Between his distinctively hoarse voice, an equally scratchy laugh, and a long-proven capability for street-smart rhymes, Jadakiss has staked out his corner in New York City's hip-hop scene. The MC born Jason Phillips in 1975 began his career as a member of The Lox, a hardcore rap outfit from Yonkers, New York, under the Bad Boy Records imprint. As the fire-spitting collective displayed seamless on-wax chemistry and a successful string of lyrical performances on '90s hits—namely the title track on their debut effort, Money, Power, Respect, and Diddy's 1997 posse cut "It's All About The Benjamins"—'Kiss quickly became a marquee MC. After The Lox fiercely advocated for a release from their contract and liberated their sophomore album, We Are The Streets, through the Swizz Beats-led Ruff Ryders label, Jadakiss launched his solo career with Kiss Tha Game Goodbye in 2001. Singles like the triumphant "We Gonna Make It" and Neptunes-produced "Knock Yourself Out" proved that Jadakiss could navigate commercial success as adeptly as the streets. He followed up with 2004's Kiss of Death, propelled by "Why?", a massive protest anthem that some radio stations banned for questioning President George Bush's involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Following a blistering run of mixtapes, Jadakiss found a home at Def Jam, where he's continued to reveal new sides of himself: On 2020's Ignatius, he grieves the death of his best friend and A&R man—the album's namesake—via reflective rhymes ("Pearly Gates"), thundering production ("Huntin Season"), and a set of wishlist collaborations, including Pusha T, Rick Ross, and 2 Chainz. Jadakiss drops studio LPs at his own pace, but not at the expense of his relevance—his unmistakable voice and sharp punchlines hold weight long beyond an album cycle.
BORNMay 27, 1975