18 Songs, 1 Hour 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like an old gunslinger, Jadakiss continues to practice an outdated-yet-classical form of New York rap. The Last Kiss is not about the concept, or the beats; the show here is the rhymes. Jadakiss is a rapper’s rapper, which is why he can share space on his album with everyone from Nas to Young Jeezy to Ghostface to Lil Wayne. Jada rhymes with the grit and careful technique of a well-seasoned warrior, and everything he says has a gravitas absorbed from a 15-year tenure in the notoriously toxic rap industry. Simply put, Jada’s barbs still sting. From “Pain & Torture”: “These are pedestrian bars for the civilians / Shoes is Italian, handgun Brazilian / Open it up and see what Kiss brought ya / Slick talk, pain & torture.” The album resounds with hard-won wisdom, but “Things I’ve Been Through” and “Letter to B.I.G.” are particularly touching reflections on a life lived through rap. The latter is not conceived as a magnanimous gesture to a dead celebrity — instead, the words of the song are unnervingly straightforward, as if the listener is being let in on a letter that Jada actually sat down to write Biggie.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like an old gunslinger, Jadakiss continues to practice an outdated-yet-classical form of New York rap. The Last Kiss is not about the concept, or the beats; the show here is the rhymes. Jadakiss is a rapper’s rapper, which is why he can share space on his album with everyone from Nas to Young Jeezy to Ghostface to Lil Wayne. Jada rhymes with the grit and careful technique of a well-seasoned warrior, and everything he says has a gravitas absorbed from a 15-year tenure in the notoriously toxic rap industry. Simply put, Jada’s barbs still sting. From “Pain & Torture”: “These are pedestrian bars for the civilians / Shoes is Italian, handgun Brazilian / Open it up and see what Kiss brought ya / Slick talk, pain & torture.” The album resounds with hard-won wisdom, but “Things I’ve Been Through” and “Letter to B.I.G.” are particularly touching reflections on a life lived through rap. The latter is not conceived as a magnanimous gesture to a dead celebrity — instead, the words of the song are unnervingly straightforward, as if the listener is being let in on a letter that Jada actually sat down to write Biggie.

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