kiss-1At the end of the day, Hip-Hop is ultimately the biggest bragging game on the face of the earth.

You always have to make sure that whatever you do achieve won’t be topped by peers, and especially by adversaries, thus creating this eternal revolving door of “can you do better?”

Right now one of the topics invading blogs all over cyber space is Vibe.com’s MC Championship Bracket that has Joe Budden’s jeans all in a bunch due to Method Man being ranked higher than him.

The glory about opinions is everyone has the opportunity to voice their thoughts on who should be ranked what, but Jason “Jadakiss” Philips’ rank is amongst the few that has never been brought into question.

The raspy-voiced punch line specialist from Yonkers, New York has survived shady dealings with Diddy, and memorable battles with other MC’s, to still emerge as one of the most respected individuals in a game filled with paper champions.

After a five-year vacation, the person who many consider to be the frontman for the LOX re-entered the limelight by releasing his third solo album, The Last Kiss [Click to read review] back in April of this year.

With basically every review on the album being a positive one, it’s a safe bet to say that sitting on the sidelines for half a decade didn’t cause the title of “Top 5 Dead Alive” to be revoked from his resume.

So with another album in the books, and slew of LOX/D-Block projects soon to come, how is “Montega Jada” enjoying his life back in the public eye again?

Well, finding that out is easier than saying “J To The Muah.

iHipHop.com: The Last Kiss [Click to read review] had one of the most successful opening weeks in Hip-Hop for today’s current economy by selling around 135,000 copies; and to date it’s sold over 246,000 copies. Were you at all surprised?

Jadakiss: That was a blessing man, and that’s what I tell everybody, because I didn’t expect that at all… I didn’t have a big radio single, and I didn’t do huge numbers as far as spins go, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was on a heavy promo tour…. At that point, I saw everything heating up before my eyes, so that really helped out a lot…

iHipHop.com: So what do you credit that success to?

Jadakiss: Just to being on the grind… You got to be on the grind, and it’s called “60 Days Of Hell.” For 60 days, 30 before and 30 afterwards, you have to do whatever [they] ask you to do. The labels, publicists, managers, the people in the streets, and the Internet dudes…

You got to do features, freestyles, and whatever else it is… You got to go gun-ho for 30 days before and 30 days after… If you do all of that, then you should be good…

jada-4iHipHop.com: How important is it for you to stay connected with your fan base?

Jadakiss: Oh, that’s very important… Those are the people who are going to either make you or break you…

So you have to stay connected with them, and let them know what’s going on, while you’re feeling them out… If you do that, then you’ll be okay, but if you disconnect yourself from your fan base, I don’t know… You know what I mean?

iHipHop.com: You just talked about doing promo tours and stuff like that, but do you ever feel drained when it comes to all the touring and promoting?

Jadakiss: Nah, I actually missed it, because I did take five years off… I missed being on the tour bus, and going to radio and retail… That was beautiful to me…

It will break the average man, but I love it… Also one of my perks is that I’m able to make money while on the promo tour, so it’s all love…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of being out for five years, were you at all surprised that the fans still embraced the same now as they did when you first came into the game?

Jadakiss: Definitely… That was one of the things that made me nervous, because Hip-Hop fans change hourly… Over the years, Hip-Hop has changed, and the fans change instantly too… So within that five-year gap, a lot of young listeners came in, and I had to capture them…

iHipHop.com: Speaking of the youngsters, do you feel as if you’re trying to keep up with the younger MC’s as well?

Jadakiss: Nah-nah… I’m not competing because I’m an OG… I’m still young, but I’m an OG… Whoever you think is the newest, hottest up-and-comer; whenever they see me, they tell me how they grew up off of me…

Kid Cudi told me that he listens to ‘All For The Love’ over and over again… I forgot exactly what he said, but they show that kind of love… From the Kid Cudi’s, to the Asher Roth’s [Click for Asher Roth interview], to the Red Café’s, they all show love and it’s a beautiful thing… So I don’t feel like I’m competing at all…

iHipHop.com: With all the features you had on The Last Kiss [Click to read review], was it difficult rounding up everyone you wanted for the project?

Jadakiss: Nah… Like I said, I’m an OG baby, so when I call they come… That’s one of the privileges of building a brand for yourself; you know what I mean? That’s something that you just can’t get no matter who you are… I had nothing but grade-A features on The Last Kiss [Click to read review]

iHipHop.com: How was your mind set when during the creation of The Last Kiss? You hadn’t come out with an album since ’04, did you put any added pressure on yourself when you went in for this one?

Jadakiss: At first I was in the Kiss My Ass mind state, but then I had to get out of that, because I didn’t get it as first—when it came to the dramatic change in the game, and radio and all of that… Then I had to get into The Last Kiss mind state, and I’m glad I got into that because it paid off… I was just trying to stay into the realm of 90’s music, and put the young kids into our world…

jada-3iHipHop.com: Was there any reason why it took you five years to come out with The Last Kiss?

Jadakiss: First I was under a rock, because you know I had that gun charge… I had that gun case up here up in Westchester, [New York] the Whitehouse, and that took about a year…

But I was still doing shows off the Kiss Of Death album, and I was still rocking off that for about two years…Then doing the deal between Interscope and Def Jam took about another year or year and a half, so that was the gap right there…

iHipHop.com: How did the whole deal with Def Jam come about?

Jadakiss: It was when Hov was still the vice president, and he called me up and was like, “I got some money for you over here.” “Do you want to come over here and get some money?” It was Hov who reached out to me…

iHipHop.com: Do you have any future projects lined up to be released through Def Jam as well?

Jadakiss: Nah, not right now… They came at me with a few proposals, but now we’re working on that D-Block compilation, No Security… Then the new LOX album will be out for Christmas…

iHipHop.com: Is the LOX album being released through Interscope?

Jadakiss: At the current moment; yes…

iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… At the current moment? So it can change at any point?

Jadakiss: Yeah you know… A contract is just a piece of paper…

iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… Obviously you’re one of the few to actually do songs with B.I.G., so do you have a memorable B.I.G. moment that sticks out in your head?

Jadakiss: He had came to my 21st birthday party… I had a party uptown, and he came through with Lil Cease and chilled with me all night… That was probably my best birthday party ever…

iHipHop.com: Do you have any plan of how much longer you want to stay on the forefront of the game before you take on more of an executive role?

Jadakiss: Nah, I’m going to be here baby… I don’t plan on leaving until they don’t want me anymore… When I’m no longer in-tuned with the people; that’s when I’m out of here… But as long as they love me, I’m here…

iHipHop.com: If you could start your career over, would you change anything?

Jadakiss: If I could start my career over, the only thing I would switch was the first lawyer that I did my first contract with…

iHipHop.com: [Laughing]… That’s about it?

Jadakiss: That’s it… Besides that, I would leave everything else the same…