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Jadakiss: The Last Kiss

The Last Kiss
(Roc-a-fella/Def Jam)

Mainstream success is pretty tough to come by these days, especially for a street-bred lyricist. Although his 2001 solo shot Kiss Tha Game Goodbye has sold over 933,000 units, Jadakiss didn’t score a crossover hit until 2004’s “Why.” The politically charged single propelled the Yonkers, New York, rapper’s sophomore disc, Kiss of Death, past platinum. After a five-year hiatus, Jada once again looks to crack radio’s fickle sound barrier with bullying bars, on The Last Kiss.

Al Qaeda Jada’s first stab at commercial spins comes courtesy of the E. Hudson–produced “By My Side,” where he spits drab slick talk to a shortie, while singer Ne-Yo carries the hook. ’Kiss fares much better alongside producer Neo Da Matrix on the Diana Ross–sampling mixshow banger “Can’t Stop Me.” Backed by subtle horns and sturdy drums, Jada delivers a more suitable anthem that lives up to his lyrical pedigree (“.45 on the other side of the peephole/Head shot from point-blank, call it a free throw/Funny ’cause I had the vision since Coleco/Back then, still ain’t reach my peak, though”).

True. Despite his claims of being one of the top five dead or alive, Jadakiss has yet to apex. In an effort to change his altitude, The LOX front man ups the ante with more personal reflection. The self-explanatory Faith Evans duet “Letter to B.I.G.” paints a poignant portrait of the current state of hip-hop for the deceased Frank White, while the somber “Things I’ve Been Through” is ’Kiss’s oral résumé sandwiched between a hypnotic Luther Vandross vocal loop. The album’s true gem, though, is the Jazmine Sullivan–guested “Smoking Gun,” a cautionary tale about a Black girl lost.

For all his forward progress, Jada still regresses with unfocused fodder, like the disjointed Styles P collabo “One More Step” and the misplaced reggae turn “Times Hard.” Although he regains his footing with the lyrical workout “Cartel Gathering,” Jadakiss ultimately remains on similar ground—more midstream than mainstream. —ANSLEM SAMUEL

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  • Pierzy

    I feel like he has way too man r&b songs with females on the hooks. The joint with SP is sick but the beat doesn’t fit the rhymes at all. It’s unfortunate that songs like “Cartel Gathering” and “Come and Get Me” are so rare between all of the singing and flossing…

  • joe p

    i agree way to many featured artists on the album … i would give it a L tho

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  • Crash

    Solid album. Jada’s content > hot singles.

    Havent heard a solid album since Nas’ Untitled.

  • Stevie B

    The Jada album is fire to me
    Smoking Gun
    I Tried
    The Luther Joint
    The one wit mary j
    Can’t stop me those are more inspirational records to me anyway way
    cartel gathering is fire so is the joint wit sp and the track wit louch.
    And I really like the joint wit Jeezy too
    And the production was hot to me the album blends together seamless.
    Im really suprised people do not like it

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    Lyricists these days are sufferring b’cuz mainstream audiance are concerned with hooks & sing-along rhymes.

    Reason y everybody is on a bandwagon with terrible results & way 2 many features.

    Rather buy a complitation disc/download as they are’nt any mo’ classics but just hypes & bubblegums.

    What d’ya fruits think?

  • http://xxlmag jb

    People r always bitching and whining about something. So what he has alot of features! What albums had more features then Hard Knock Life or Dre’s Chronic’s? Last I check Jada wasn’t getting outshined on his own songs so he did his thing.

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  • Yayza

    There was no debate beforehand about whether or not XXL’s ratings were influenced by record label’s input (remember when they gave Hurricane Chris an XL?), but this is just shameful. Anybody who’s listened to this record start to finish will honestly tell you it’s trash. There are a few hot tracks, I’ll admit that, but as far as a whole album is concerned, this shit does not fly. Sad really, but this is almost as bad as The Source’s shenanigans.

  • ryde or die

    Hard Times or “Times Hard” as xxl state it wasnt even on the album!!! But overall its a solid album, could have done without “I Tried” and “Something Else Remix” but still my favorite album so far this year along with Padded Room…Just waiting for the 2 DMX albums.

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