Rolling Out

Jadakiss on fatherhood, ’90s rapper disrespect and ‘Top Five Dead or Alive’

Photo courtesy of DEF JAM/UNIVERSAL

Jadakiss is close to the release of his long-awaited fourth studio album, Top Five Dead Or Alive, and the LOX’s most famous wordsmith has a lot riding on his new project. It’s his first solo album since 2009’s The Last Kiss and while he’s always been one of hip-hop’s most respected writers, there’s a sense that the Yonkers, New York-bred emcee hasn’t quite hit the standard many expected. Regardless, his album title is appropriate because those who know, know ‘Kiss has always been nice. And he says that he’s not playing it safe and the long gestation period for Top Five … only gave him the chance to add variety to the project.

“That’s the way I like to do an album — different visions and different moods,” Jadakiss explains. “So it sounds different sonically — it sounds good but not repetitive. I’m excited to see how the younger kids react to the music.”

Now that he’s a hip-hop elder statesman, Jadakiss refuses to be dismissive of the generation that’s come up behind him in the game. Recently, there’s been quite a lot of chatter surrounding millennial rappers and their dismissal of older rappers, but Jadakiss believes the age wars in hip-hop are mostly hype.

“It’s not as bad as everybody makes it,” he says. “There’s an age gap or a generation gap — but if you come out with a good song, there’s none of that. That’s only in the midst of the bulls— that you hear about all of that kind of stuff. A good song overpowers all of that. Good music fills generation gaps.”

But he adds: “It’s definitely out there, though.

“Some of the dudes that’s out here, they take it as disrespect — which it may be slightly — but it’s more lack of knowledge.”

He’s not interested in feeding into the divisiveness.

“My main thing is catering to my traditional fans and grab the younger listener also,” Kiss says. “Grab them up by hitting them with some of the s— that they like and when you get them, you can get them to get into the kind of s— that we get into.  It’s just like a game that I’m playing and a personal challenge.

“That also has a lot to do with my kids. I value my kids’ opinions in music. I have a son in college that’s living on his own right now at Clark Atlanta and he loves music. He loves fashion. I value his point of view on it. I try to take the knowledge I have and what I already know how to do … [but] I don’t believe you should put yourself in a bubble or put yourself in a box.”

And Jadakiss has put his aside his previous contempt for social media and become more eager to engage with the public online.

“I think I’m just better at the whole formula,” he says. “The process of engaging with the people on social media. Snapchatting more, tweeting more, Instagramming more, putting up more stuff on Facebook and videos on YouTube, WorldStar, high resolution pictures and all that stuff you need to know. I think I’ve gotten better with it in just realizing that that’s a part of what’s going on. I used to be ‘get that camera out of my face’ or ‘I’m not tweeting s—.’ It’s become more of a lifestyle and a motivational marketing tool for my brand. I’ve gotten better with just making it my lifestyle as opposed to just seeing it as work.”

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