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Jadakiss in 2009.
May 27, 1975 |
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Jason Phillips (born May 27, 1975), is an American rapper better known by his stage name Jadakiss. He is known for being one third of the New York hip hop group The Lox, as well as being a member of the Ruff Ryders collective and for his solo work. He is currently signed to both Def Jam Records and his own label, D-Block Records, which he founded with the other members of The Lox. Jadakiss has released four studio albums, with the most recent being Top 5 Dead or Alive on November 20, 2015.
Jadakiss began rapping in the early 1990s as a member of The Lox, with the group eventually signing to Puff Daddy's record label Bad Boy Entertainment. After leaving Bad Boy in 2000, the group all signed to Ruff Ryders, where they embarked on solo careers, with Jadakiss releasing his debut solo album Kiss Tha Game Goodbye in 2001. Since the release of his first album in 2001, Jadakiss has gone on to release three more solo studio albums, as well as an album with The Lox and a joint album with Fabolous. In 2007, Jadakiss signed with Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings, who both released his 2009 album The Last Kiss along with Ruff Ryders Entertainment.
Jadakiss was born Jason Phillips on May 22, 1975, in Yonkers, New York, and had an interest in hip hop from an early age. At the age of 12, he began selling drugs after his parents asked him to earn his own money. He soon stopped selling drugs, however, and instead began freestyle rapping for money after watching other people do it on the street corner. While freestyling, he eventually met longtime friends Sheek Louch and Styles P. Phillips quickly developed a small underground fanbase and at the age of 12, entered himself into a freestyle competition in Florida where he attracted the attention of the owners of Ruff Ryders Entertainment. Along with Styles and Louch, he formed a group known as The Warlocks, and the trio began rapping together. They eventually met Mary J. Blige, who, impressed with their lyrics, handed their demo to Puff Daddy, who signed the group to his label, Bad Boy Entertainment.
Upon signing with Bad Boy, Puff Daddy shortened the groups name from The Warlocks to simply "The LOX". They made their first appearance on The Main Source's 1994 LP Fuck What You Think on the track "Set it Off." They immediately began writing and performing on hit songs with fellow Bad Boy artists, including Puff Daddy's "It's All About the Benjamins" and "I Got the Power", Mase's "24 Hrs. to Live", Mariah Carey's "Honey", Mary J. Blige's "Can't Get You Off My Mind" and Notorious B.I.G.'s "Last Day". The group developed a close relationship with B.I.G., during which time Jadakiss especially was taken under his wing. The LOX's first hit song was a tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. in the wake of his 1997 death, titled "We'll Always Love Big Poppa". The song was chosen as the B-side to Puff Daddy's smash hit B.I.G. tribute song "I'll Be Missing You", and received widespread commercial success, achieving multi-platinum status from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The success and reception of the song opened the door for them to write more of their own songs, and in 1998, the LOX released their debut studio album, Money, Power & Respect. The album was both a commercial and critical success, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and number 1 on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and went on to achieve platinum status. Though the record was successful, The Lox grew unhappy with Bad Boy Records and Puffy's glossy, radio friendly production, feeling it conflicted with their grimier street aestethic. Following the release of their debut album, the group left the label to sign with Ruff Ryders Entertainment. They released their second album, We Are The Streets in 2000, through Ruff Ryders. The album was once again a success, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard 200 and number 2 on the US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. It featured production from Swizz Beats and Timbaland, and spawned one single, Ryde or Die, Bitch featuring fellow Ruff Ryders artist Eve.
Jadakiss began embarking on a solo career in 2001, and his debut album, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, was released in August 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, and was commercially successful, going on to be certified gold by the RIAA and selling over 200,000 copies during its first week of release. Despite commercial success, the album received negative reception from critics who criticised the album for being repetitive and uninspired. Jadakiss has acknowledged the criticism as, generally speaking, valid, saying the record was done less out of inspiration but rather out of contractual 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 followed this album with Kiss of Death, released in June 2004. It features guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Eminem, The Lox, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Nate Dogg, DJ Quik and more. His song "Why?", featuring Anthony Hamilton and produced by Havoc of Mobb Deep, became one of the year's biggest hits, spawning a remix featuring Styles P, Common and Nas. "Why?" remains Jadakiss' biggest hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also garnered controversy for a line in which Jadakiss claims that he believes George Bush planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Another single from the record, "U Make Me Wanna," featuring Mariah Carey peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was both a commercial and critical success, receiving better reviews than his previous album and debuted at number 1 on both the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts. 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."
In 2009, Jadakiss released his much-delayed and anticipiated third studio album, The Last Kiss. The first single, "By My Side" featuring Ne-Yo was released in October 2008. Two more singles, "Can't Stop Me" and "Death Wish", featuring Lil Wayne were released in 2009. One more single, "Who's Real", featuring Swizz Beatz and OJ Da Juiceman released later that year. In 2010, Jadakiss left Roc-A-Fella records. In 2011, he was featured on two DJ Khaled tracks, one of them titled "It Ain't Over Til It's Over", featuring Mary J. Blige and Fabolous, and the remix of "Welcome to My Hood," 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, hosted by DJ Drama.
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 was scheduled to be released during September or October 2013, but after much delay, the album was finally released on November 20, 2015. It features guest appearances from Akon, Future, Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, Nas, Nipsey Hussle Styles P, Puff Daddy, Sheek Louch, Swizz Beatz, Wiz Khalifa and Young Buck, and was supported by 2 singles, "Jason" featuring Swizz Beats, and Ain't Nothin' New featuring Ne-Yo and Nipsey Hussle. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200, and received positive reviews from critics.
In 2016, The Lox released their first album in 16 years, titled Filthy America... It's Beautiful. The album featured guest appearances from Fetty Wap, Mobb Deep and Gucci Mane, and peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200.
On February 29, 2016, Fabolous posted a picture on Instagram with Jadakiss with the caption, "Freddy vs. Jason coming soon", hinting at the release of a joint project with Jadakiss titled, Freddy vs. Jason. On April 2, 2016, Fabolous and Jadakiss released a freestyle of Future's "Wicked" from Purple Reign that was scheduled appear on Freddy vs. Jason, but did not make the final cut of the album. They also revealed that it would not be a mixtape, but instead a full album. On October 31, 2017, the album's first and only single, "Stand Up" featuring Future was released. On November 21, 2017, it was announced that the album title was changed to Friday on Elm Street. The album was released on November 24, 2017, and features guest appearances from Future, Jeezy, Styles P, French Montana and Yo Gotti.
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.
Reinvesting in their community, in the summer of 2014, Jadakiss and Styles P opened a juice bar in Yonkers, New York, called Juices For Life. Together, they have gone on to open two more branches in The Bronx and one in Brooklyn.
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' 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 on a song by Ja Rule titled "New York". In this song, Ja Rule accuses 50 Cent of being a snitch, and also takes shots at 50's G Unit group. In turn, 50 Cent released a song titled "Piggy Bank" in which he disses Fat Joe and Jadakiss among others for performing on the song. This caused Jadakiss to release numerous 50 Cent diss tracks, including "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 Jadakiss and G-Unit performing together at 50 Cent's ThisIs50 Festival on October 3, 2009.
Jadakiss attracted controversy and condemnation from commentator Bill O'Reilly, who labeled him a "smear merchant" due to lyrics in his hit song "Why?", in which Jada's states his belief that George W. Bush coordinated the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
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.