If skills sold, Jadakiss would be a superstar. Lyrically, theres no denying the talent of the Yonkers-bred rapper. Big told me Im nice. Hova. Nas. he says. All the people Ive been looking up to for years. Skills alone, however, wont guarantee Kiss the success he desires. He wants to do five mil.
But in order for Jada to transcend hip-hop middle ground and launch into the trajectory of New Yorks holy trinity of emcees, he has to deliver a classic album. His debut, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, produced uneven results as he attempted to be everything to everyone.
With the forthcoming Kiss Of Death, the sharp-shooting rapper tells AllHipHop.com the messages in his songs are certain to shock as he opens about his family, friends, and his son's growth. This is what hes about.
AllHipHop.com: Now thats youre embarking on your second album, what are your thoughts on how your debut turned out?
Jadakiss: I loved it. I appreciated it and all that, but I just knew that something was missing in there. Not the music, per se, but the machine. Thats the only thing that I feel was really missing. It did 200 [thousand] something the first week. And my s**t was out for about two months prior! But I still didnt feel I had the Interscope love behind me.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think its different now?
Jadakiss: Yeah, yeah, thats definitely different now. I had to present the music to Jimmy Iovine, the whole L.A. staff. Theres a whole bunch of people that was there last time that I wasnt even introduced to them, so that alone showed me that they with me. All I got to do is deliver the music and once the machine is behind me and Im ready to work, I should be good.
AllHipHop.com: When you said you got them behind you, was that something you did yourself? Did you go around introducing yourself to everybody? Or did they step up?
Jadakiss: I think I was pretty much of an a**hole last time. I dont know what it was. This is a game that goes off of relationships and favors and theres a lot of emotions involved. Last time Ruff Ryders was more hotter than they are now, so it could have been that. I dont know what it was, but whatever it is Im trying to keep that relationship sealed airtight.
AllHipHop.com: I heard you on Funk Flexs show on Hot 97 recently and you were disgruntled about the industry and your career. Id be correct in saying you want to be a bigger star than you are right now, right?
Jadakiss: No doubt.
AllHipHop.com: Considering that then, why do you stay out of the limelight and lay low? People say nobody really knows you as a person.
Jadakiss: I been laying low for a while, because I want everything right. Im a Gemini, so sometimes I can flip and be hands on, but for the most part I just like say, F*ck it, and fall back. And I do something else or just stay away. [Pauses to think] This time I dont know, man. Its just I dont know. You gotta . I really was getting my business right. No matter how much you think you learn theres still a whole bunch of other sh*t you got that takes place. I was getting my manager right. My lawyer right. Just trying to get the whole movement right, so I can become that star that I wanna be. And just take it and run with from here. Because Im fortunate to always have a second chance or a third chance or whatever the opportunity is that I got. I know I aint gonna keep getting it. So I just wanna be right. As far as being the star I wanna be, I am the star I wanna be.
AllHipHop.com: Or maybe deserve to be
Jadakiss: Nah, I understand what you saying, but its the people. People come up to me, Yo, youre crazy. And that sh*t just starts f*cking with me after a while. Im just waiting for the sh*t to fall in place. Aint nothing come easy. Like, it takes a special person to grind. I did field work. I played the soldier. I did this and that, that and this. Its my just due. Its whats rightfully owed to me.
AllHipHop.com: Now that each member of the Lox put out a solo album, how would you rank them?
Jadakiss: Mine sold the most, and then came Styles, and then came Louch. But Styles recouped. Me and Louch didnt. Styles stayed under budget and all that. Thats a pointer that I got from him. And now this album I got way money left over. I actually had a bigger budget on my first album. We went to Miami, big mansion, big rental car, big living it up, maids, and butlers. That was an experience. Thats whats good about the Lox, we teach each other. I did all that and SP was able to share that experience and then when he did his shit he kept it straight in the studio. He recouped, so I learned that for this one. I aint gonna live it up that much. Ima stay in here and grind out and next one we have our own shit and make the album in Brazil! You got to learn off your mistakes and what people is doing. And just take it and be positive and take it to the next level.
AllHipHop.com: Why a Kiss album and not another Lox album?
Jadakiss: Basically, thats how Interscope wanted it right now. They want the Lox album, dont get me wrong. They want that shit, but it just be us pushing it off and everything.
AllHipHop.com: Topically, where are you going on this album?
Jadakiss: Just personal, like giving you more of my life, more current events, more grown up. All the family asking for money, my niggas getting locked up, and my son growingits all that. Thats why its gonna f*ck you up, because you still getting the young Jada, but its mixed with some other sh*t. Just showing maturity, like an artist is suppose to do on their second album. It shouldnt be sounding [exactly] the same; it should sound the same, but betternext level.
AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts on peoples lyrics resembling their lifestyle? For instance, did you hear about Beanie Sigel catching a charge for a gun rap?
Jadakiss: Yeah, I charge that to Em, 50, and DMX; people with that hardcore pain. Its like 50 switched the game to that, if you ask me. With the incident with him getting shot and he capitalized off it, people start thinking now whatever happened to you in your real life . I want to tell people about my life, but hopefully there aint no homicide or me telling them something for me to go sit down for the next 10 years. I just want you to grow where Im growing.
AllHipHop.com: With your album, do you look at like a New York hip-hop album, or do you think it has a larger sound to it?
Jadakiss: Of course its for the hood. The basis of it. But, Thats one of the gifts of that I got, of being able to come into the next mans world. White America. They accepted me, somewhat. Now Im just gonna see how they accepted me.
AllHipHop.com: Are New York rappers reaching out too much to get the Down South sound or the West Coast song?
Jadakiss: Nah, we need the West. New York is hurting on the West. Thats why I went with the Nate Dogg single first. Thats a part of the game that New York is lacking. Hip-hop started from New York, so it aint that much reaching out. It dont matter who you do a song with, its gonna be New York. I dont care how it sound, Ima make it sound like New York.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned the Ruff Ryders not being as hot as they once were, so whats the status on everybodys relationship? You got Swizz doing Full Surface, DMX doing Bloodline, and yall got D-Bock.
Jadakiss: Ruff Ryders really made history. They came from the street and made a dynasty. They got X with five, six movies deals. Eves in Hollywood. The Lox is a nice household name. So they did, as mothers that raise kids, they did they job. Its just that when we had the tragedy when Dee went down, it brought the company down a little but. But they got new deals and everything is looking good. And then I got the R on my back. Its on me to bring it back to where it was at. I love that. Thats what we doing right now.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think everybody branching out to do their own thing will eventually cause Ruff Ryders to fold?
Jadakiss: Nah, because we did it to keep the money in a circle. Hopefully, if they are down, they got D-Block to bring them back. They got Full Surface, we got Eve everywhere, its never going to go down. The plan was to put people everywhere for a rainy day.