Jadakiss Talks "Hold You Down", Spreading the "Love", New York Hip Hop, and More
Wed, 01 Jun 2011 10:22:01
Jadakiss just wants to spread a little love.
On I LOVE YOU. (A Dedication to My Fans) The Mixtape, Jadakiss embraces his audience like never before, personally expressing his gratitude via some of the best and most brilliant rhymes of his career thus far. "Hold Me Down" bounces with a soulful groove that proves the perfect palette for the MC's mic mastery.
"I'm trying to make it a beautiful summer for the listeners," he declares. There's no doubt that he will with I LOVE YOU.
Jadakiss sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about "Hold You Down", bringing some love to hip hop, kicking it with fans, where he's headed next, storytelling and so much more.
What's the story behind "Hold You Down"? How did it come about?
I have my artist Emmany on there. I'm also breaking him. I slide him on these notes, use it as the first single off the mixtape, and piggyback him off of that. That's something I learned from the older cats like Puff Daddy and The Ruff Ryders. I'm just following suit and protocol.
What does the song mean to you?
It has a double meaning. If you listen to the song, it's like me talking to a girl who, for the most part, took care of me. Now, I want to pay her back for holding me down and hold her down. However, it's also for the fans over all these years. For holding me down, I want to appreciate ya'll and hold ya'll down with this mixtape.
The mixtape shows that appreciation for the fans right from the start.
That's what it is. Without them, there would be no me. I always like to let them know that I'm not too big and I'm not on a high horse. I appreciate every last one of my fans.
Do you talk to a lot of fans after shows?
I go out on the floor, hug the babies, take pictures, and everything else. If my dressing room's big enough, we have a party in there with the fans. Drink up my champagne with me. Eat the fruits. I'm very hands-on with the people.
Did the mixtape come together fairly quickly?
Well, "I Love You" is a statement that my entourage uses a lot for waiters, engineers, or whoever is assisting us. Basically, it's whoever is helping you. It could be somebody in the sneaker store. I just said I wanted to name the tape for the fans that. Some songs were halfway done, while some songs I made right there on the spot. I made sure it all revolved around my fans in the appreciation package.
Is it important for you to tell stories with your songs?
Yeah! That's something that the dudes I came up listening to and idolizing did such as the late The Notorious B.I.G. and Nasty Nas Escobar. They paint pictures and visuals. When you're listening to their lyrics, you're watching it in a cinematic form. That's something I inherited coming up wanting to be an MC. I try harder and harder every time with that.
What encourages that visual sensibility? Do you watch a lot of movies?
I watch mainly sports. I'll watch some particular movies that catch my interest. I read some books both fiction and non-fiction. I'm just a smart young man [Laughs]. I'm like a sponge, Rick. I soak a lot of things up. I watch the news. I read the newspaper. I'm just on point with things [Laughs].
Is the mixtape a bridge to the next album Top 5, Dead or Alive?
Definitely! With the way the industry is declining, physical CD sales are down. On the internet, there's all kinds of footage and content being constantly uploaded and blasted off every day. You've got to give the people a little leeway to let them know you're coming with a project. What better to warm them up for an LP than a mixtape? It can only help you.
Plus, you get time to evolve.
You need some time. I'm definitely a firm believer that you need some time to evolve, see some things, and soak up some things before you come with another album.
Did you get to do anything differently with I LOVE YOU?
If you followed my Champ is Here series, this is much different than that. There are a lot of heartfelt songs and a few more songs for the females than usual. They're songs that you can ride out and zone out to a opposed to being so hard and edgy like the Kiss you usually get. This is off to the left a little.
You preserve the same identity while breaking new ground.
That's still there. It's just with a twist. I'm always going to keep that there, but I'm playing with it a little. I'm testing the waters.
Did you know "Gone Too Long" would close this out?
I had an idea that it would be somewhere towards the end or at the end because it's a good summary. It goes well at the end. It goes through the journey. When you hear the songs before it, that's where it feels like it should go.
Which artists do you always come back to?
Definitely Nas! It's mainly how I'm feeling. I go off how I feel, and how the feeling is at that moment. I don't like to get on any type of bandwagon. My formula is feeling. You have to go off the emotion in the moment and how it feels. If it feels good, it is good. You can't force the feeling. Sometimes people know it's not the right screw but they're still screwing it in anyway. You've got to do what comes naturally and fits.
How has New York rap evolved?
New York hip hop is still pretty good because New York rappers are very versatile. They're able to stay in their own lane. They're able to get on the bottom songs. They're able to do R&B songs. They're like chameleons and they can adapt to any situation so New York hip-hop will always be alright. Whatever way the game is leaning towards, they're able to stay afloat.
What's your favorite Jadakiss song?
Purchase the album !