Personnel: Butta (vocals).
Audio Mixer: Rich Keller.
Recording information: Chalice Studios, Los Angeles, CA; D-BLOCK Studios, Yonkers, NY; Jungle City Studios; Marathon Studios, LA; Pitchshifters Studio, Copenhagen, Denmark; The Blue Room Recordings Studios, Atlanta, GA; Tree Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA.
Photographer: Tom Medvedich.
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. Then Akon's trademark sound effect -- the clang of jailhouse doors -- introduces a number that actually deserves it, as the dark and dire "Y. O. (Youthful Offenders)" suggests the prison system is screwed and only breeds Old Offenders. "Jason," with Swizz Beatz, high-kicks like a dancehall champion while "Ain't Nothin' New" comes with the sheen and stately cinematic feel of a Bond theme, making Jada's "Seein' if these seven digits cheques clear/Drivin' cars that don't come out 'til next year" sound as refined and certain as 007's "Shaken, not stirred." A top-notch Lil Wayne appearance plus an unofficial Lox reunion with Styles P and Sheek Louch guesting on the LP help put this one through the uprights, giving veteran Jada one of his best and most ambitious showcases to date. ~ David Jeffries
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