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Review: Jadakiss' "The Last Kiss"



I haven’t reviewed a commercial rap release in years. In my role as an alt weekly critic, I’m compelled to ignore over-hyped nonsense that major labels push on aesthetically retarded audiences. But Jadakiss, I thought, deserved an exception; while his solo discs are notorious for confusingly pairing underground material with shameless materialism, the man has always moved his pen in extraordinary ways.

After twice sitting through The Last Kiss, though, I don’t feel badly for cutting mainstream rap records from my diet. They’re truly awful; leave it to big label d-bags to compromise dudes as talented as Jada. Sure, there are heaters sprinkled throughout, but you have to mine a battlefield of bullshit to find them; for every time Jada double parks on a track, there’s a throwaway collabo with some chump like Young Jeezy or Ne-Yo (the Pharrell joint, however, is surprisingly decent).     

The saddest moment on Last Kiss is “Grind Hard” with Mary J. Blige. Not only for its tragic misuse of Queen Mary’s pipes - or even for the lame lyrics (really - Jada - “the new four-door Porsche is extra-spacious”) - but for simply not being a good song. With a title like “Grind Hard,” though, I didn’t really have to tell you how much this one blows. 

The embarrassments don’t end there. Producer Swizz Beatz has never been known for originality; hell - the dude got sued for sampling Casio pre-sets; but “Who’s Real” - on which the hook is literally “If you’re real and you know it clap your hands” - is a new low for hip-hop. (Moving down the line, “I Tried” with Avery Storm is equally horrible).

Much like was the case on Busta’s The Big Bang (which might have been the last non-Nas commercial disc I professionally examined); Kiss opens with a promising intro banger. But as fast as my whistle got whet for heavy helpings of his hollow-tipped piff-puffing metaphors, lackluster corn nuggets like “Rocking with the Best” circumcised me semi.

At its best, Last Kiss finds its protagonist exchanging punches with Raekwon and Ghostface (“Cartel Gathering”), and intimidating child molesters over giant choruses with Jazmine Sullivan (“Smoking Gun”). Nas also does due diligence on “What If” - a sequel to “Why,” and, I imagine, a prequel to upcoming hits like “Who,” “What,” “When,” and “Where.”

Finally; in case you were wondering - this disc is not poised to bring the East Coast back, as some have alleged. It may be bad, but it’s nowhere near as terrible as Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, Jeezy’s The Recession, or any of the other junk bombs that are selling these days. Major label pimps need to whore out these New York dudes much harder if they plan to reclaim the crown. My suggestion: next time avoid interspersing the few good songs with less-than-mediocre mainstream fare, and just fill the whole track list with garbage. It won’t matter to me; I sure as hell won’t be wasting time reviewing it.

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