Street credibility is a hard earned (and often elusive) factor that the majority of successful Hip Hop acts strive to maintain. Practically birthing the now superfluous concept of the mixtape rapper in the late ’90s, The Lox have reached an infallibility in this regard, as the group approaches their second decade relaying the harsh realities of Westchester County’s Yonkers (a suburban enclave just outside of New York City). While the trio has no established frontman, Jadakiss is the arguable face of the group having achieved the most solo success and maintained a following withstanding battles against the likes of formidable emcees such as Beanie Sigel and 50 Cent. Consignment is his latest free release aiming for the continuation of his welcome amongst today’s thriving emcees.

The project’s fitting title stems from an extended metaphor relating to doing favors within the illegal drug trade, as Jadakiss has grown an expansive syndicate of rapping collaborators in the way a street pharmacist has a wide range of connections. Having earned a reputation for the witty glamorization of violence, there are minor glimpses of that for which Kiss is revered such as the hard edge of “Respected” featuring Fabolous & Lloyd Banks, the tag team flow with his Lox compatriot Styles P on “Dope Boy” and the boom map tribute to an incarcerated ace on “Without You”. As well, “I’m Good” is a hard record catered to New York’s nightlife niche (often referred to as a “club banger”), evidence of a concerted attempt to maximize his reach.

Concessions to day one supporters are compromised by awkwardly unremarkable ill-fitting guest appearances, resultant in a downturn in quality for the formerly consistent veteran, as Consignment finds Jadakiss trying to keep pace with the ever changing rap game’s rotating cast of dominant figures. Once capable of establishing a presence on his own, he is now reliant on the crutch of features who have a greater buzz as Wale, French Montana and Future accompany an emulation of the reigning Maybach Music Group’s aesthetic on “Paper Tags” and “Turn Up.” Further confounding adjustments arrive in the form of Meek Mill & Yung Joc on “By the Bar,” the attempt at a Southern flow on the A$AP Rocky & Swizz Beatz assisted “Stret Knock Raspy” and “We Gettin Money,” a riding anthem with Texas up and comer Trae Tha Truth. All are drastic departures from the sound that originally rendered Kiss a staple.

Overall, much Consignment reflects the watered down state of a scene where artificial team ups are designed to tackle the risk of dedicated fandom not being enough for East Coast emcees to stay afloat. As Jadakiss readies Top 5 Dead Or Alive, he should keep in mind his natural ability to stand out from the bunch, as accessories aren’t always necessary.

DX Consensus: “EP-worthy”

Listen to Consignment by Jadakiss