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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

JADAKISS - KISS OF DEATH 

Album: Kiss Of Death
Artist: Jadakiss
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Jadakiss has been anointed by some as the heir apparent to the King of New York throne left vacant when Jay-Z 'retired' (Riiight, and Tupac's still alive chilling in Cuba). Does Jada's sophomore album live up to all this hype? In all honesty, I'm not sure. I love Why and a few of the other jams, but I don't know if it works on the whole. Jada has plenty of talent, there's no denying that. He can rhyme his ass off and is clever with his lyrics, but he's still trying to find a formula that's going to work for him. As a testament to how much buzz Jada has right now, this album uses a different big name producer for almost every song, and as a result it sounds disjointed despite Jada's solid effort on each track.

The album kicks off with a typical NYC club track in the so-so What You So Mad At??, but the next track is the DJ Quik produced Shine that features Quik and Snoop sharing mic time with Jada. Believe me, I love the Quikster, I have three DJ Quik cassette tapes and a CD, but this comes right out of left field with Jada's gritty image. Maybe this is a good thing, giving people a little something different. Jada does sound better on Scott Storch's west coast flavoured Times Up with Nate Dogg on the hook. I like this song, but it kind of sounds like Mr. Storch just cut up different parts of Next Episode and Still A G Thing and blended them together. But I'll digress, it seems to work.

As I mentioned I love Why with Anthony Hamilton's soulful hook and Mobb Deep's Havoc providing a simple but catchy track. The whole 'why' gimmick could have been cheesy, but Jada's flow makes it work. In the irony department there's Real Hip Hop which features fellow LOX alum Sheek Louch and has probably the most un-hip hop beat going. Swizz Beats comes from nowhere with a crazy bongo and violin paced beat that features what I believe is a Kool Keith sample in the chrorus. I'm loving this one. I also like the 'Oh Boy' sounding By Your Side, the Kanye West featuring Gettin It In, and the title track Kiss Of Death produced by the ominous-sounding Red Spyda.

Those are my highlights I guess, so here's some I didn't enjoy. U Make Me Wanna features Mariah 'Crazy' Carey for some reason and it makes me wanna skip to the next track. I'm not feeling the Neptunes Hot Sauce To Go, it sounds like something they would've done for Timbersnake or Beyonce. Shoot Outs featuring Styles P of the LOX is produced by someone named Elite and sounds exactly like a movie trailer with some crap guitar and gun shots going off. Not sure how this made the cut. Welcome To D-Block is a decent jam that features the LOX together and is produced by Eminem. It's basically them talking about how tough their hood of Yonkers is, but features of verse from Eminem telling us how tough Yonkers is. They could've left the blonde bomber off that one.

So in the end I think this is a decent album, but Jada is perhaps an album or 2 away from really nailing it. He's doing some jams now to get over with the mainstream crowd, and I can appreciate that. Jay opened with a classic but them had some so-so efforts while he tried to crack the big time. But he came around and I think Jada will too, he certainly has the talent to make it happen.

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