There’s something reassuring about Jadakiss’s promo run up to The Last Kiss. 50 Cent has an album to promote now, too: at the moment, he’s surveilling DJ Khaled’s family, bragging about having congress with Rick Ross’s baby mother, and generally doing everything but killing another human being by way of calling attention to Before I Self Destruct, a prospect that seems ever more likely.
Jadakiss, meanwhile, is just rapping. Consider this the peak before the likely disappointment of an actual album, something the rapper’s never quite been able to pull off. If nothing else, Kiss has a niche in New York: when a song like “Hi Hater” or “Turn My Swag On” makes the rounds and every rapper ever raps on it, Jadakiss is the finisher, the guy who’s basically gonna end the whole trend, even if that trend involves Jeezy and Wayne or whoever else everyone’s supposed to fear. If you’re gonna do the bragging thing on a dumb song like “Swag On,” might as well brag like this: “D Block is D Block, naw it ain’t a rock band/ They had to kill two baby gators just to make my watchband.” That’s pretty funny…
Kiss My Ass, the much anticipated mixtape that Kiss finally let go a couple days ago, seems OK: a lot of talk about ringtone rap, people downloading his albums, strangers asking him for money–clearly, he’s getting back into a sales-type mindset. The anxiety’s not too far from the surface, whether it’s his album bricking, worse rappers in tighter clothes getting more shine, etc, all the unavoidable concerns that beset raspy voiced New York rappers with limited sales prospects. I like the echo of that Clipse line from “Hello New World” that he tries on “Big Dog Status”: “We all in the game, just different levels / Dealing with the same hell, just different devils.” I think it’s funny when on “Kiss My Ass” he tells someone he doesn’t have any money to pay for their prom limo. A new verse from him is still pretty much the most exciting thing that can happen in New York right now, plus or minus a Fabolous or a Jay-Z. It might not be enough for him, but it should be enough for the rest of us.