Jadakiss Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

We got down with Jay to the Muah to talk about making (what we consider) his best songs.

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Yonkers rappers The Lox (Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch) officially proclaimed their induction to Bad Boy Records in 1996, debuting their spit skills on "You'll See" with the Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy. Jadakiss was immediately heralded as the standout of the three, with his raspy voice, witty bars, and murderous flow.

In the fifteen years since then, Jay to the Muah bounced around to different labels (though always maintaining his Ruff Ryders affiliation), releasing two Lox and three solo albums all littered with hits, appearing on numerous classic compilations and street mixtapes (including his own The Champ Is Here trilogy), and making unforgettable features with everyone from Gang Starr to Ghostface Killah.

His resume is undeniable, which is why his self-proclaimed placement on the “Top Five, Dead or Alive” list is rarely disputed. With Jada’s new Def Jam mixtape, I Love You, out now and set to blaze all summer, we knew it would be the perfect time to reminisce with Kiss and get all the stories behind his 25 Essential Songs.

He came through lovely, recalling what the early Bad Boy days with B.I.G. and Puff were like, how Jay-Z introduced him to Beanie Sigel during the "Reservoir Dogs" session, why the original beat for "Knock Yourself Out" wasn't used, and how he was recruited to be on "New York" with Ja Rule and Fat Joe. Plus, he tells us the naked truth on his plans to stop songs from getting leaked, and gives us his “Top Five, Dead or Alive” list (which isn’t really five). Ahaaa!

As told to Daniel Isenberg (@stanipcus)

Youll See

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The Lox f/ The Notorious B.I.G. “You'll See” (1996)

Produced by: Puff Daddy

Jadakiss: “That was the glory years. Puff had us on a trial like, ‘I wanna sign y’all but I don’t really know.’ He was really gonna sign us, but back then that was just how the CEOs and all of them were on it. So he was like, ‘I’ma throw y’all on this joint to see,’ like it was a tester. But just for him to submit us a beat like, ‘We want y’all to write to this,’ we were like, ‘Hell yeah.’

“It was at one of the meetings. Ruff Ryders was our managers back then. Dee brought us down to the studio, so that was like an experience for us, going to Puff’s studio, because we were only used to being in our studios. We’d never really been in the big joints. So we came there, we chillin’, and he gave us the beat like, ‘Take this beat and come back in a day or two and when you come back we’re gonna lay it with you.’

“I guess [Puff] went to B.I.G. like, ‘I got these new kids, they’re crazy,’ and he gave it to B.I.G., and you know B.I.G. was already with just getting on anything hot. But it was like, ‘Yo, our first joint is with B.I.G.’ But we didn’t get to actually meet B.I.G. We didn’t know him, he just did it off Puff’s word. But it came out right.

“We were walking around with copies of that in all pockets, like, ‘Yo pop this in, we got that ‘You’ll See.’ It was crazy. We had New York and Yonkers on smash when ‘You’ll See’ came out. We were on top of the world. We here. Because it was all talk, ‘Yo we’re going to have a meeting with Puff Daddy, we might be signing to Bad Boy.’ Yeah right. But then when you hear that, it was like ‘Yo!’ So that was like a good introduction to the world.”

Last Day

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The Notorious B.I.G. f/ The Lox “Last Day” (1997)

Produced by: Havoc

Jadakiss: “We were still pretty much in the hood, probably like a nice day like today, chillin’ on the block. We get the call, ‘Yo, y’all gotta go down to Daddy’s House, B.I.G. wants y’all on his album.’ Everybody’s looking around like, ‘What?!?’ I guess we hopped in a cab, or whoever was driving, however we had to get there.

The whole Junior Mafia and B.I.G. was there. It was a beat produced by Havoc, so the beat was already knockin’. B.I.G. was like, ‘What y’all wanna do with it?’ We just sat there, smoked, drank, and it came out. I had another rhyme before the actual one that was on there. I said it to B.I.G. and he was like, ‘Nah, I need you come harder for me.’ Alright. Went in there, and wrote that right there, and that was it. It was beautiful being in the studio with B.I.G. And then to actually be able to record with him for his album was like a super honor.

”That was a self-accolade for us. We felt we made it once B.I.G. told us we were nice anyway. Like, ‘Yo, y’all got it.’ That was the push out to the world that we needed.”

Its All About the Benjamins Remix

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Puff Daddy f/ The Lox, The Notorious B.I.G., & Lil’ Kim “It's All About the Benjamins (Remix)” (1997)

Produced by: Sean "Puffy" Combs & Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen

Jadakiss: “[Puff] had the beat from The Hitmen. But the rhyme, his first intro, ‘Now, what y’all wanna do, wanna be ballers...,’ I wrote that. I was rhyming in the MIDI room amongst us, we were trading rhymes, me and Styles and whoever was there. He came in, heard me saying that, and was like, ‘I need that!’ Then he put that on the ‘Benjamins’ beat. He had laid it, but me and Sheek didn’t put nothing down yet. We didn’t really like the beat.

“So then the whole No Way Out was almost finished, and Diddy was like, ‘Yo, y’all gotta lay a verse on this beat.’ And that’s how ‘Benjamins’ came about. But we weren’t crazy about it, how it went all crazy. I didn’t personally [like it]. I thought the beat was garbage, from when it was raw. Then being in the club, the skating rink, and they’re playing it for thirty, forty minutes straight, that was crazy.

“That was part of why B.I.G. was in Cali. Working, and promoting Life After Death. Whatever he was doing, he was still working. He laid that verse in Cali if I’m not mistaken. I only heard it on the remix. And Kim was always around. She was family.”

If You Think Im Jiggy

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The Lox “If You Think I'm Jiggy” (1998)

Produced by: Dame Grease

Jadakiss: “That was the time when sampling was in. Puff was terrorizing the radio with the samples. So I was just trying to catch one of them that could pop for us. I always used to hear that Rod Stewart song [‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’], so once I got the beat from Dame Grease I just tried to flip it. It ain’t really work out how I had planned it, but still the people liked it.

“I understood how much they liked it when we went on the Ruff Ryders/Cash Money tour, and we were doing the spoof of it. We used to come out with the shiny suits on, rip them off and then go into ‘Fuck You.’ But at a lot of the arenas, people used to not ‘boo’, but be like ‘ahhh!’ They wanted to hear that! We used to be backstage like, ‘They really fuckin’ like that ‘If You Think I’m Jiggy.’’ It worked out. We probably wanted to be more harder back then because we didn’t understand the business of radio play and crossing over. But it’s all good, when you look back it did its justice.”

Money Power Respect

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The Lox f/ DMX & Lil’ Kim “Money, Power & Respect” (1998)

Produced by: Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie & Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence for The Hitmen, Co-produced by Jay "Waxx" Garfield

Jadakiss: “We were on Bad Boy now, we were in the family. Puff’s album came out, everybody’s album came out, Mase’s album came out, now it’s time for us to work. We got our batch of beats, and that was just one that we knew was gonna be a great thing. I wasn’t there when Styles and Sheek laid their verses, I was sick. Then I remember Diddy, Deric Angelettie, and everybody like, ‘Yo, you gotta come with a right verse, they laid their verses, what you gonna do?’ Then once I laid it, we were good.

”We were having trouble seeing how we were gonna get the hook. Then we’re like, ‘We need Kim on the hook.’ I think we all collaborated [on writing the hook]. X was just family, he put the icing on the cake. They were just getting him a deal over at Def Jam, so he needed to get on everything anyway just to make that more solidified.”

Something To Talk About

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Jadakiss “Something To Talk About” (1998)

Produced by: P.K.

Jadakiss: “I wanted that to be on The Lox’s first album as my solo, and Puff didn’t like the beat. So I just ended up recording it for my own self. ‘All for the Love’ ended up being my solo song from the first album. And that was when [the street mixtape game] was going on. You had to go to the DJs and get them some new exclusives. So I gave it to Kay Slay. [The story at the end of the third verse] is just me painting a picture of equivalent situations. I just fill the characters in. There’s actually those things that happen and go on, but I didn’t use the [real people]."

Reservoir Dogs

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Jay-Z f/ The Lox, Sauce Money, & Beanie Sigel “Reservoir Dogs” (1998)

Produced by: Erick Sermon, Co-Produced by Darold Trotter & Rockwilder

Jadakiss: “We were just flying in from a Lox show and we landed at LaGuardia or Newark or something, and they called us like, ‘Yo, Jay-Z wants y’all on his album.’ We went to the studio with our luggage. That’s when we first met Sigel. [Jay] said, ‘This is Beanie Mac’ and told him to rhyme for us. So we smoked some weed, listened to him rhyme for a while, then laid ‘Reservoir Dogs.’ At that point, we were really feeling ourselves, like we them cats. We were expecting calls.

”There’s always competitive air in the room, but the peculiar thing about that [song] was that only me, Beanie, and Sheek laid our verses [that day]. I’m not sure if Sauce Money did. But Styles came back the next day or the day after, and I don’t know whenever Hov laid his verse. So it’s never all the way fair unless everybody lays it right there. There’s some sort of cheating going on. But it’s all good.”

Banned From TV

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N.O.R.E. f/ Nature, Big Pun, Cam’ron, Jadakiss, & Styles P “Banned From TV” (1998)

Produced by: Swizz Beatz

Jadakiss: “I think N.O.R.E. or somebody [from his camp] reached out to me for that. Sheek was in Puerto Rico at the time, and me and Styles just went down there and did the in and out thing. [Big Pun, Cam’ron, and Nature] weren’t there. It was just N.O.R.E. and the whole Thugged Out/Murder Unit. Capone was in jail.

“[When we do the in and out raps, Me and Styles] write it and get the topic or whatever, and then we lay it with blanks. He’ll go in or I’ll go in first and lay it with spaces, like I’m spitting a rhyme with holes in it, and then he goes in and finishes it. We perfected that now. We used to go in there with two mics set up and rock it like that. Now we leave the spaces, because we don’t have the flexibility to just hook another mic up.

“It had that feeling. The Swizz beat was uptempo, and you already know N.O.R.E. is a bowl of energy. You know, Nature, N.O.R.E., Pun, The Lox, Cam, you can’t really lose. I listened to all of their music, but yeah, Cam is my homeboy, Pun was my homie, Nature, all of them. That was just easy. It always makes it easy to work when you got a relationship.”


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DMX f/ The Lox & Jay-Z “Blackout” (1998)

Produced by: Swizz Beatz

Jadakiss: “We were heavy Ryders now. We got off Bad Boy, we’re home sweet home with Ruff Ryders, able to ventilate, say anything we want, comfortable in our skin. We were going to Cali for a month, or a few weeks or so, for a video or something. I know we were going to be over there recording. And that was the first song we got in there.

”Once we put the beat up and we’re writing, it’s whoever. I may have finished first and said, ‘Let me go in.’ That always brings inspiration in case someone can’t finish, or they’re stuck in the middle. After I lay it, that usually gets the kinks out for the other two or whoever else is on the song. We’re able to generate and make the chemistry like that. When I like the beat [I write on the spot]. Sometimes If I don’t really like it, or it ain’t clicking, it may take me a few. But for the most part, for the last ten years, everything you hear came right there.

”Hov was moving around touring. If you hear his verse he was kinda sick. We were catching him in transition before he went to London. And X was already in beast mode. Second album right? Yeah, he had the fire under his ass.”

Wild Out

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The Lox “Wild Out” (2000)

Produced by: Swizz Beatz

Jadakiss: “First single for The Lox’s album, We Are The Streets, fresh off Bad Boy. That summed it up, everything. That’s how we were feeling. Just released, free, wild out. [Talking about people coming home from jail] was the irony in the situation. We were recording in Powerhouse up in Yonkers. Everything was recorded there at that time for the most part, except when we went to Cali. A couple friends [would come in], but mostly just X, Drag-on, and us. Crews would come from all over to battle us. Not really a battle, but if somebody that the CEO knew came with his whole bunch of rappers, it would get ugly. We used to mutilate people. Obliviate crews. Obliviation.”

My Name is Kiss

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Jadakiss f/ Styles P “My Name Is Kiss” (2000)

Produced by: P.K.

Jadakiss: “I needed a solo song for Ryde Or Die Vol. II. I got the beat from P.K., one of our in-house producers, and we made it happen. That was just a part of our daily working. Just going to the studio, banging out songs. That’s how it should be if this is what you do.”

We Gonna Make It

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Jadakiss f/ Styles P “We Gonna Make It” (2001)

Produced by: The Alchemist

Jadakiss: “I remember getting the beat from Alchemist, and there was something about when I first heard the beat, that the hook came right to me. I already knew that was what the beat was saying. I remember I had it, but it was taking me a while, I didn’t want to just lay it. I kept just wanting to hear the beat. Just go in the studio, playing the beat. Anybody I played it for, they’d be like, ‘That beat is crazy!’ Then, me and Styles were sitting there, and I said, ‘I’m gonna throw you on this joint, we gonna do the in and out, then I’ll do the last verse myself since it’s my solo album.’

”I wanted to make that the first single. [The record company] didn’t really know though. They were really nervous. I don’t know why. But if that would’ve been the first single the results would have been even better. Then they ended up trying to remix it with Eve and use it. I mean, it was alright, but if it would’ve been the first single it would’ve been [better].

“I really didn’t get involved with [Ras Kass saying it was his beat first] because that was Alchemist. That was on him, because he got paid from my budget for it. So I didn’t have no beef. [Ras Kass] really didn’t have no beef with me either, but I guess I was just so hot, that was a time that he could see if he could pick it with me. But that wasn’t working. I was doing too much other stuff to be really thinking about that. Plus I paid Alchemist. If I was going to be mad, I would’ve been mad at him.”

Knock Yourself Out

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Jadakiss f/ Pharrell “Knock Yourself Out” (2001)

Produced by: The Neptunes

Jadakiss: “The beat you hear wasn’t the original beat. I went down to Virginia to work with Pharrell, he came up with the beat and the hook, then he told me he needed a while and he was going to send it up. I came back to New York and I’m working in the Hit Factory, or Sony, one of them shits, and I was going in to lay ‘Knock Yourself Out,’ and I pull it up and it’s not even the beat that I went [to Virginia] and heard. I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’ They’re like, ‘Yo, he wanted to change it.’ Then I start thinking like, ‘Did somebody else take my beat?’ Then Styles was like, ‘Fuck it, just do this shit.’

“I liked [the new beat], but I didn’t like it as much as the one I originally chose. [Pharrell] switched it, he thought it was too slow. It ended up working. Sometimes you gotta listen to the producer. Sometimes the producer hears things that you don’t hear, that’s why he’s the producer.

“Sometimes you don’t like it, but you gotta deal with it, as long as it benefits. To this day, I throw it on and still rock it. So I’m good. It worked out. And I never heard the other beat [on another artist’s song] so that was love too. He ain’t do me like that. Actually, my road manager still got that beat. You might be hearing it real soon. He might be happy right now if I pull that out! He might’ve forgot about that beat!

”The video was incredible. We all went to Cali. I did the uncut version. Soft porn. It was cool. Beautiful. Melyssa Ford, that was her first time really in a video being the main girl, with all her assets, diving in the pool. It felt good stepping out there [solo] for the first time, but it was never like I was solo, because if you looked to the left or the right, you would always see my brothers right there. I don’t bask in the glory alone.”

Family Affair Remix

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Mary J. Blige f/ Jadakiss & Fabolous “Family Affair (Remix)” (2001)

Produced by: Dr. Dre

Jadakiss: “MJB is like our mentor. She’s our OG from Yonkers. On that particular song, I remember her brother, Bruce, reaching out to me. I think he was one of the co-writers on that song with her. He was like, ‘You know we need you for the remix. We got Fab on it too.’ We made that happen. When MJB call, you gotta go through and make it do what it do baby. She’s like the Queen from Hoodlum. Being on big records is definitely beneficial. It keeps you relevant, keeps you hot, and good publishing checks. You need it anyway if you love to [rap]. I’ll get on anything if it’s hot, if I like it. It don’t even have to be if the world likes it. If I like it, I’ll mess with it.”

Made You Look Remix

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Nas f/ Jadakiss & Ludacris “Made You Look (Remix)” (2003)

Produced by: Salaam Remi

Jadakiss: “My man Lenny from Columbia called me, and Steve Stoute [from Sony]. Matter of fact, I had went down to the video of the original in Manhattan somewhere, and they were like, ‘We’re gonna call you for the remix.’ And then they really called me. I knocked that out. I remember making that verse in my bathroom mirror. I put the beat on a few times and got the verse. I remember them telling me, ‘Twenty bars.’ That was peculiar that the verse is twenty bars. That’s like a funny number for me. I thought it was kind of a set-up, like they were trying to get two [verses out of it]. But hey, it was cool for me. That turned out to be a historic twenty bars!

“[‘Top five, dead or alive’], that’s how I always feel. My five is the same five [as it was back then]. My five don’t really switch. When you ask somebody that, it should really be more than five, but that’s a whole other reality show. My five is B.I.G., Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Styles P, not in any order. I’m good with that five.

”I remember we performed that at Webster Hall. We made a video. [Nas and Ludacris], those are both my homies. The industry is all off relationships, because everybody got a couple dollars. It ain’t about really money unless it’s endorsements or big deals like that. As far as verses and coming out at shows, that’s all about how cool you are and your relationship with the other artist. And [Nas] just called me to be [at the show], and I came through. It’s as simple as that.”

Rite Where U Stand

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Gang Starr f/ Jadakiss “Rite Where U Stand” (2003)

Produced by: DJ Premier

Jadakiss: “That was epic. I thought I was just going down to D&D [Studios] to lay my verse. I got there, I end up laying the verse, then Preem was like, ‘Where you going man, I need you to do the hook.’ I was like, ‘Come on Preem, I don’t be doing hooks like that.’ But he was like, ‘Nah, I know you can nail it, just sit there for a minute and think about something.’ So I went in there and did it. When the beat is knockin’, it really ain’t that hard. Plus he had the concept. He already told me, ‘The name of this song is ‘Rite Where U Stand,’’ before there were any words. It was just a beat and Preem telling me the name.

“[There were no Guru verses on it when I first heard it]. I was cool with Guru. He wasn’t actually there, I think he was doing some other work at the time, because they were completing their album. But, it’s always an honor to be in the room with Premier. He’s a master, a jack of all trades. He’s a DJ first, a producer, but also just a hip-hop connoisseur. And when he tells you something, you gotta listen.

”We [performed] that on Conan O’Brien. Who’s the tall one? Yeah, we rocked Conan. It was cool.”

Mighty D-Block

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Sheek Louch f/ Jadakiss, Styles P, & J-Hood “Mighty D-Block (2 Guns Up)” (2003)

Produced by: DJ Green Lantern

Jadakiss: “That started as a freestyle on Hot 97. Green Lantern was working there at the time. You know, he’s a wizard with blending and mixing acapellas with original beats. He made it, and it surfaced so much it was able to become Sheek’s first single for his Walk Witt Me album. And it still does justice to this day. I took the hook from my old football chant from when I was little, Pop Warner football, and we made it to that. We were up there freestyling, and I just did that as a hook before whoever was rapping.”


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Ghostface Killah f/ Jadakiss “Run” (2004)

Produced by: RZA

Jadakiss: “I was working on my album. They told me Ghost wanted me to be on his song. I was like, ‘Cool.’ When I heard the beat, it was crazy. And then they told me RZA did it. You know that’s always good for your resume to bless one of the iconic producers' tracks. So that was like a no-brainer too. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the legacy.

“That’s where [our relationship with Wu-Tang Clan] really started. It worked out good. The video was cool. Ever since then, we good. Right now Sheek and Ghost are working on an album, Wu Block.

”I definitely [have memories of being young running from the cops]. I got memories right now of running from the cops! Last week! Nah, but that verse really came from me watching and having knowledge, just being able to put personal experiences and stuff that I’ve seen growing up in the hood into a sixteen bar verse that you can visualize.”

The Champ Is Here

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Jadakiss “The Champ Is Here” (2004)

Produced by: DJ Green Lantern

Jadakiss: “I had to do a mixtape for the second album, before it was about to come out. Green actually thought of the name. He sampled ‘The Champ is Here’ [on the chorus] from Will Smith, from the Ali movie. That’s why it was hard to clear, too. That’s Will Smith saying that. We did that [mixtape] and it became strong enough to become Part Two and Part Three. I’m gonna keep them going like Rockys. However many Rockys there are, that’s how many Champ Is Heres there’s gonna be. That’s how I’m always feeling, that [I’m the dude to beat]. That’s how I’m feeling right now.”

40 Bars of Terror

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Jadakiss “40 Bars of Terror” (2004)

Produced by: Scram Jones

Jadakiss: “That was that Terror Squad beat. When I heard it, I loved it. I had to get on that. All the beats you ever hear me use when they’re somebody else’s, they’re beats that I really liked when I first heard it, or those are songs I liked as a fan that I probably played with their words on it. Whenever you’re in mixtape mode with that kind of mixtape where you’re rhyming on other people’s beats, you can just say whatever you feel. That’s the good thing about mixtapes. You ain’t worried about radio, you ain’t worried about who cares. I wish I could get in mixtape mode when I’m making albums, but it’s hard due to the politics of it. But if you could, it would be beautiful, because you don’t give a fuck.”


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Jadakiss f/ Anthony Hamilton “Why?” (2004)

Produced by: Havoc

Jadakiss: “‘Why?’ was a song that I always had in my head. I mean, I always wanted to do a song asking questions, but I never could get the right beat. And that was a different kind of Havoc [beat]. That’s one of his meanest publishing checks. He got right off that.

“Anyway, once we got the beat, I had to ask some questions. But I needed questions that could relate to the whole world. I always had a lot of questions, but they were like inner city. I needed a broader horizon. But then after the 9/11 thing happened, there were a whole bunch of questions you could attack. It was going to be controversial, but it was going to be good.

“I had ‘Buck Fush’ shirts. Fuck Bush, but backwards. Everybody used to be wearing them on the tour bus. We happened to be in D.C. one time, and this lady went crazy in CVS, like ‘I don’t believe you!’ It was funny. I made it to Bill O’Reilly. Bill was talking about me. You made it when all that stuff happens.

”I needed some soul, and [Anthony Hamilton] was the perfect person at the time. Everything he sings comes from the gut. So he nailed it once I told him I wanted to call it ‘Why?’ and he heard the verses.

“Interscope at the time was the major monster machine. Once they felt excited about it, it was out of my hands. Jimmy [Iovine] was telling them, ‘Get this where it needs to be.’ That’s just the politics, like why can’t that happen with every song?”

Kiss Of Death

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Jadakiss f/ Styles P “Kiss Of Death” (2004)

Produced by: Red Spyda

Jadakiss: ”I wanted to change the flow up for that beat, and that’s why I was [using a different syncopation in my rhymes]. Red Spyda gave me that beat, and that’s just how I was feeling at that time. And I wanted to call it the ‘Kiss of Death’ and make it the title track for the album. That was a [planned street leak]. We let it out early and leaked it on purpose.

New York

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Ja Rule f/ Jadakiss & Fat Joe “New York” (2004)

Produced by: Cool and Dre

Jadakiss: “Murder Inc. and Ruff Ryders are like cousins. From the beginning, with X working with [Irv] Gotti, and [Ruff Ryders CEOs] Darrin and Joaquin having a good relationship with the Gotti brothers. But that whole 50 [Cent] thing was going on at the time, and I was really neutral.

“They tracked me down. BJ [from Murder Inc.] was on us like, ‘I need this verse, please!’ Cool and Dre had did the beat. The beat was knockin’ though! Once I really sat down and heard it I was like, ‘I don’t got nothing to do with this whole 50 shit or none of that, I’m gonna do it.’ And then that gave him some ammo to act like I was siding with Ja, but it wasn’t really like that, it was just a good song at the end of the day.

”[50 Cent] realized I guess that it was doing a little something, making a little noise, and he was on ‘Operation Ja Can’t Make No Noise.’ So that all transpired from there. It was really all a marketing tool for him. How could I not [go back at 50 Cent]? How would you feel if I didn’t go back at him?”

From Now Till Then

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Jadakiss “From Now Till Then” (2008)

Produced by: The Alchemist

Scratches by: DJ Premier

Jadakiss: “I wanted it on [The Last Kiss]. I had a lot of music, first of all, because after my last album I took five years off before I came back with The Last Kiss. So the more music the better. But you start getting into publishing and splits, and you’re going over the cap and all that, but with The Last Kiss I didn’t even give a fuck about none of that. I wanted to give the people as much music as I could from the lapse, from the hiatus I was on. You were waiting, so you deserve that.

”I guess after Kanye leaked his whole last album and still put the same album out, nobody’s mad because now that’s the formula. But [back then] I guess once [‘From Now Till Then’] got leaked, they didn’t want to put it on the album or make it a bonus joint or nothing, it just got swept under the rug.

”[It got leaked] by not stripping everybody naked when you leave the studio. There’s too much you can record shit off. Your phone, your watch, shoestrings. I might make this album the first album where everyone is butt ass naked! The engineer, everybody gotta be naked in the studio if you wanna come to my session. I bet you that’s how you keep the media back, nothing gonna get leaked, none of that. [Actually], you might have wild niggas there lined up!

”I got a good memory. I just try to touch points [in my rhymes] that you went through. It’s hard to think of stuff that everybody went through, but there’s some good lines that a lot of us growing up around the same time [can relate to]. And there’s still stuff that we did that little kids are doing.

“Even if it ain’t everybody, sometimes just a few people will come up and say, ‘This one line right here is my whole life, I can’t believe you said that!’ Whoever it can touch, as long as it can touch somebody, I feel my job is done. [People come up to me and say favorite lines] all the time. Especially with Twitter, I’ll get a whole two hours worth. I saw someone typing my bars the other day, and he was like, ‘Hold on y’all don’t worry, I got more. I’m coming back with Kiss bars.’ I was like, ‘This guy’s crazy!’”

Letter To BIG

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Jadakiss f/ Faith Evans “Letter To B.I.G.” (2009)

Produced by: Needlz

Jadakiss: “I got the beat early. Needlz came with it saying, ‘They trying to buy it.’ He always tells me Dr. Dre or somebody else wanna buy the beat to try to get me to buy it. I’ve caught on to that lately. But I liked the beat enough to pay for it before my budget was open. So I had the beat, and I said, ‘Let’s do this letter to B.I.G.’ But I didn’t want it to be corny. I needed it to be heartfelt.

“So how I told you I wanted ‘Why?’ to be a broader horizon, I wanted this to be more personal. I was actually able to nail it. Then they eventually used it in the Notorious movie. It worked out good. They got Faith on the hook, it was [the right] timing. It came out for the movie, it was perfect.

”[If B.I.G. was still alive], we’d probably be doing this interview on a helicopter. Shit would be different. Especially for me, I know that I would be a few levels up higher than I am now if he was here. He would’ve saw to that.”

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