Jadakiss: Surviving The Game
Jadakiss has survived the Bad Boy era, successfully gone head up with 50 Cent up and remains in the rap game after being on playing field over 10 years. The feat is about as rare as a 40-year-old virgin in Las Vegas. Yet, Kiss has endured as one of the most versatile and respected rap artists in the game. Sure, hes taken his lumps, but hes on the verge of his personal apex.
At a recent stop in Philadelphia, Jadakiss helped others strive. The Yonkers representative patiently sat on a panel for over two hours and shared the wisdom hes accumulated over the years. There were no stupid questions from the up-and-coming artists, only real answers from the emcee.
In a conference room that seemed to be over 100 degrees, Kiss talked to AllHipHop.com as he was being mobbed by fans.
AllHipHop.com: With the state of the economy and the music industry as a whole, what have you had to do differently with The Last Kiss?
Jadakiss: Everybody wants to sell a million records but that's just the least of it. You've gotta get sponsors, I have Ciroc and The Source. Not to mention I'm going to stay on this tour bus until the wheels fall off! I keep doing shows and arenas and then I'm hopping on a tour. You have to stay on the road and do other things. The sales of the actual physical album are down, you cannot just play on that like its the only card in your hand. You have to have to some other Trump card to fall back on. I even have a reality TV show coming on BET.
AllHipHop.com: What's the show focusing on?
Jadakiss: I'm looking for my next DJ. I go to Philly, Chicago, Atlanta across the whole nation looking for the hottest upcoming DJ. I'm going to bring them back to Y.O. for some a la Diddy "Making the Band" type of shit. They're gonna go thru a gang of competitions and who wins gets to be my next DJ.
AllHipHop.com: Whats special with The Last Kiss?
Jadakiss: This album is Gatorade in a CD form thats going to put the electrolytes back in Northeastern Hip-Hop. (Laughs) Everything is going fall into place. Mad artists from my era and the region are going to feel comfortable and not be nervous about dropping albums. No disrespect to ringtone artists or the Autoune machine, but there was a whole body of music before that. I think these young kids need to embrace it and know about it. I want to let the Soulja Boy fans know that its other types of genres of music.
AllHipHop.com: R&B artists love to grab you for their remix's. You killed on Usher's "Throwback" remix, Jaheim's "Diamond in the Ruff" remix and most recently Slim's "I'm So Fly." How are you that dude with the remixes?
Jadakiss: Thats how I do it (laughs). I'm LL Cool 'Kiss. Ross just called me for the "Magnificent" remix. I'm about to get on a Cassie song. I'm just doing every thing, you might here me on all kinds of songs. This tour bus is for new artists but I'm doing everything hands on. I'm working with program directors, on-air personalities. Being from the old school I know how important it is to be hands on.
AllHipHop.com: What other projects are you focusing on?
Jadakiss: I'm doing some voiceovers. I wouldn't mind being on the next Shrek or Kung Foo Panda. Any of those animated joints I would get down with. I'm also shooting a movie at the end of this month with Clifton Powell in Orlando. Being an artist is just a stepping stone, a platform
AllHipHop.com: Kind of like an investment?
Jadakiss: Yeah like an investment to build your brand. You can then go out and do movies, get endorsements, and then move along to do things.
AllHipHop.com: Recently you were on a radio station saying how you can now appreciate getting "Diddy Bopped" by Puffy back in the day. Explain that.
Jadakiss: A lot of people think its a lot of bitterness with the whole Bad Boy situation. We [The LOX] were young kids that were anxious to get in the game. In return we signed some contracts that weren't beneficial to us but we cant have a gripe with Puff Daddy for the rest of our lives because it was business. It was our responsibility to know that we signed a wrong contract. He probably respects us even more for even finding out [we had a bad contract]. Thats how the Ciroc endorsement deal is in place. You learn as you grow.
AllHipHop.com: When it comes to signing contracts, what's the number thing you have to look out for?
Jadakiss: As a new artist getting in the game you should really try not to take that much money from the label. You should have some sort of plan down. The studio time, production and songs should already be there. You should take a little bit of label money and then just get paid off the back end.
AllHipHop.com: You have been known to drop a few mob movie references in your music that some people might not get until later on. For instance your line, Im a do this just like Tony did it to Frank. I never knew what that meant until I saw Scarface!
Jadakiss: I got a lot lyrics that you might not even catch until about 5 years from now. Thats my thing as a artist. I like to use a lot musical and biblical references. Basically, I stay tuned with current events.
AllHipHop.com: How are you feeling about the current music scene?
Jadakiss: The kids are controlling the music scene right now. They can't go to the club to see what happens, but they can still see it on the web. You have to cater to them. I have a son thats 12 years old and a daughter thats 5. Their opinion counts a lot to me. I let them hear songs and look at videos. Nobody is more honest than a kid. If they dont like it, they dont like it. Its good to be in tuned with everything.
AllHipHop.com: What's your take on the all the new artists?
Jadakiss: Everybody up and coming, Maino, Red Café, Charles Hamilton, Asher Roth and all the new kids coming out are hot! I'm doing a remix of "Can't Stop Me" with all the new cats. For instance, I like Asher, his flow and energy. He came on in his own lane, as the college kid. Everybody can relate to his track "I Love College," parents, music executives and anyone who experienced that life. He got a good one with that.
AllHipHop.com: Mary J. Blige was also very instrumental in your career. Many people dont know this but she was the one that brought The LOX to Puffy and the rest is history. What has she taught you?
Jadakiss: MJB is very biblical. She played a big part in our career. She taught us to always stay tight with family and watch out for these labels and all the sheistiness and to just do you.
AllHipHop.com: Being that youre a Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam artist, what's the best advice Jay-Z has given you?
Jadakiss: Jay -Z once told me that it takes a special person to grind. Thats probably some of the realist talk he's ever given me. What that means is you dont want to go all the way to the top right away. If you keep going higher and higher each step that makes the book much better, the movie better. When you're sitting there talking to your kids and grandkids about obstacles and hurdles you went thru in your career its better if you have a story to tell.
AllHipHop.com: What is best advice that Biggie ever gave you?
Jadakiss: B.I.G. gave me the best advice about just hard. I saw Biggie one time at The Apollo during my early L.O.X. days. He told me that he was just sitting around and wasnt supposed to perform that night but he did it anyway. Basically that taught me not to turn down anything. [Biggie] could have just sat at the crib in Jersey and not done anything but he did that show anyway. We are here to not take things for granted. Everything counts. I try to hold on to advice that anybody has given me, I'm like a sponge I soak it up.