Kiss Tha Game Goodbye → Jadakiss (2001)
“Everybody was saying that I was killing all the features and the DJ Clue tapes. Now there was some question if I could make an entire album by myself. I just wanted to prove people wrong. This is when the album budgets were insane. I had a house in Miami, which belonged to Al Capone. It was in South Beach. I had a room, Sheek and Styles both had rooms. I had one of my boys in the guesthouse. We had maids and chefs…we were doing it humongous. I would write five or six songs and go lay them down in the Hit Factory in New York. I think I did ‘Show Discipline’ with Nas in Cali. I beat that budget up [laughs].
‘Knock Yourself Out’ was very important for my career. Back then, if you had a Neptunes track you had a hit. But the song that came out was not the original beat. I had another Neptunes beat that I thought was even crazier. I went down to Virginia with Pharrell. We chopped it up and went through a lot of beats and we ended up getting a joint that I thought was going to be ‘Knock Yourself Out.’ We had the hook and everything. We took so much time on the song that I didn’t even lay any verses. So we got back to New York and I was going to lay it down at the Hit Factory. I knew how I wanted the rhymes to flow. I already knew it was going to be my single.
But when I get to the studio the beat was not the original beat that Pharrell gave me in VA! I’m like, ‘Holy shit! How could you do this to me?!!!’ Nobody told me that the track had been changed. I’m like, ‘What happened to the other beat?!!!’ So Pharrell’s people start telling me that he didn’t like it. And I’m thinking, ‘Damn, he’s just going to switch it without me?’ But I ended up laying it down. I started listening to it and I liked what I heard. Once we sent it to Pharrell to mix it and it came back it was fire! I knew the ladies was going to love it. We put it out and it did great. To this day, when I perform ‘Knock Yourself Out’ it still gets a marvelous response.
Another favorite of mine was ‘We Gonna Make It.’ It’s an inspirational song. It could apply to how you feeling that day or what’s going on in the world. It’s a timeless song about the underdog. It’s about people who sometimes feel like they don’t get enough recognition, like myself. I can always play that song and feel good about myself. I felt so crazy about the beat when Alchemist first played it for me. I knew it was going to be something beautiful. I could listen to that song all night.
I was happy with my debut. It went gold and eventually a little bit more. My whole thing has always been to try to do a little bit better each album. Now that’s harder because of the overall decline of album sales. But if you could still get across to the people and outdo what the building expects you will do great. It’s about pleasing the fans.”