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Jadakiss - 'The Last Kiss' (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)

Jadakiss - The Last Kiss Review

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

By Shannon Barbour

Jadakiss - The Last Kiss

Jadakiss - The Last Kiss

© Def Jam

Jadakiss is back with his first full-album release in five years. The follow-up to 2004’s Kiss of Death is The Last Kiss, a seamlessly produced collection of 18 tracks showcasing Jada’s gravelly growl of street lyrics with R&B-tinged melodies and hooks. While The Last Kiss title implies finality, it simply means the end of the album trilogy using the word ‘kiss,’ not an allusion to retirement talk. For true stans: no worries.

No Kiss Off

With no real plans of exiting the game any time soon, Jada remains the rappers’ rapper – even Nas has named his latest the best album of ’09 so far. He has retained a unique sort of semi-underground status where he’s kept his original grit and gained some commercial success, bolstered largely by the success of his lead single “Why” from Kiss of Death. Though he’s getting more shine, he has not quite entered the arena of say, T.I., by receiving equal love from the streets and MTV producers who give him his own reality show. Perhaps he’s comfortable in this space, as evidenced by the first track, “Pain and Torture,” where he quips “these are pedestrian bars for the civilians,” with the hook, “I’m the author of slick talk, pain and torture.” It’s almost as if he feels the need to preface the album with a disclaimer that he’s still hardcore despite the smooth production and R&B songstress guest spots. Speaking of which, “Grind Hard,” with Mary J. Blige sounds dated, though it benefits from the diva’s stronger latter-career vocals. The following track, “Something Else” suffers from an overly simple beat, but is boosted by Young Jeezy who in many ways is Jada’s southern counterpart.

Kisses and Misses

The Swizz Beats-produced, “Who’s Real” is a clear miss whose beat has an uncanny resemblance to “Swing Ya Rag” on T.I.’s “Paper Trail.” Fortunately, the brevity of some of weaker tracks prevents you from disconnecting too soon. Quite a surprise also on The Last Kiss, is that there is no optimistic, pro-Obama anthem to counter the cynicism of “Why.” Instead, there is the similarly-themed and equally potent, “What If” featuring Nas that offers some interesting food for thought like, “what if Puffy never signed us/what if Oprah made them comments instead of Imus” and “what if Big missed the party/what if ‘Pac missed the fight.” Nas follows with, “what if the flow come, but don’t push/what if Saddam hung Bush?” Overall, the production overshadows rhymes on most of the album, but most clearly on the Pharell-guested and Neptunes produced tracks – “Stress Ya” and “Rockin’ With the Best,” a titular rip-off of The Roots’ famous tagline. Neither are lacking in finesse, but the latter gives a smoother, something-you-can-ride-to kind of feel. True highlights are “Letter to B.I.G” which already appeared on the Notorious soundtrack, “Cartel Gathering,” with Ghostface Killah, “Death Wish” with Lil’ Wayne, and “Smoking Gun” with Jazmine Sullivan. Sullivan’s powerful, if not joyful vocals delightfully distract from the dark subject matter of Kiss exacting revenge on a girl’s molesting stepfather.

The Bottom Line on 'Last Kiss'

The album is thoroughly listenable, but only a few tracks deliver lyrical power. Jadakiss is the rare rapper who does not wilt alongside any guest MCs, no matter how hard they come. But we liked Kiss better when he was more of a diamond in the rough than a mass-produced polished product.

Top Tracks on The Last Kiss:
  • "What If"
  • "Rockin With the Best"
  • "Smoking Gun"
  • "Letter to B.I.G."
  • "Cartel Gathering"
  • "Death Wish"
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
I thought this album was fire!, Member kahlilah

I thought the albume was great. I still miss The Lox as a group but if anybody can come out with a solo album from the group its JadaKiss..he was my fav anyway.. That rauchee voice that cool gangsta swag.. I give it two thumbs up! not his best work but definetly a good way to come back on the screen.. not too gangsta a lil commerical to get radio play.. Jada had me sold on this one.. my opinion.

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