It was a flawless fall day in Brooklyn. The shining sun partnered with the whimsical wind to delight and dance on my chocolate skin, as I took a stroll down Malcolm X Boulevard. I discovered a chic vegan cafe and felt compelled to go in and gift my taste buds a fresh adventure. I ordered the Kale Mary smoothie and thought to myself “Wow, Jadakiss would be very proud of me right now.” The Lox member, best known for delivering meaty bars through raspy vocals, has gone pescatarian and is now mastering different types of bars: juice bars. Jada’s health journey started with a simple decision to give up red meat, in order to avoid certain diseases that run in his family, to now owning five juice bars and eating clean as a lifestyle. The Verzuz Champ understands that health is wealth and he wants to make sure we are all wealthy for a very long time. So, the next time you find yourself ready to bite into a piece of fried chicken ask yourself “WWJD, what would Jada do?”
RA: How do you define health and what do you do to stay healthy?
Jadakiss: Health is taking care of yourself: moving, walking, breathing and not staying dormant. I
use to workout outside and see a lot of older people. That inspired me to go get my aunts, my mom and my grandma and bring them outside and say “look.” I just try to do something every other day, wether it be walking or working out. Of course, I try and put life in my body instead of putting dead animals, or putting stuff from these food deserts that they put in our neighborhoods. I try to encourage one person at a time to buy a juicer or juice and start eating some fruits, vegetables and some vitamins. We all have people in our family with ailments: diabetes, high blood pressure, things of that nature. So, if we could prevent a little bit at a time, that’s the overall goal.
RA: You’ve opened a couple of juice bars. What made you want to get into the juice bar business?
Jadakiss: When the Lox was coming back off the road, we would stop in Harlem at the juice bar on 125th,
between Park and Madison. We would go there and juice up after coming off tour and spot dates. We started learning about it; really Styles mostly. He was really the first one to go vegan and the first one to stop eating McDonald’s. Then he spread it to the group, but it didn’t really reach Louch. Louch eats what he wants, cause he works out a lot too. As long as he does that, that’s good. But me, I think I have some prostate issues in my family, my grandma passed and my dad went through some of that. About 15 years ago, my mom and I stopped eating beef. Then, I got off chicken a few years after that. I struggle with carbs, I love french fries. I don’t eat beef, chicken or pork, none of that. We got together and put a juice bar in Yonkers. There’s five up and running right now, three in the Bronx and one in Brooklyn.
RA: You started rapping really young. What was it about rapping that caught you and is it the same thing that keeps you going today?
Jadakiss: I would have to say a lot of it is my mom, she must of knew something or saw something in me. I use to like to break dance when I was little. I guess music was just in me. I remember graduating from Pre-K to kindergarten or even kindergarten to first grade, my aunt Emma and my mom bought me a little radio and a vinyl of Sugar Hill. I think I asked for a radio and the vinyl was a bonus. Then, I can remember turning 12 or 13 and my mom and dad took me to a Keith Sweat, LL Cool J, Heavy D at The Apollo and I loved it. I’m like she must knew something.
RA: I consider you a lyrical genius. The way you put words and rhymes together is genius. Can you describe what you do to tap into that?
Jadakiss: It really goes off the production, the beat. If I really love the beat, then I can really knock it out fast. If the beat is a little challenging, then it starts playing with my nerves a little bit then I go to sleep. For some reason in the studio, I have to sleep. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I always, before a session go to sleep. With The Lox, when we started off rapping once we decided on the beat, we would all go in a neutral corner. I’ll be in one corner, Styles would be laying down, then Louch would be over somewhere. I don’t necessarily have to sit down to write. I might walk over there, it just comes how it comes. I might walk to the bathroom and it just comes.
RA: Mental health is a trending topic these days. How do you take care of your mental?
Jadakiss: I try to channel my inner chi by just exhaling. Even with Verzuz, it being my second one, a lot of people thought I was gonna be Jada drunk like the one against Fab. I might have had tequila or margarita or something at the hotel before we even went to the Garden, but I was very much in another zone. It had a lot to do with my anxiety bothering me, but I kept it to a level where it worked for me, as opposed to it working against me. I was anxious because Styles and Sheek never did it before and I was trying to get them to see the seriousness. P was already going back and forth with Jim Jones on social media so he kinda got it, but Louch was really poised and not taking it serious until we got there. All day I was saying I was in Adderall war mode, but I wasn’t really on Adderall, but I was in war mode. I was moving so much because I had a lot on my mind. I deal with anxiety by trying to chill, block myself out, go sit down, drink some water. I never want it to spill over on that type of platform.
RA: If you could leave one lesson behind for your kids what would it be?
Jadakiss: Work hard; work beyond hard. Use all of the naysayers and things like that to get to that extra level of what you want to do. Coming from Yonkers is like a black cloud; if you could get out of there and get them to love you, everything else is easy. You know how they say coming from New York, you can make it here you can make it anywhere. If you can deal with Yonkers, everything else is a layup. I just tell my kids work hard, pray a lot, save their money, be humble and respectful.