Photo: Kevin Winter / Staff via Getty Images and Tim Mosenfelder / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  04.29.2023

On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with legendary rapper Jadakiss alongside his father and son to discuss Kiss Café, launching his own podcast, Verzuz, and much more. With a remarkable list of accomplishments spanning over two decades, the “Drink Champs” alum has solidified his status as one of the most respected and enduring figures in the rap game.

Born Jason Terrance Phillips in Yonkers, New York, Jadakiss rose to prominence in the 1990s as one-third of the iconic rap group The LOX alongside Styles P and Sheek Louch. Their debut album, Money, Power & Respect, released in 1998, featured the chart-topping title track and earned the group a gold certification. The LOX later founded their own label, D-Block Records, further establishing their influence in the hip hop world.

Jadakiss embarked on a successful solo career in the early 2000s with his debut album, Kiss tha Game Goodbye. The project included collaborations with notable artists such as Nas, Snoop Dogg, and DMX. He followed up with his sophomore album, Kiss of Death, in 2004, which featured the hit single “Why” and was certified gold. Over the years, Jadakiss has released a string of successful albums and mixtapes, including The Last Kiss, Top 5 Dead or Alive, and Ignatius, showcasing his lyrical prowess and ability to adapt to the ever-changing hip hop landscape.

In 2022, Jadakiss launched a family-owned coffee line called Kiss Café, teaming up with his father, Bob Phillips, and son Jaewon Phillips. Coffee has been an integral part of the Phillips family since 1977 when Bob started his career in the industry. With a passion for coffee that spans three generations, Kiss Café was created with honesty and accessibility, proudly grounded in heritage. The logo, featuring three intertwined coffee beans, pays homage to the Phillips family and its long-running tradition of working in the coffee industry.

To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from Jadakiss’ “Drink Champs” conversation. Continue scrolling to read them and watch the full episode here.

1. On doing back-to-back rehearsals before The LOX’s Verzuz with Dipset

Kicking off the conversation, Jadakiss acknowledged the impact of rehearsals on his show-stopping performance during The LOX’s Verzuz battle with Dipset, attributing this lesson to Sean “Diddy” Combs. Jada shared that during his time signed to Diddy, he ensured they rehearsed extensively before stepping on stage. When asked if he’d do a rematch with Jim Jones, Jada replied, “I don’t think that can happen. I don’t want to do no more Verzuz anyway, I’m tired.”

“We gotta give a shout out to Puff for that. He made us know… always rehearse no matter the caliber when you’re stepping on any of them kind of stages. Make sure you get in an appropriate amount of rehearsal. That’s every time we went on tour, any TV appearances, anything we did with him. There’s always a nice, significant amount of rehearsals and that’s just something we always adopted,” Jada shared.

2. On the Phillips family launching Kiss Café

Pivoting from music, N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN went straight to family business with Jadakiss’ father, Bob, sharing his long history with the coffee industry, having worked in the field for over 40 years to support his family. He expressed his pride in his son continuing the family business with the opening of Kiss Café, passing down the legacy to the next generation.

“I’ve been working with coffee probably since he was born, around the time he was born. I’ve been working in that field for quite a few years — well, more than 40 years — and that’s how I supported my family,” Bob shared. “I’m at what you would think is the retirement age, and every father would love to see his son follow in their footsteps or either have something you can pass on to the next generation.”

“This is not something that we thought about last week. I’ve been trying to retire for the past three years,” he joked.

3. On starting a family business 

While talking about getting into the coffee industry, Jaewon revealed he was eager to jump on board the family business, realizing the rarity of working hand in hand with both his father and grandfather. Serving as the youngest in the family bloodline, he saw it as a special chance for multiple generations to unite and collaborate on a common venture. “I didn’t like being in the office, but when it came to this, I was all on board. Who doesn’t want to start a family business? Not many of us got a father and grandfather. To have both and do something, that’s a blessing,” Jaewon pointed out.

Bob later added his thoughts, conceding that Jaewon’s skills in the realm of social media were a much-needed asset, especially considering his own limitations in that area. “It’s his generation. The social media aspect of it and that’s where I’m… Like Clint Eastwood said, ‘A man’s gotta know his limitations.’ I’m weak in that area because I’m not from that generation. In order for us to do what we have to do, we need some presence in the social media aspect,” his grandfather interjected.

4. On Kiss Café hitting shelves at different stockists soon 

Jadakiss and his father revealed that they are exploring various business deals to expand the reach of Kiss Café. They are considering potential partnerships with hotels, airlines, and restaurants to scale up the business, emphasizing the importance of maintaining quality. According to Bob, “We want to get it to the masses that’s going to enjoy it. We tried to price it where it’s a premium blend, but we couldn’t come out with a product that was $50 a pound… That’s not the audience we were shooting for.”

“We got some deals on the table. Some hotel deals, airlines, restaurants,” Jada shared. His father added, “We’re scaling this in the right way. We want to scale up, but we don’t want to put it with everybody because some people don’t treat your product the way it needs to be treated.”

5. On JAY-Z splitting from Cristal and purchasing Ace of Spades

In 2006, JAY-Z parted ways with Cristal after the managing director of the Champagne Louis Roederer winery, which produces Cristal, made comments that he deemed racist. Nearly a decade later, Hov then purchased his own champagne brand, Armand de Brignac — also known as Ace of Spades — in 2014 from Cattier, which quickly became a hit among hip hop and pop culture elites. When discussing ownership, N.O.R.E. recalled why Hov’s champagne of choice became so popular.

“The reason why we f**ked with [Ace of Spades] was because this was like $400, $500 a bottle. The reason why people wanted it more is because it wasn’t that accessible,” he said. Speaking on the champagne, Jada chimed in, “That was not that accessible, you wanted more. People want stuff that you tell them they can’t afford.”

6. On Set Free getting into fashion with Compound

Former DJ and music industry veteran Set Free Richardson founded Compound, a creative art studio in the Bronx that brings together people from various fields to collaborate and innovate. With frequenters like Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys, Jadakiss, and more, the studio, which serves as an agency as well, has become a hub for hip hop creativity and is poised for expansion in the near future. Regarding his inspiration, Free shared, “Movies. For me, growing up, we always looked at just hip hop to learn how to dress. To me, breakdancers started the trend.”

He went on to add, “I’m a big Star Wars fan, so way before Balenciaga and all these brands had the big hoodie and big ponchos, I was like, ‘If I could wear drip from certain things in Star Wars…’ Even when Ye started making a lot of products. For movies, growing up, some people only looked at hip hop for the trend on how we want to live, but for me, it was all these styles of movies that influenced me on clothing.”

7. Bob Phillips on being proud of raising Jadakiss 

Later in the interview, Bob expressed his immense pride in his son Jadakiss, highlighting the importance of his dedication to family. He emphasized that this value is especially significant in the Black community, transcending career success. Reflecting on his son’s accomplishments, the father shared that he would be proud of Jada no matter what route he took.

“Of course, I’m proud of my son. I would be just as proud of my son if he was the cable installer, or the telephone man or even the sanitation man, but what I’m most proud of is he takes care of his family. That’s something that we lost in the Black community. I hate to say it,” Bob stated. 

8. On N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s brotherhood inspiring Set Free and Jadakiss’ “The Starting Five” podcast

Set Free explained that N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN‘s strong bond inspired him and Jadakiss to start their own podcast, “The Starting Five.” He noted that their teamwork and brotherhood have transcended beyond any one artist’s success, setting them apart from others in the space. Currently sponsored by DraftKings, the pair share a similar synergy where they interview various athletes as opposed to rappers and hip hop legends.

“With me and Kiss, it’s a brotherhood. When I saw what you and EFN had, that’s the reason why we started our podcast. A lot of people didn’t know when it was time for it to come up, what y’all are doing… A lot of times it’s the artist only, but y’all brotherhood has transcended just the artist,” explained Set Free. He added, “A lot of podcasts or radio shows are just the one person, but people look at this as a team.”

9. On Jadakiss’ father not believing in him at first

Bringing the conversation to a close, Bob candidly shared that he didn’t initially believe in Jadakiss‘ potential and was hesitant about his son’s career prospects. However, he now recognizes that the decisions made, although not perfect, ultimately led to Jadakiss’ success in the industry.

“People used to tell me, ‘Yeah, your son’s going to be good. He’s this and that.’ I’m saying, ‘Yeah, yeah. Close your door, I don’t want to hear that s**t,’” Bob shared. “I didn’t know until late. When the record company came to tell him they wanted to sign him to a deal, we got together as parents and retained an attorney, and the attorney said, ‘This is the worst contract I’ve ever seen in my life, don’t you ever sign this.’”

“That’s why I try to stay out of his career now because if it was up to me, he wouldn’t have a career. In hindsight, we made decisions, not the best decisions, but it got them to where they are today,” he later explained.



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