Anyone who is a fan of hip-hop knows the legacy of Jadakiss, The LOX and D-Block. Ten years ago, on June 22, 2004, a then-29-year-old ‘Kiss released Kiss Of Death, which showcased his growth as a vivid street lyricist. While most rappers are affected by the sophomore slump, the Yonkers native’s second effort fared much better than his debut, 2001′s Kiss The Game Goodbye. It was his most well-rounded LP, featuring an array of rappers and producers; Kanye West, Eminem, The Neptunes, Anthony Hamilton, Nate Dogg and Mariah Carey all offer their talents, but Jada is front and center as the star.
Kiss Of Death balances gangsta narratives with his take on consistently grinding to be the best. At the time, Jadakiss was fully removed from Bad Boy Records and had made Ruff Ryders his home. With more creative freedom in his new label situation, Jada went to work on an album that he dedicated to his core fans while honoring the teachings of Puff Daddy and The Notorious B.I.G. ”[I was] trying to hold it down for Biggie—just going off the things he instilled in me and taught me,” Jada says. “[He] put me up on the game, as well as Diddy, as well as Ruff Ryders, as well as being raised and born in Yonkers. Just trying to spit and represent and please my fanbase.”
Tracks like “Time’s Up,” “Why” and “Real Hip-Hop” serve as proof that he exceeded those goals. Now one of the veterans of New York rap, Jada can look back at Kiss Of Death as a project that helped him build a solid reputation as a solo MC beyond the groundwork he laid down with his LOX brethren Styles P and Sheek Louch. Here, Jadakiss delves into Kiss Of Death, breaking down fan criticisms, the singles, and how it impacted his career 10 years later. Welcome to D-Block. —Eric Diep