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Jadakiss

Kiss Tha Game Goodbye  Hear it Now

RS: 3.5of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 5of 5 Stars

2001

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On his debut solo album, Jadakiss comes across as a ghetto warlord in a land of drugs, guns and sex - in other words, your typical New York street rapper. The Lox frontman opens with "Jada's Got a Gun," toasting his collection of firearms like they were children's toys. Over a juke-joint blues-piano riff on "Fuckin' or What?," he asks a question that usually follows dinner and a movie; when he does get the girl, on the Neptunes-produced jam "Knock Yourself Out," he further objectifies her by showering her with gifts.

Somehow, Jadakiss is a compelling enough MC to get away with all these social transgressions and hip-hop cliches. His congested, barely-out-of-puberty voice shades his chest-thumping braggadocio with a roguish innocence. On "I'm a Gangsta," Jadakiss qualifies his thug status by admitting, "I do a lot of reading and only eat pasta/Shrimp fettuccine and penne alla vodka." And you can't help but smile when this former drug dealer calls himself the "Bobby Womack of crack." Jadakiss also likes to play the army general to his boys in the hood, and he does it convincingly, on the anthemic "We Gonna Make It," as well as on "Show Discipline," where he rhymes, "I'd rather be broke together than rich alone." His devotional fervor makes you want to join his us-against-them struggle, even if you're not sure who the "them" is.

Underscoring his status as a versatile cameo king (he's rapped with everyone from Mary J. Blige to DMX), Jadakiss recruits a variety of beat makers as the soundtrack for his stories, from Timbaland's stuttering digifunk to the classic styles of DJ Premier. On "Cruisin'," Jadakiss raps West Coast slang with Snoop Dogg; with "What You Ride For?" he dips into Southern gangsta patois with Eightball. In the hands of another rapper, these paint-by-numbers popularity plays would seem disingenuous. But Jadakiss makes them work. For now, at least, the streets are his.

JOSEPH PATEL
(RS 877 - September 13, 2001)



(Posted: Aug 20, 2001)

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