Q+A: Jadakiss

by May 03, 2012

by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad

Armed with perhaps the most distinct voice in hip-hop history, Yonkers, NY, native Jadakiss has a track record that most MCs can dream about when they first pick up a pen and decide to pursue a rap career. With his trademark, “A-HA!” and raspy flow, Jada has dropped hit after hit after hit (after hit, after hit) and outshined more than a few rappers on their own songs. With his latest project, Consignment it doesn’t look like he has any plans of slowing down while others of his era are hitting the twilight of their careers.

The self-proclaimed, and rarely disputed, top-five dead or alive MC already has a slew of classic mixtapes already under his belt, and on his latest effort, Kiss stepped outside his lane a bit and released a project geared more toward his Dirty South fan base. Hosted by DJ Drama and featuring a number of artists from below the Mason-Dixon Line draped over bass-heavy beats, Al-Qaeda Jada goes a different route than his hardcore fans are used to. But, as usual, Jada rips every beat and flows with ease over unfamiliar production.

Earlier this week, I caught up with Jada to discuss Consignment, his next LP, a potential L.O.X. reunion, his admiration for Syracuse basketball and those classic commercials with Allen Iverson…

SLAM: I saw you at the Big East Tournament reppin’ for Syracuse, how long have you been a fan of them?

Jadakiss: All my life. When I was a little kid I wanted to attend Syracuse. I played ball as a youth, played in high school, but once I realized I wasn’t going to make it I followed rap. That was always my NCAA basketball school of choice. I try to stay close with the players, they’re living out my dream being able to go there and play for Coach Boeheim.

SLAM: Would you say you’re a bigger fan of the NBA or college?

Kiss: I watch both equally. I’ve watched a lot of the guys in the NBA now in high school, then go to college then go to the League. It’s good to see the maturation, you know what I mean?

SLAM: Over your career you’ve made a ton of basketball references in your songs and lyrics, who are some of your favorite players of all time?

Kiss: Magic Johnson, of course Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson.

SLAM: You did the whole ad campaign with Iverson, right?

Kiss: Yeah, yeah I did a bunch of ads with AI.

SLAM: How did that whole thing come about?

Kiss: We were mutual fans of each other and we linked up. After he signed the Reebok deal, they asked him who he wanted to do his commercials with and he ended up saying me and we just took it from there. Steve Stoute, a good friend of mine, was behind that as well.

SLAM: Reebok is making a bit of a comeback, I heard they’re getting ready to re-release the Questions, any chance you’ll be involved in that this time around?

Kiss: I would love to. I spoke with Swizz Beatz briefly about it, but we didn’t get into too much detail, but I would love to… if it makes dollars it makes sense, baby.

SLAM: My man Ben Osborne told me he played with you down in Orlando during All-Star weekend. Can you describe your game a little bit?

Kiss: I’m like Melo on defense, if you get what I mean. Not even Melo, I’m like STAT on defense… I’m like Amar’e on defense! I play on the outside, I got a nice pull-up, I throw some nice passes too. I’m a good team player. I’m a good facilitator with a nice jump shot.

SLAM: Have you been following the Playoffs closely at all?

Kiss: Definitely.

SLAM: Have you been rooting for the Knicks… or trying to, anyway?

Kiss: Yeah, man… It’s basically over now, but if they can get one or both games at the Garden it will make it a better series.

SLAM: As long as they don’t get swept at the Garden…

Kiss: I don’t want that to happen at all. Don’t get swept.

SLAM: You were down at the Jordan Brand Classic, right?

Kiss: Yeah, yeah I was at the JBC. I’m always there, I’m a family member of the Jordan Brand.

SLAM: Who were some of the kids who impressed you most?

Kiss: Definitely Vinny Chase (Kyle Anderson), Shabazz Muhammad, my man Archie (Goodwin) who’s going to Kentucky. A couple of them dudes was nice out there. I spoke to them off the court, it was a real good class the kids were humble, very down to earth, it was a good one.

SLAM: With Shabazz and Kyle going to UCLA, you plan on switching your allegiance at all?

Kiss: Nah, I’m not gonna switch, I’m Syracuse for life! They might just be two of my little homies that go to UCLA, I’ll stay in touch with them and rep for them. I’ll go to a few games and rock a UCLA snapback and hoodie, but man, I’m Syracuse until I die, baby!

I’m very close with Doron Lamb from Kentucky, but I’m still Syracuse even though Kentucky won it. I would have love to have seen Kentucky vs Syracuse in the Championship game but I’m happy for Ant Davis. He was a kid I met at the JBC last year as well as Teague and MKG, so it made me feel good to see them go straight from there to winning a Championship and now entering the NBA Draft. It’s amazing to see that transition right before your eyes like that.