Jadakiss: D-Block Roc

When it comes to rap music, the motive to go from being the best on your block to top five dead or alive can be one of three words; money, power or respect. When it comes to New York street music, we want all of the above and do what needs to be done to […]

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When it comes to rap music, the motive to go from being the best on your block to top five dead or alive can be one of three words; money, power or respect. When it comes to New York street music, we want all of the above and do what needs to be done to get it. No one personifies the wordplay or bravado that you must possess to get it better than Jadakiss. After coming into the game as one third of the Lox, the Yonkers, NY native became an every hood favorite with the release of his two solo albums, 2001’s Kiss the Game Goodbye and 2004’s Kiss of Death trademark metaphors, punchlines, and ad libs earned him a cult like following. But as time went on people became less concerned with an MC’s rhymes and more impressed with the extravagance of his chain. With the industry turned upside down a vet has to make new alliances and build new bridges to be able to survive. So it shouldn’t have surprised you when you heard Jada is now on Roc-a-fella/Def Jam. New deals mean opportunities for new money and with the release of  his third solo album, Kiss My Ass, You’re going to see a new contender for one of greatest of all time.AllHipHop.com: You’re a veteran in the game and a co-owner of your own label. No disrespect to you or Jay-Z, but a lot of people were wondering what made you sign to another artist?   Jadakiss: I mean I’m signed to Def Jam too. If anything ever happens I’ll be right on Def Jam. It’s just that these new kids and the new ages, they just want to see something new. So that’s why I did that with the solo deal. Interscope wasn’t really doing it. I mean, 50 had that whole s**t on smash and I really didn’t feel like they we’re going to help me go to the next level so that left me looking for a new outlet. It ain’t like I need Hov. Not to say it like that but I need him for what I need him for. I don’t need him there at every session, I don’t need him to pick my beats…none of that. I just need him to make a couple phone calls, pull a couple strings, you know, let me get some of that power and put some sprinkles on me here and there.AllHipHop.com: With Def Jam noticably focused more on their R&B acts and Roc-A-Fella not being what it used to be….  Jadakiss: The whole game ain’t what it was but Def Jam is doing the best right now outside of the independent s**t. All labels are taking a hit right now. Everybody everywhere is down. It’s up to you to keep yourself afloat as much as you could because the labels don’t do s**t. They get on board when they hear you’re out there heating up. Once they know you’re hot, then they come aboard. They won’t heat you up. If you ain’t got no staff and you ain’t trying to work your own stuff you’re going to be up s**t’s creek.AllHipHop.com: So you’re confident Def Jam will give you the push you need to reach that next level? Jadakiss: I’ll see. It’s worth it to try than stay somewhere where they ain’t helping me out. Why stay there? F**k it, let’s try the hand elsewhere. Chances make champions.AllHipHop.com: When people heard about this move a lot of fans began looking forward to a possible collab with Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel. What’s your relationship like with Beans and have you worked on anything yet? Jadakiss:  Me and beans is cool. We ain’t get to do no music in a while but we’re cool.AllHiphop.com: You’ve gained a faithful following among hardcore Hip-Hop fans but the primary consumers aren’t exactly hardcore fans. How do you expect to reach that audience?Jadakiss: You got to switch it up a little. You got to be able to adjust with the times. Whatever the times is, you got to be able to keep up with the Jones’, as they say, to bring them into your element somehow. The fans have switched. Now the tight pant, skateboarders and this and that, you have to acknowledge them. You have to cater to that group of people too because they’re really like the broad of the audience right now. You got to get your Internet game up. The blogs and your websites got to be popping. It’s a whole new thing out there and if you can’t keep up with the technology and the times, you’re going to get lost in the sauce.AllHipHop.com: In addition to  the new label you also brought an end to the beef you had with 50. Was that something you wanted to do or was it for the sake of business? Jadakiss: It really wasn’t about nothing. New York has taken a hit off that. Everybody’s sitting around watching the south get together and get money. S**t ain’t that serious. We should be able to do the same thing. Nas and Jay did stuff to each other’s baby moms and all that and got cool so why can’t we get cool? I mean the whole situation was just words. And really, it ain’t even about being cool, it’s about creating some business opportunities and getting some real money. He does big deals, why wouldn’t I want to get a part of that? It’s got nothing to do with the lyrics. I mean I’ve done songs with everybody so the people know what I’m going to do lyrically. The rap game is hurt right now. You got to do stuff like this to go to the next level and get you a sneaker deal, clothing line, endorsements, vitamin water, Liquor and all that. Whoever’s just trying to do this rap thing, they’re in it for the wrong reasons. It ain’t really popping for the money that I’m looking for. And it was pretty much over anyway. He had stopped saying stuff and I stopped saying s**t about him. It was what it was but the people know what time it is. The lyrics are going to be there forever but we got to get on that next level. We got to get on that millionaire train to Georgia.AllHipHop.com: What can fans look forward to with this album? Jadakiss: Just some good music. Good music with a dab of the ‘90s on it. Expect what you love us for, what you love me for. You can feel proud to be from New York. You can be proud to cop a New York CD or download it or whatever you’re going to do to listen to it but once you listen to it and embrace it, you’re going to feel good. You’re going to be like, “Aight, New York is back. Now I need that new Lox, I need Fab.” It’s going to get your appetite ready to get the game back over here where it’s supposed to be.AllHipHop.com: You, Styles, and Sheek were having a lot of problems with Interscope. Will fans ever get that Lox album they’ve been waiting for? Jadakiss: We’re just riding the wave right now. I’m coming first then we’re going to do the D-Block compilation and that’s going to serve as a promo for the Lox album. We’re going to break some of our new artists and let you hear us together on some songs you haven’t heard then set that Lox album up right there. If it’s going to be on Interscope or Def Jam, that has yet to be determined.AllHipHop.com: You’re co-owner of D-Block records. How do you balance being a solo artist, a member of a group, and an executive?   Jadakiss: My executive skills ain’t really up where they should be. As far as Koch, I really let Sheek and S.P. handle the whole Koch thing. If I see something too crazy, I step in and do whatever they need me to do, as far as business over there. But I’m going to try and get us another deal, a better situation. Not to take anything away from Koch but I want to have another situation. Like how the Wu did it. I don’t want all our artists on Koch. I want to sprinkle the artists around.AllHipHop.com: So you want to have a lot of options when it comes to distribution?  Jadakiss: Yeah, but nothing crazy. Like a couple on Asylum, put somebody over here, and a couple over there and we’re good.AllHipHop.com: The Lox was having a very public battle with Puff the same time you were having problems with Interscope. In regards to your image, do you think taking those problems public did more harm than good?   Jadakiss: No. It definitely didn’t do more harm than good. The publishing situation got worked out, everything got worked out. If it did more harm, s**t wouldn’t have gotten worked out. Matter fact we’re about to do another publishing deal for a couple million dollars.AllHipHop.com: There’s currently a film being made about the Notorious BIG. As some of Bad Boy’s first artists you all had gotten close to him. Did the makers of the film talk to you while making it? Are you looking forward to the film?  Jadakiss: We ain’t have nothing to do with the film. I got a song on my album that might be in the movie but they didn’t ask us for no input or none of that. I really tried to stay away from the movie until it hit the theaters. I want to see it all put together. I didn’t want to catch no trailers or clips or none of that. I want to watch the whole thing so I can take it in then see what my thoughts is going to be on it. I don’t want to catch no pieces of it. I want to see the whole thing the first time out like a new Pacino and Deniro movie.AllHiphop.com: What’s one of your favorite memories of the time you spent around BIG? Jadakiss: I had a birthday party uptown and he came and chilled with me all night. Him and Cease. He just chilled on the wall and popped champagne with me the whole night. People from Y.O. couldn’t believe it. They was all like, “Yo, is that BIG over there drinking and smoking with Kiss.” That’s when I knew I made it. I got BIG to come chill with me all night. Him and Cease came all the way uptown just to chill with me.AllHipHop.com: Your career spans almost 15 years. You said that the rap game isn’t what it used to be and there’s not enough money in it for you so one has to wonder, what keeps you coming back? Jadakiss: We keep coming back because, even though we’re veterans it still feels like we’re new. It’s like we been here but we still haven’t gotten our just due. Me, Styles, Sheek, we got so much more to say and so much to let out so that just inspires us to come out. Plus it’s just so much garbage out there that the people need us. We’re like superheroes. We need to come back and make them feel good about this music again.AllHipHop.com: So when people talk of the greatest of all time the hottest verse and all that, you feel like people don’t give you enough credit?  Jadakiss: I mean you’ll always feel like you ain’t getting your proper credit. At the end of the day you have to just step back and know that you got a beautiful family, beautiful kids, house, cars, money in the bank. You really have to be thankful for that. We came from nothing so to get your moms a house and get yourself a house, it’s a blessing and you have to just appreciate that.AllHipHop.com: A lot of artists keep themselves relevant through shows. How do you maintain your home situation while balancing being on the road? Jadakiss: That’s how you eat. Shows is the most beautifullest thing ever. If you can do five shows a month…that’s why I take so long to drop albums. I get so much money off shows I get side tracked. I be on the road for two years then be like, “Oh s**t, I got to go back in the studio.” But the money is so sweet on the road it makes you not even want to go to the studio. But you have to remember it’s bigger than this show money. You’re trying to get this world money so you go back in then come back out again. I’m fortunate because I still do shows off that last album. I got a couple next week. Like I try to get the shows on the weekend so I can work during the week then travel during the weekend. Everybody wants to eat. They just got to understand that if they want nice things. You’re doing it for them. Especially if you’re somebody like me that’s taking care of the majority of your family. They want you on the road so you can come back and cop them some Pradas and all that…pay a few Con Ed bills.AllHiphop.com: When it’s all said and done do you still feel like you have something to prove as an MC? Jadakiss: I’m really good where I’m at. BIG told me I was nice. BIG, Hov, Dr. Dre, Nas, Eminem, everybody who everybody loves told me I was nice so I’m content with that. I would love to sell five million or 10 million one time before it’s over or just some kind of millions, anything over platinum and I’ll be good.