Release Date: Nov 20, 2015
Record label: Def Jam
Genre(s): Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap
Ruff Ryders member Jadakiss dropped the "Top Five Dead or Alive" line years ago, and since it instantly became a common conversation starter for hip-hop heads, it's only right the MC reclaim the phrase for the title of his fourth solo studio LP. Top 5 Dead or Alive, the album, finds Jada offering plenty of arguments as to why he should be on everyone's list, but he also comes with a "show and prove" attitude, one that looks to convince not only the hardcore fans but the casual radio listeners as well. Old-school (Puff Daddy does his classic call-and-response on the highlight "You Don't Eat") sits right next to the current school (2015 hero Future could help "You Can See" land on hipster mixtapes) and the transition is smooth.
Jadakiss' first LP in over six years had its title as far back as 2010, when "Top 5 Dead or Alive" appeared on The Champ is Here 3 as a teaser for a record due later that year (and then in 2012). Like the original Champ is Here mixtape, 3 proved far superior to Kiss tha Game Goodbye and Kiss of Death, but it was bittersweet all the same for highlighting Jadakiss' strengths (spitting raspy punchline bars over someone else's beats) and admitting to his weaknesses by omission (putting actual songs together, getting those beats for himself). Impressive first-week sales notwithstanding, no one expects Jadakiss to be a commercial force anymore, which would presumably work to his advantage.