Jadakiss is a formidable voice in the rap game. He has a distinctive cadence that would stand out in a crowd of a million rappers, and a track record that dates back to the days when B.I.G had NYC – and hip-hop – on lock. He’s often been quoted as claiming himself top 5 “dead or alive,” which he takes to the next level with his aptly titled album, Top 5 Dead Or Alive. Bold right? The question is, does the album live up to that name? Well, in my humble opinion, no. Is it a good album? Yes.
Almost ironically, the album’s second song, The Shop Skit, has a group of men discussing his (Jada’s) accolades while getting lined up. One man remarks that “he can’t just rely on bars anymore.” Why is this ironic, well, because it unintentionally – or maybe intentionally – sets the tone for the album. Top 5 DOA does little to stand out from everything else that’s out now. Collaborations with Weezy, Jeezy and Future, are dope, but aren’t anything special or innovative; however, they are lyrically dope. That’s the conundrum I’m having with this album. Jada is on point; he just doesn’t stray too far from the same few topics over and over, making it boring at times.
There are some dope joints here, though. He teams up with Styles for their signature back and fourth flow on Synergy, and he trades veteran bars with Mass Appeal head honcho Nas on Rain. As well, You Don’t Eat, featuring Diddy, Man In The Mirror – and even the Nipsey and Ne-Yo featured Ain’t Nothin’ New – offer some of the J-to-the-muah ‘Fung Shui’ I was hoping for.
Top 5 DOA? Well, with a few decades of consistency under his belt, it’s hard not at least to put his name in the running. He’s cut from a cloth that isn’t quite appreciated as much as it once was. He’s a super dope lyricist, but sometimes I find he panders to the mainstream more than I like. Overall, it’s a solid effort – and worth bumping. If you’re a Jadakiss’ head, you’ll be more than appeased.