cool persona, distinctive raspy voice, signature adlib (Ahaa!) and chiseled street rhymes, Jadakiss made it clear that he was a force to be reckoned with on the mic. He would become involved in beefs with the likes of 50 Cent and Beanie Sigel, coming out of both verbal wars unscathed (although rumor has it that the beef with Beanie did get a little physical between each of their crews), while earning the respect and collaborating with hip-hop’s hottest and upper echelon emcees (i.e., Biggie, DMX, Nas, Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few). Not only is Jadakiss battled tested, street credible and a sick emcee, but he also proved that he could sell records, as both of his first two solo albums (Kiss Tha Game Goodbye (‘01) and Kiss Of Death (‘04)) would earn him gold plaques.
I’ll admit, I was late getting on the Jadakiss bandwagon. Probably because he came up in an era with a massive amount of other talented and flashier emcees. On several occasions, Jada’s made it clear through his music that he felt underappreciated by the fans and industry, and in 2015 he would release his fourth solo album, Top 5 Dead Or Live as a statement to where he felt he belonged in the conversation of elite emcees. I don’t know if I’d place him in the top five, but I do believe that Jadakiss would give any of the five on that list a run for their money.
Here’s a list of my personal favorite Jadakiss records from his solo albums: Kiss Tha Game Goodbye (’01): “Show Discipline”, “We Gonna Make It”, “Keep Your Head Up”,
“None Of Y’all Betta”. Kiss Of Death (’04): “Why?”, “Times Up”, “Hot Sauce To Go”, “Real Hip Hop”, “By Your Side”. The Last Kiss (’09): “Pain & Torture”, “Things I’ve Been Through”, “Smoking Gun”. Top 5 Dead Or Alive (’15): “First 48”, “You Don’t Eat”, “Synergy”, “Rain”. Ignatius (’20): “Huntin Season”, “(NYB) Need Your Best”, “Angels Getting Pedicured”.
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Photo by TheGazette.com
Photo by Madame Noire