As his fourth solo studio album, Top 5 Dead Or Alive, continues to take shape, Yonkers-bred MC Jadakiss hits fans with a solid Consignment to hold them over in the meantime. Consignment—which according to The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ten Crack Commandments," is “Strictly for live men, not for freshmen” (a line that Kiss channels on the intro)—finds the raspy rhymeslinger dealing with an array of collaborators in the sort of fashion a street chemist would with trusted connections, though firmly standing his own ground.
"I'm in the trap till the sky change/Drug dealer nightmare, millionaire migraines," Jada raps on the tape's opener "Nightmares & Migraines." Here, he reports live from the trap on this paranoia-ridden tale over a sulking backdrop pocketed with a smooth digital synth and bombastic drum pattern. "Before I sold a record I was platinum in the trenches/Before I got in the game I started on the benches...Up all hours of the night peeking through the blind, now you only communicate through ya nine."
Known for always flaunting his street-credibility while exuding pithier witticism, melodic flow and gutter style, 40 Cal Kiss kicks the real on joints like the jiggy A$AP Rocky & Swizz Beatz (remixed) “Street Knock,” the Lloyd Banks & Fabolous-assisted “Respect It,” “Count It” with 2 Chainz and Styles P, among others. Tracks like the murky Jahlil Beats-produced "Paper Tags"—which sounds like something out of a chilling scene from HBO's "The Wire" series—or the fitting trapstar road trip anthem "Traffickin" featuring Yo Gotti and Young Jeezy—who sounds like he's in Tm 101mode— make for repeated listens. The signature tag-team skill shared between Kiss and fellow Lox counterpart, Styles P shines on Consignment especially on the corner-boy favorite "Dope Boy." "Same shit that made Ray Charles write them hooks/and Donald Goines write them books/If its good get it off, 'cause if you got you a bunch/Could become a millionaire in a matter of months" the two rap with their signature in-and-out flow.
Aside from those tunes, fans will find the tape's highlights to be on "Without You," where 'Kiss sends a lyrical kite to a friend locked up in the pen, as well as the 'moment of clarity' expressed on "Cuz We Paid." It's here that Jada shows his, for lack of a better word, growth. Offering wisdom and insightful rhymes about life's prowls just as an OG schooling/teaching a young cat.
Consignment's overflowing guest appearances, which features the likes of Young Jeezy, Meek Mill, French Montana, Ace Hood, Trae Tha Truth and more, gets uncomfortable after the first half of the tape, making what's headlined as a Jadakiss mixtape sound more like a Jadakiss & Friends project. It becomes a bit of a burden at times, and getting the full Kiss experience becomes tougher. Considering his past mixtapes that featured hard-hitting production joints like "Champ Is Here," "Ten Toes Down" or "Pay Attention"—the beats on Consignment aren't consistently up to par with the potency of Jada's bars or the weight of the names of his guests.
Despite the cons, the 'tape is filled with more wins than L's for Kiss, whose mixtape resume along with skills on the mic is nothing to sneeze at. It's not his best work, but it has enough heaters to keep this veteran relevant as he continues the grind towards his next album. "I'm just one-third of the Trinity/Top 5 when you think of rap," he boasts. —Ralph Bristout