WIRTB Review: Kiss Tha Game Goodbye

By @SpeedontheBeat

"Fuck the frail shit," Jadakiss boastfully shouts on "We Gonna Make It," possibly one of the most well-known Jada songs. In 2001, many hip-hop fans were, well, saying "fuck the frail shit" and moving past the shiny suits that dominated a lot of late '90s rap. Hip-Hop was getting raw and rugged again--for a couple years (see "snap music")--and we were blessed with an influx of classic material from artists such as DMX, Jay Z, Wu Tang, and so on.

We also got Kiss tha Game Goodbye, an album that some consider to be one of Jadakiss' worst albums. So, you know where this is going. "Was it really that bad?" Let's look at it.

The album, Jada's first, showcased that rugged Ruff Ryders feel that listeners knew and loved. We got songs like "Put Ya Hands Up," "None of Y'all Betta," and "Un-Hunh!," the pretty scathing diss to Beanie Sigel. On the flip side, we got Jada on late-era G-Funk ("Cruisin'"), Jada trying to get on his "Changes" vibe ("Keep Ya Head Up"), and on his Pharrell tip ("Knock Yourself Out," in all of its "you can get real freaky, start poppin' yaself" glory).

Long story short, the album is uneven in some ways. It feels less like a project and more like a collection of 21 songs Jada put together for the hell of it to showcase his solo prowess, to show why, lyrically, he is known as Mr. "Top 5, Dead or Alive." It's a great project, but it seems to lack direction. And while you can somewhat put that aside for great music, the lows of the album (typically the singles and more commercial-friendly songs from the album) teeter that fine line between "ok, I'm going to go out and get Pharrell to gimme that Star Trak sound and have fun" and "ok, I'm going to go completely left, get Snoop and Nate Dogg on my album, have them seem, while competent, out of place on this 'for my NY niggas' album, and pray for the best."

That's my biggest gripe with the album. It feels more like a mixtape. A mixtape that'd be better than most albums, even today with its dated instrumentation and references, but still a mixtape. So, was it really that bad? Hell, no. It's a great album. But again, being the first 'Kiss album, I expected something a bit more cohesive. If we were talking just straight bars, the album should be considered as being one of the best from this era. Jada, bar-wise, almost never disappoints. But, bars aren't the only component of a classic album. There's gotta be a vision, some sort of reason why we're listening to the project. Kiss tha Game Goodbye doesn't have much of that other than "oh, yeah. Let's hear Jada spit."


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