After releasing The Last Kiss to mixed reviews, Jadakiss returns with his second mixtape since then, I Love You. A little less street than most mixtapes, the official Def Jam release was made to reach as many of Jada’s fans as possible and thank them for supporting him through these many years. The sentiment could easily come off as corny or insincere, but Jadakiss puts real effort into the collection of tracks, so he actually sounds like he means it.

Instead of the usual “here to conquer the game” type of opener, things start on a much lighter nore with “Hold You Down,” a radio-friendly summer jam featuring an R&B hook from Emanny. This would be a bad start for some, but Jadakiss has always been adept at making commercial tracks that still appeal to the streets, so it feels more like cookout music than something you’d hear while buying sequined jeans. He still drops hustler science on “Lil Bruh” but by the same token, it won’t alienate fans of “How 2 Feel” and its Al B. Sure!-interpolated hook.

“Accessible” or not, it wouldn’t be a Jadakiss album without him trading lines with Styles P over a dark beat and “Lay Em Down” fills the slot appropriately. The remix to “Inkredible” comes along later (with the always-welcome Rick Ross) to balance out “Toast To That,” a more laid-back, celebratory affair that makes a surprising reference to his first solo classic from L.O.X.’s “Money Power Respect”. Hearing the softer side of Kiss might get old at a certain point, but I Love You smartly keeps it short with nine songs, coming and going fast enough to leave us wanting more.

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No one is likely to confuse I Love You with a real album given its reused tracks and limited scope, but it’s still actually better than The Last Kiss in many respects. It’s certainly worth listening to and does manage to earn the “official mixtape” status it’s been granted by Def Jam.  As usual, the date for Jada’s next actual album seems to be up in the air, but I Love You makes the wait a little easier.

Listen To:I Love You: A Dedication to My Fans by Jadakiss

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