Jason Phillips (born May 27, 1975), better known as Jadakiss, is an American rapper. He is a member of the group The LOX and the hip hop collective Ruff Ryders. Jadakiss is one of the three owners of the imprint known as D-Block Records. In early 2007, Jadakiss signed to Roc-a-Fella Records and Def Jam Records. Jadakiss has also released four studio albums, with the most recent being Top 5 Dead or Alive on November 20, 2015.
1994–2003: Career beginnings and Kiss Tha Game Goodbye
By age 16, Jadakiss was a freestyle rapper. He and some of his friends were given the opportunity to compete in the "Jack the Rapper Competition" in Florida, where Jadakiss had been noticed for his battle rap ability. He met Dee and Wah of the Ruff Ryders (then a management company), and began hanging out and battling outside of the Ruff Ryders' studio where artists such as DMX made their first hits. Phillips founded the rap group The Warlocks in 1994 with friends, Sheek Louch and Styles P. They later signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, where it was suggested that they change their name simply to "The LOX", which came to stand for Living Off eXperience. They made their first appearance on The Main Source's 1994 LP Fuck What You Think on the track "Set it Off."
The group, especially Jadakiss, developed a close relationship with The Notorious B.I.G., during which time Jadakiss was taken under Biggie's wing. The LOX's first hit was the tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. called "We'll Always Love Big Poppa" (the B-side to Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You") in 1997. In 1998, the LOX released Money, Power & Respect. Though the record was successful, eventually going Platinum, The LOX grew unhappy with Bad Boy Records and Puffy's glossy, radio friendly production. Following this album, they left the label to sign with Ruff Ryders Entertainment.
Jadakiss's debut album, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, was released in August 2001 on the Ruff Ryders/Interscope label. The album featured popular guests and producers such as DJ Premier, The Alchemist, DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg and Swizz Beatz, but was written off as repetitive and uninspired. Jadakiss has acknowledged the criticism as, generally speaking, valid, saying the record was done less out of inspiration than out of contract obligations to Bad Boy. The album produced three singles: "We Gonna Make It" featuring Styles P, "Knock Yourself Out" and "Put Ya Hands Up." Jadakiss is mentioned in Eminem's 2002 song 'Till I Collapse as one of the best rappers in the industry.
2004–08: Kiss of Death and signing to Def Jam
Jadakiss's second album, Kiss of Death, was released in June 2004. His song "Why?" (featuring Anthony Hamilton) became one of the year's biggest hits, spawning a remix featuring Styles P, Common, Nas, and Hamilton. "Why?" remains Jada's biggest hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another single from the record, "U Make Me Wanna," featured Mariah Carey and was a much more commercially driven love song. Kiss of Death did not reflect the popularity of its lead single, but it was better received than his first effort.
In late 2007, Jadakiss signed to Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records, a move Jay had been trying to arrange for a long time. The move came on the heels of increased D-Block/Roc-a-Fella collaborations; in 2006, Jadakiss and former rival Beanie Sigel collaborated on DJ Khaled's album Listennn...the Album, and in 2007, on Freeway's album Free At Last. Styles P appeared on a radio freestyle with Freeway and Sigel, and also appeared briefly in the video for Jay-Z's American Gangster single "Roc Boys," in which he throws up the famous Roc-a-Fella sign, "the Diamond."
2009–present: The Last Kiss and Top 5 Dead or Alive
In 2009, Jadakiss released his third official album, The Last Kiss. The first single is "By My Side", featuring Ne-Yo. The second official single is "Can't Stop Me". The third official single is "Death Wish", featuring Lil Wayne. The fourth official single is "Who's Real", featuring Swizz Beatz and OJ Da Juiceman. In 2010, Jadakiss reunited with the Ruff Ryders label while remaining at Roc-a-Fella. In 2011, he was featured on two DJ Khaled tracks, one of them titled "It Ain't Over Til It's Over", also featuring Mary J. Blige and Fabolous, and "Welcome to My Hood (Remix)," also featuring Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Mavado, Birdman, Ace Hood, Fat Joe, Game, Bun B and Waka Flocka Flame. On April 26, 2012, Jadakiss released his mixtape Consignment.
On June 4, 2013 Jadakiss released the first single from his upcoming fourth studio album Top 5, Dead or Alive titled "Big Boy Dialogue" featuring vocals from The-Dream. The album will feature guest appearances by The Lox, Young Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne. He also announced that a collaboration mixtape with Yo Gotti would be released prior to the album. The album was scheduled to be released during September or October 2013. The album was released November 20, 2015.
On February 29, 2016, Fabolous posted a picture on Instagram with Jadakiss with the caption, "Freddy vs. Jason coming soon". This indicates that Fabolous and Jadakiss are releasing a joint mixtape titled, Freddy vs. Jason. On April 2, 2016, Fabolous and Jadakiss released a freestyle of Future's "Wicked" from Purple Reign that will appear on Freddy vs. Jason. They also revealed that it would not be a mixtape and will be a retail effort on iTunes. On October 31, 2017, the first single off the album "Stand Up" featuring Future. On November 21, 2017, it was announced that the album title was changed to Friday on Elm Street. The album was released on Novemeber 24, 2017.
Along with longtime friend and business associate, Jay Jackson, Jadakiss launched an online multimedia creative collective called SoRaspy that also serves as an umbrella company for his business endeavors which include an online publication, record label, apparel, and a YouTube channel.
In July 2004, Jadakiss was arrested in North Carolina on marijuana and gun-possession charges. Several months later, he reached a plea agreement on misdemeanor charges and was ordered to pay a $900 fine.
On October 7, 2006, Jadakiss was once again arrested in his hometown of Yonkers, New York, on gun and drug-possession charges. A Yonkers Police Department spokesperson said Jadakiss was one of four men sitting in a 2006 Toyota Camry that was parked near the intersection of Nepperhan Avenue and Elm Street in Yonkers at around 5 a.m. Saturday. Officers said the vehicle's driver was behaving oddly and said they noticed a strong odor of marijuana while approaching the car. Inside the vehicle, police found a .38 caliber revolver that had been reported stolen. According to The Associated Press, the weapon was loaded. All occupants were charged with possession of a stolen firearm; Jadakiss was also charged with possession of marijuana (a small amount was found on his person). The driver, Darnell Frazier, was charged with driving under the influence. The other two men in the vehicle are listed as Benjamin Lockhart and Kristian Smith. All were remanded to Westchester County Jail and were held until at least Tuesday of the following week, when they were due in court.
Police arrested two men on multiple felony charges after they raided Jadakiss's Yonkers, New York apartment and found heroin (5 grams) and marijuana (6.5 pounds). Jadakiss was neither present during the investigation, nor wanted by the law enforcement agencies. The incident took place on the morning of August 24, 2009 and started when an investigation revealed the presence of marijuana inside the vehicle driven by two men. Both men were reportedly in police custody and had been criminally charged.
In 2004, Jadakiss and Fat Joe were featured in Ja Rule's "New York" single. In this song, Ja Rule took obvious shots at 50 Cent. In turn, 50 Cent made a song titled "Piggy Bank" in which he disses Fat Joe, Nas, and Jadakiss. This caused Jadakiss to release "Checkmate", "Problem Child", "Shots Fired" and "I'm Sorry Ms. Jackson". 50 Cent along with his G-Unit crew responded with songs such as "I Run New York", "Window Shopper", and "Death Wish" by Lloyd Banks. Jadakiss challenged 50 Cent to an onstage battle in Madison Square Garden for 1 million dollars, but 50 Cent declined. The feud was later resolved, with the respective parties performing together at 50 Cent's ThisIs50 Festival on October 3, 2009.
Jadakiss attracted some controversy and condemnation from commentator Bill O'Reilly, who labeled him a "smear merchant" due to lyrics in the song "Why?", which state Jada's belief that George W. Bush coordinated the September 11 attacks. "Why do niggas push pounds of powder? Why did Bush knock down the towers?" In the music video for "Why?", a man holds up a picket sign reading "Buck Fush" (a spoonerism of "Fuck Bush"). O'Reilly took the position that the President should be allowed to sue Jadakiss for slander. The track was eventually banned on some radio stations or played with the lyrics in question censored.
- Kiss tha Game Goodbye (2001)
- Kiss of Death (2004)
- The Last Kiss (2009)
- Top 5 Dead or Alive (2015)
- Friday on Elm Street (with Fabolous) (2017)