Jadakiss: The Last Kiss

By Monique B.  |  02/24/2009

JadakissYonkers, New York has been home to some of the most influential artists music could ever witness. Rap groups have been infamous to break up, due to money or jealousy throughout hip-hop's history, but the story of Jayson "Jadakiss" Phillips speaks of loyalty, growth and wisdom.

Thanks to being discovered by the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige, hip-hop wouldn't have seen The LOX in all of their glory and their struggles. Jadakiss, along with his longtime comrades Sheek Louch and Styles P, signed to Bad Boy -- where they became a platinum selling group with their debut album Money, Power & Respect (1998). All wasn't perfect in paradise when The LOX went on the Angie Martinez radio show in New York to air their personal grievances against Sean Combs and his business tactics. Once the group severed alliances with Bad Boy, the well respected trio went on to join the Ruff Ryderz, releasing their second album called We Are The Streets (2000).

In 2001, Jadakiss went on to release his first solo album Kiss The Game Goodbye, bringing hits along such as "We Gonna Make it" and "Knock Yourself Out." Kiss of Death, his sophomore album, was released in 2004 where his most notable songs "Why" and "U Make Me Wanna" topped the charts. Since then, fans have been lucky hear Jadakiss on popular remixes, while the D-Block affiliate has been absent battling legal issues and industry politics.

Finally ending his long hiatus, the new Def Jam signee is ready to be a contender in today's music climate by setting the tone of his return with his DJ Green Lantern hosted mixtape called Kiss My Ass, currently available as we speak. March 10th marks the arrival of his third album, The Last Kiss, as the first single "Right By My Side" featuring Ne-Yo continues to grace the airwaves. Has the raspy, vest wearing Yonkers rapper changed at all? After going into detail on certain topics, a little change isn't such a bad thing after all.

BallerStatus.com: Your album is finally coming out after being pushed back. Do you personally feel like your album needed more work?

Jadakiss: Nah, it wasn't the album, it was the momentum. I needed to get some momentum running. The Ne-Yo song was good, but it wasn't enough to drop the album after that. The "Letter To B.I.G." picked up the momentum along with some more songs with Ryan Leslie and just being all over the place was how we get the momentum I need. The album is solid though.

BallerStatus.com: This year makes five years since you released a solo album. How have things been with you since then?

Jadakiss: I was fighting a gun charge for about a year, and I was switching labels from Interscope to Def Jam [and] that was about a year. I was doing shows for about two years and there goes your time frame. Yeah, the game has just changed though. I had to take a different approach with the websites and blogs, you know, had to get everything right.

BallerStatus.com: Are there songs on this album that people wouldn't expect to hear from you?

Jadakiss: Yeah, the Jasmine Sullivan joint. It's like about female abuse. I try to give you one of those with every album, just like a left wing song like, "Damn." "Why" was like that and ... I did the joint about female abuse 'cause it's something -- me being the type of artist that I am, you wouldn't even expect me to be on one of them topics, but ... I had the chance to meet a couple [of women] that been through some things that never really expressed it to nobody, except probably me and some other male friends. They never took it to the authorities or their mother didn't believe them. Like some incredible stories. So I'm like, "Yeah, I'm a do this joint." I actually have to finish that. I have to put a couple of more bars on that so, but um, yeah I try to give you one of them -- like, a left wing song and that's the one off this album called "Smoking Gun" with Jazmine Sullivan.

BallerStatus.com: Speaking of women, you have a way with finessing women with your lyrics and it's always appreciated. What inspires you most about women?

Jadakiss: First and foremost I come from strong black women, my mother and my grandmother. They're strong black women and they raised me up good. And besides that, I just know the value of women. Females buy albums, even with all this downloading and all of that. Before they go and get their hair and their nails done, if it's something that they've been liking that they been hearing throughout the week coming from work, they'll make sure they get that on Friday or Saturday before they go to the salon or after. I try to always acknowledge the women on my CD. That's why the Ne-Yo song went out first to let the ladies know I was coming back because they still buy CDs.

BallerStatus.com: That song is actually a hot record.

Jadakiss: Yeah, the ladies love it.

BallerStatus.com: Who actually came up with that idea? Was it you or was it Ne-Yo? Because both of you have a way with reaching out to the ladies.

Jadakiss: My man Icepick. It's a Tina Marie sample, like a play-over, and he had that song in his iPod for years called "I Need Your Lovin." So, once I got in with the producer, E. Hudson (who plays every instrument), he was able to play it a little. I was like "I need a nice hook on there," and Ne-Yo was perfect. He got such a way with words, so that was a good match. We on the same label, so it wasn't that hard to reach out to him and he came through and did a damn good job on there.

BallerStatus.com: Who did you work with on this album?

Jadakiss: Jasmine Sullivan, Weezy, Jeezy, Ghost and Rae, Styles P, Sheek Louch, Pharrell, Barrington Levy, Avery Storm ... I just try to make music that I feel. I don't try to do nothing out of my element. I don't try to do nothing that I shouldn't do.

BallerStatus.com: Would you ever do another collaboration with Jay-Z?

Jadakiss: Yeah. I want to do a lot of collaborations with Hov. I should be on The Blueprint 3. You might hear him on The Last Kiss. This is just the beginning. I'm still a brand new artist on Roc-A-Fella, so you're going to hear me on a whole lot of music.

BallerStatus.com: I don't know if you heard this recently, but Mark Curry is writing a memoir ...

Jadakiss: I just seen something online...

BallerStatus.com: Yeah, about Diddy and his ethics of business. I know in the past, you and The LOX were vocal about business with Diddy. What do you think about Mark Curry's accusations that he's made?

Jadakiss: Every artist is different. Every individual is different. That might be how he feel at the moment. We were very vocal about the publishing thing, which helped us out a little. Maybe it didn't help us out, but we just got hot headed and lost our cool a little because that ain't really the way to conduct business over the airwaves and we were able to work it out with Diddy. Maybe he got some different issues, maybe he feel some kind of way, or maybe he don't feel no way at all and just felt like doing a book since he never got to put out an album and that's how that went down.

BallerStatus.com: Do you think his business ethics are bad?

Jadakiss: Diddy learned from somebody else. Now that I'm grown and understand the game, I can't really be mad at what he learned. This business was here 100 years before Diddy became a CEO. He makes his business and his contracts beneficial for him, which there's nothing wrong with that. If you conducting business and you got the right lawyers that's telling you to write what these contracts are saying, at the end of the day, when you're signing any contract it should be beneficial for you. But if you're just blind to the fact and you're just happy to be down with Bad Boy like [The LOX] was 'cause it was so hot, we just signed some sh** we didn't really look at 'til two, three years later. And this is happening today. There's going to be a bunch of people making books like Mark Curry. There's going to be a bunch of more people riffing with label heads about publishing and money that's owed to them, so that's going to always go on, because if you don't pay attention, it's really on you. He can't do nothing contractually that you didn't agree to.

BallerStatus.com: I want to talk about what's been going on lately. Strictly from an artist's perspective, how do you feel about the manner in which other urban artists have been expressing their support for Obama?

Jadakiss: I think entertainers, artists and athletes played a major part in getting Obama elected. I'm 33 [and] this my first time voting. Even with the Diddy "Vote Or Die" campaign and the Paris Hilton, all of them, those were never enough. I think they wasn't reaching out to the youth, black and Latinos enough to make them want to vote. So once Obama got the chance to be the Democratic candidate, he made young people listen and if you old enough to vote, you said you was gonna vote. I think that was a good thing. I think the hip-hop community played a damn big part in getting him in there.

BallerStatus.com: You had experience with Bill O'Reilly in the past.

Jadakiss: He said something about Jeezy and Hov, right?

BallerStatus.com: Yeah.

Jadakiss: I think when you reach Bill O'Reilly, he ain't got nothing on the itinerary that day. His writers and his back staff ain't got nothing better to do. When your lyrics from one of your songs reach Bill O'Reilly though, I just think you hot. You doing the damn thing 'cause it's only a song.

BallerStatus.com: Do you think he has something against the artist themselves or the way their lyrics impacts people?

Jadakiss: Both.

BallerStatus.com: He went after you and the song "Why" over a line you said, which ended up having music channels pull your video.

Jadakiss: Yeah, you know, that just mean I was hot when that came out. He be trying to protect his ass with Bush, but Bush is outta here now. So he could do all the trying to save him he want, that White House is occupied by the Obama's right now. So leave us alone, Bill.

BallerStatus.com: In the event that he comes to target you again, would you show up on Bill O'Reilly's show?

Jadakiss: I would love to go on Bill O'Reilly's show.

BallerStatus.com: Do you think that Jeezy should go on the show? He declined going on the show.

Jadakiss: Bill wants him on there?

BallerStatus.com: Yes.

Jadakiss: He's gonna try to kill him? You just gotta -- see this is another thing. That's a great look. You know he's gonna come with some left wing bullsh**, but you gotta have some stuff prepared for him too. As long as they ain't editing it out and there ain't no funny money camera tricks and you get to express yourself as he is, I'd go on there with a suit, my specks on and I'll tear Bill O'Reilly's ass up. You can't be ignorant. They look at us as ignorant, which they shouldn't because we're successful just as any other entrepreneur or anybody doing any other craft. Some people only come across as ignorant, so it's only right to look at them as ignorant. But from a song? You just hating.

BallerStatus.com: Busta Rhymes said you and Jeezy were "stellar emcees" when he spoke about your parts on the "Conglomerate" song. What do you think about that compliment?

Jadakiss: I appreciate that. Busta is one of the pioneers of the game. I grew up off Leaders of the New School. Anytime artists show you love I appreciate it, 'cause this ain't a game where artists really like each other. There's a lot of phoniness, but some people are genuine. I can't say everybody phony. The majority's phony, but some are genuine. When anybody show me love, I just extend my hand and show it back to them.

BallerStatus.com: When is the LOX coming back out?

Jadakiss: This summer, hopefully. If the Lord spares our life, June, July we be out. We had a big meeting and it's going down, baby.