Jadakiss: The Last Kiss (Album Review)

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Jadakiss is one of the few emcees that reps New York, the Mecca of Hip Hop, to the fullest. Boasting that he’s “top 5, dead or alive, and that’s just off one LP”, Jadakiss has released two great albums, but has yet to deliver that undeniable classic record. After finalizing a deal that saw him signing with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records, Kiss went into the studio and begin to knock out records for his third album, Kiss My Ass. The album title was eventually changed to The Last Kiss, signifying the last time that Jada would include the word “kiss” in his album title. After being delay numerous times, Jadakiss is finally geared up to release his third studio LP, The Last Kiss. The only question is: Does he finish the Kiss trilogy with a bang….

The album certainly begins well with “Pain & Torture”, signaling Jadakiss’ return to hip hop after hiatus. Kiss gets busy over Buckwild’s production, proclaiming himself “a poet and an author that mixes slick talk, pain and torture.” Next up is Kiss’ second single, “Can’t Stop Me” featuring songstress Ayanna Irish and a soulful instrumental, laced by Neo Da Matrix. This joint is audio heatrocks or as Jada puts it “audio heroin, so you don’t OD”.

“Something Else” enters as a grimy, instant trunk rattler by heatmaker Don Cannon, formerly of the Aphilliates. Kiss even recruits cocaine connoisseur Young Jeezy to hop on the track who obliges, getting (ignorantly?) clever with lines like “I ain’t even did nothing / It look like I’m trafficking / See these blood diamonds, sir? / My chain African”. “What If” sees Queensbridge’s finest Nas contemplating the game of life with Jadakiss. Essentially a sequel to hit single “Why”, “What If” is an excellent track, but it also serves as proof that some things should be left alone.

“Things I Been Through” features an introspective Jadakiss reflecting on his experiences with the industry, from being screwed over by Diddy to his current joint deal with Roc-a-Fella and Def Jam. On “Rockin With The Best”, Jadakiss enlists Pharrell Williams and the Neptunes to provide a glossy backdrop that screams “next single” and is sure to be a hit in the clubs. Jada continues to impress on “Smoking Gun”, teaming with neo-soul newcomer Jazmine Sullivan for a conceptual record about women who have been victimized and abused and how Kiss has a “smoking barrel” waiting for the perpetrator.

Wu-Tang emcees Ghostface Killah and Raekwon the Chef join Jadakiss for “Cartel Gathering”, which finds each emcees spitting flames and Ghost stealing the show, showing why he’s among the most underrated and one of the greatest emcees to do it. The album ends on a pretty solid note with two excellent bonus cuts in “Letter to B.I.G.”, which is a heartfelt letter to the late great Frank White (The Notorious B.I.G.) and the sinister closer, “Death Wish”, which features Jadakiss at arguably his grimiest and yet another (cliche?) Lil’ Wayne guest appearance.

This album is virtually hit or miss. It features a mix of Jadakiss at his grimiest and Kiss trying to attract mainstream attention. At sixteen tracks (eighteen, counting the bonus cuts), the album features a vast amount of filler in joints like “I Tried”, “Stress Ya”, “Come and Get Me” and the remix to the monster cut “Something Else”. Not even the back and forth cut “One More Step” with fellow LOX member Styles P. lives up to similar cuts the duo has done like “We Gon’ Make It”. In the end, Jadakiss delivers a solid offering in The Last Kiss, but also the weakest in his collection and a miss with the final part of the Kiss trilogy.

3 mics (out of 5)

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