“The Champ Is Here” – Muhammad Ali
Don’t call it a comeback. Jadakiss has been here for years.
Backstage in a legendary venue, The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, is swarming with people. Local VIPs, promoters, workers, and even well-connected fans circle the green room that would eventually house Jadakiss.
When Jadakiss comes through, the celebrities show up. E-Ness, Dutchie, Peedi Crakk, Freeway, Lil Cease, and others. His manager makes sure everything is proper, including security. Anybody without the proper credentials is removed from the area.
On the floor is a gigantic trophy that needed a seatbelt to get to the venue. The award, which looks like a Stanley Cup, was the biggest trophy AllHipHop could find because to us, Jadakiss gave us one of the purest, unapologetically Hip-Hop moments of the year in Verzuz – The Lox against The Diplomats.
Way before the faux Time magazine meme circulated on social media, Jigsaw and Grouchy bestowed Jadakiss – on behalf of the culture – with the award: AllHipHop’s Person of the Year.
“Kiss, we want to send you the utmost respect and salute you for what you’ve done to the game – this year alone. With that Verzuz – you and The Lox – you revitalized the game with that. We wanted to say ‘the champ is here’ in Wilmington, Delaware. AllHipHop’s 2021 Person of the Year.”
Jadakiss’s display at Verzuz, which took place in Madison Square Garden, was electrifying, mesmerizing, and amazing. The king’s generalship has not been seen like this in a long time, if ever. And, Verzuz – which already had changed the game, was permanently maligned after Jada and The Lox tore it down.
After, we saw Ja Rule and Fat Joe, Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One, and Three 6 Mafia and Bone Thug-N-Harmony take on a more vicious, competitive vibe.
After the Dipset/ Lox battle, there were memes, online analysis, and commentary for weeks and weeks. Everybody was watching, both old and new. OGs tightened up their shows, and younger artists studied the masters.
At the Queen, Grouchy Greg graciously hands Jadakiss the keepsake of achievement in front of a small audience within the green room.
“Me, myself and my brothers, we don’t get much accolades or recognition for whatever we’ve done for the culture, but we ain’t even in it for that,” Jadakiss told the room. But, AllHipHop, we appreciate the recognition. We appreciate the love. We knew what it is before, even if you didn’t come bearing such a great trophy, it would’ve been all love. And I just want to say I appreciate it.”
And he’s right. This honor is the apex culmination of years and years of writing, the albums, cameos, performances, beefs, bonding, and even practice. And love and respect. After getting his award, “Kiss and friends” went on to rock hit after hit and freestyle after freestyle in The Queen at a sold-out, peaceful event that all will remember.
So, he may be the Person of the Year in 2021, but we know it began way before that. Respect and salute from The Culture.
The Champ is here. Still.