Jadakiss isn't too big for his britches -- he does listen to criticism. He hears the people who buy his music and he hears the people who write about his music. As much acclaim as he gets for his rhymes, Jada says he's taken note of his lyrical flaws. So on his upcoming LP, The Kiss of Death, Jada opens up.
"I been getting a lot of criticism [about my lyrics] with the media," he said a few weeks ago in New York. "They said the only thing that was [hindering] me from being one of the greats like Rakim, Jigga and 50 Cent was that I never let [the listeners] inside my world, my life. Plus, you gotta charge that to 50, Eminem and DMX. They came out with pain, gave the world their pain. Em with his moms and his baby's moms, X with his whole life, 50 with whatever happened to him. They made it a little more personal, that's what the fans want."
Although Kiss is being heard on the radio these days, largely via his emphatic freestyle session "The Champ Is Here" (which has been reworked to be a remix of "Time's Up"), Jada's next single, "Why," finds him reflecting less on himself and more on society.
"To be critically acclaimed, to get a Grammy, to be on MTV, you gotta talk about current events," he said. "You gotta talk about controversy, just stuff people want to hear. At the same time, you gotta get a message across."
But when making The Kiss of Death, due June 22, the LOX member did have some questions and doubts, in particular with Neptunes producer Pharrell Williams. It took the two several tries before they came up with the Neptunes' lone record on the album, "Hot Sauce to Go."
"The Pharrell experience was crazy," Kiss said. "I worked with him before, but I actually turned down seven or eight Pharrell tracks before I got the one I got. It's a blessing to keep hearing different ones, but one of my New Year's resolutions was that if I ain't feeling it, I gotta let you know right there. I can't hold it in.
"It was a little bit of turmoil, but not really," he added. "It was the artist/producer turmoil, it wasn't nothing personal. At the end of the day we worked it out. [The beat for 'Hot Sauce to Go'] sounded different, he felt good about it."
The video for "Why" was shot last week in Los Angeles by director Sanaa Hamri.