It’s been over a decade since the LOX came out with those shiny-suit jingles off their debut Money, Power, Respect. Jadakiss, the group’s undeniable marquee man, was the first to spawn a solo career pronouncing himself “Top 5 Dead or Alive.” But after releasing two very well-received offerings, many remained somewhat skeptical about Jason Phillip’s position in the game and worthiness to dominate altogether. Regardless of his unquestionable mic skills and ability to string together a killer 16, he has been largely incapable of compiling a well-rounded, cohesive solo project.
But they say the third time’s the charm. The stars finally aligned perfectly for Jadakiss to prove himself once and for all, and dispel all naysayers on what is easily one of the most anticipated albums of 2009. With Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam backing it, all Jada had to do was properly execute his plan and realize his vision. However this is hard to do when you lack a plan of execution altogether. One of the main pitfalls of The Last Kiss is the lack of conceptual fluency. It is essentially an ‘album about nothing’ in particular. When it begins, Buckwild serves Jada a triumphant intro in “Pain and Torture” and Jada spits up a decent set of verses, warming the listener up for what should be an epic album. This delusion dies quick. After “Can’t Stop Me,” Jada’s alleged “hit single,” OJ Da Juiceman and Swizz Beatz join forces on “Who’s Real” to become the musical equivalent of getting stabbed in your funny bone. It’s the the first of a very long list of pointless collaborations.
Jada’s verses fit into two templates: he’s either reminiscing about drug-dealing, while dropping pseudo-inspirational metaphors and glorifying himself (with extra braggadocio), or he’s dropping one of his signature R&B guest verses. This would not be a problem at all, were it done with nearly half the efficiency and ease of execution that Kiss is capable of. A lot of the verses are either forced, frail, easily forgettable or a combination of all three.
What isn’t forgettable, however, is how many features are on this album. Aside from the aforementioned “Pain and Torture,” only one other song Kiss rocks for dolo is the self-reflecting “Things I’ve Been Through.” This also just so happens to be amongst the select few keepers on the album, proving he might have been better off alone. Because quite frankly, most of the assists don’t amount to any goals scored. The tired “black-girl-lost” themed “Smoking Gun” and Avery Storm’s “I Tried” are instant skippers, as are the bulk of material aimed at the ladies. The greatest disappointment however, may just be what should’ve been the highlight of the album. Jada and Styles are renowned for their effortless back and forth bar exchanges that produce a plethora of quotable punchlines without fail. This time around, no quotables, just fail as they manage to run in place on “One More Step.”
It’s not a total washout though. “What If,” which features a razor sharp Nasir Jones, is basically “Why 2K9” but still worth a listen. Lil’ Wayne drops some heat on “Death Wish” and “Something Else,” co-starring Young Jeezy, is possibly the peak of the album, injecting ignorantly laced adrenaline shots into your brain as only Jeezy and Jada know how. Ghostface leaves his signature all over “Cartel Gathering,” also featuring Raekwon, and inspires one of very few gems from Jada — “My Clientele is Supreme and it’s proven/that I’m only Built For The Link if it’s Cuban/I’m a pioneer, I’m not a vet/The Last Kiss is a French one, it’s not a peck…”
It’s definitely not a peck. It also lacks the passion and tenacity to be considered a French one. Jada sticks to failed formulas and recipes, and churns out a cookie-cutter LP with brand name production. The abundance of guest appearances do nothing more than provide momentary distractions for what clearly is lacking in Kiss to get the job done on his own.
We don’t believe you, you need less people.
Previously Posted — DJ Green Lantern & Jadakiss – Kiss My Ass: The Champ Is Here Pt. 2 | Jadakiss – “The Last Kiss” Video | Jadakiss Feat. Faith Evans – “Letter To B.I.G.” Video | Jadakiss – “By My Side Video”