Kiss tha Game Goodbye

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In terms of sheer anticipation, Jadakiss' buzz was at an apex at the time of this album's release. While fellow LOX members Sheek and Styles flashed improved flows and lyrics on their group's sophomore strike, We Are the Streets, Jadakiss remained the group's undisputed frontman. And with the streets virtually foaming at the mouth, Jadakiss returned from the lab to birth his solo debut, Kiss tha Game Goodbye. As the last bars of Kiss tha Game Goodbye ring out, you can't help but be left with one lingering impression: kiss tha buzz goodbye. Sure, there are some bangers here: the celebratory, Alchemist-produced "We Gonna Make It," featuring Styles bubbles; the DJ Premier-blessed "None of Y'all Betta," featuring Styles and Sheek; and the gully "Un-Hunh," featuring DMX. Yet these harder-hitting efforts are leavened out by uncharacteristically smooth production, a lack of direction, and, gasp, Jadakiss' yearning for commercial love. With self-explanatory titles like "Nasty Girl," featuring Carl Thomas; "I'm a Gangsta," featuring Parlé; and "Cruisin," featuring Snoop Dogg, it becomes abundantly clear that Jadakiss is trying too hard to please everyone, with little success. But he is not the only one peeling wheels here, as the interchangeable production supplied by Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, and a host of others offers very little assistance. After jumping ship from one former label of the moment (Bad Boy) to another (Ruff Ryders), what did Jadakiss' change of address really accomplish? After all, if he wanted to go the commercial route, who better then P. Diddy to lead him there? Somewhere in the midst of all this you can be sure the shiny-suit man is smiling.

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