A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that most mature older teens will be able to handle this, although it's too intense for younger kids. Though the lyrics sometimes offend, they're clever.
What's the story?
For those of us old enough to remember hula hoops and love beads, the phrase \"traditional gangsta rap\" might seem like an oxymoron. But Jadakiss offers just that on KISS OF DEATH. Jadakiss, born Jason Phillips, has been a member of Lox (formerly the Warlocks) and Ruff Ryders, and remains a member of both groups. This is his first solo album since Kiss the Game Goodbye in 2001.
Is it any good?
Filled with sex and drug references as well as most of the words that make parents cringe, KISS OF DEATH also has a lot going for it: clever writing, terrific production, spectacular background vocals, and star-studded cameos by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, DJ Quick, Pharrell, and even Mariah Carey. Add many musical nods to classic soul tunes and astute socio-political commentary, and you have a CD that is not so easy to dismiss as simply obscene or inappropriate. Jadakiss delivers a powerful collection of old-school East Coast rap, with enough familiar soul music hooks to appeal to older music lovers.
As usual, there's a clean version that is hard to find; this one isn't as clumsily edited as most. Still, it's so obvious which words are edited that it seems a little pointless. For those who can stomach a full-tilt obscenity fest, there's a lot of real substance here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mix of extraordinary profanity with smart, topical material. Jadakiss has some good material; why do you think he layers it with so much that is inappropriate for some listeners and offensive to others? Would he have as much impact if he cleaned up the material?