Jadakiss is a member of the group The LOX and the Hip Hop collective Ruff Ryders. He is one of the three owners of the imprint known as D-Block Records. In early 2007, Jadakiss signed to Roc-a-Fella Records / Def Jam Records. Jadakiss has released four solo studio albums, the most recent being Top 5 Dead or Alive on November 20, 2015.
By age 16, Jadakiss was a freestyle rapper. He and some of his friends were given the opportunity to compete in the “Jack the Rapper Competition” in Florida, where Jadakiss had been noticed for his battle rap ability. He met Dee and Wah of the Ruff Ryders (then a management company), and began hanging out and battling outside of the Ruff Ryders’ studio where artists such as DMX made their first hits.
Jadakiss founded the rap group The Bomb Squad in 1994 with friends, Sheek Louch and Styles P. They later signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, where it was suggested that they change their name simply to “The LOX”, which came to stand for Living Off eXperience.
The group, especially Jadakiss, developed a close relationship with The Notorious B.I.G., during which time Jadakiss was taken under Biggie’s wing. The LOX’s first hit was the tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. called “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa” (the B-side to Puff Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You”) in 1997. In 1998, the LOX released Money, Power & Respect. Though the record was successful, eventually going Platinum, The LOX grew unhappy with Bad Boy Records and Puffy’s glossy, radio-friendly production. Following this album, they left the label to sign with Ruff Ryders Entertainment.
Jadakiss’s debut album, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, was released in August 2001 on the Ruff Ryders/Interscope label. The album featured popular guests and producers such as DJ Premier, The Alchemist, DMX, Eve, Snoop Dogg and Swizz Beatz, but was written off as repetitive and uninspired. Jadakiss has acknowledged the criticism as, generally speaking, valid, saying the record was done less out of inspiration than out of contract obligations to Bad Boy. The album produced three singles: “We Gonna Make It” featuring Styles P, “Knock Yourself Out” and “Put Ya Hands Up.” Jadakiss is mentioned in Eminem’s 2002 song ‘Till I Collapse as one of the best rappers in the industry.
Jadakiss’s second album, Kiss of Death, was released in June 2004. His song “Why?” (featuring Anthony Hamilton) became one of the year’s biggest hits, spawning a remix featuring Styles P, Common, Nas, and Hamilton. “Why?” remains Jada’s biggest hit, peaking at #11 on the Hot 100. Another single from the record, “U Make Me Wanna,” featured Mariah Carey and was a much more commercially driven love song. Kiss of Death did not reflect the popularity of its lead single, but it was better received than his first effort.
In late 2007, Jadakiss signed to Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, a move Jay had been trying to arrange for a long time. The move came on the heels of increased D-Block/Roc-a-Fella collaborations; in 2006, Jadakiss and former rival Beanie Sigel collaborated on DJ Khaled’s album Listennn…the Album, and in 2007, on Freeway’s album Free At Last. Styles P appeared on a radio freestyle with Freeway and Sigel, and also appeared briefly in the video for Jay-Z’s American Gangster single “Roc Boys,” in which he throws up the famous Roc-a-Fella sign, “the Diamond.”
In 2009, Jadakiss released his third official album, The Last Kiss. The first single is “By My Side”, featuring Ne-Yo. The second official single is “Can’t Stop Me”. The third official single is “Death Wish”, featuring Lil Wayne. The fourth official single is “Who’s Real”, featuring Swizz Beatz and OJ Da Juiceman. In 2010, Jadakiss reunited with the Ruff Ryders label while remaining at Roc-a-Fella.
Jadakiss’ fourth studio album Top 5, Dead or Alive was released November 20th, 2015.