Jadakiss is arguably one of the greatest emcees that Hip-Hop has ever seen. His distinct voice, coupled with unmatched bars, merely laid the foundation for a brighter future. Not only for himself but for his family, too.
But it may be a surprise that Jadakiss’ first love wasn’t necessarily the mic. In fact, like many young men, he had a love for sports and set his sights upon hoop dreams.
The ultimate goal, however, was to truly have ownership over something.
“I knew I wanted to own something or work for myself, but I didn’t really think back then, it was all sports up until probably 10th or 11th grade when I knew the reality of SAT scores and these coaches looking at me as a little wimp,” he recalled during an episode of BET’s “The Business of Hip Hop.” “I knew I had to find something else to do.”
What came naturally for Jadakiss was spitting rhymes.
Whether it was on the bus or in the locker room, he was laying down flows but had no clue that it would soon become the very thing that propelled him to the success he’s achieved today.
In 1994, three brothers, not by blood but through values, quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the rap game. Their names? Sheek Louch, Styles P, and Jadakiss. An iconic unit known to the world as The LOX, originally The Warlox.
Playing The Long Game
“[When] you first get in the business, you’re young, you’re radical, you’re bugging out,” Jadakiss said of his entry into the music industry. “I just wanted to be the best rapper so I didn’t know about publishing, I didn’t know about splits. I didn’t know about none of the stuff that I learned over the years. When I looked back at it, I was like, ‘You should have been learning that when you was writing them 16s… you should’ve been reading some chapters as well.’”
He continued: “But then, as you grow you start setting up, you start paying your taxes, and then you want to start, eventually, either getting into real estate or some sort of ownership.”
From the very beginning, Jadakiss knew that he wanted to have full autonomy over his life and that music could help to make that dream a reality.
While building his brand as a rapper brick by brick, he noticed how the doors to business opportunities quickly began to open, and soon Jadakiss learned to capitalize on those experiences.
Jadakiss, The Businessman
His first foray into any sort of business outside of the brand deals and partnerships that came with being an artist was investing in Juices For Life, the health bar that he launched alongside his brother and former fellow LOX group member Styles P in their hometown of Yonkers, NY, in 2011.
“Once you create some financial revenue and invest wisely, do something you love to further it,” Jadakiss said.
A Family Affair
With the experience of building a brand both as an artist and businessman, the inevitable happened — Jadakiss decided to launch something that would live among his family for generations, and he did it alongside his father and son.
“I worked for the largest, at the time, coffee company in the country,” Jadakiss’ father, Bob Phillips, recalled. “As I acquired more experience in the trade, and as my son acquired more notoriety, I thought that we had the vehicle to launch a product to get it to the masses. As I more approached retirement age, it’s something that I wanted to leave for the next generation.”
That next generation includes his grandson and Jadakiss’ son, Jae’Won Phillips.
Together, the trio owns Kiss Cafe Coffee, a family-oriented, three-generation coffee brand.
“I always wanted to work in a business with my father, music-wise, but it’s great,” Clark Atlanta University alum and current emcee Jae’Won said. “I feel like I’m on the way to being a mogul in the making, but it’s bigger than that for me because we got something great here. We got a legacy here, a tradition, a family business.”
While Bob initially had big aspirations for Jadakiss to attend college, graduate, and start what he says probably would’ve been a “mundane job sitting behind a desk,” Bob respected his son’s decision to pursue his music dreams from the very beginning.
Now, nearly 30 years later, they are well on their way to building a family empire.
Don’t miss Jadakiss at the 2023 AFROTECH Conference during the “After Hours” event where he will serve as headliner alongside some other special guests.
Head over to the AFROTECH Conference site and register for an all-access ticket for the entire experience, including AFROTECH Music. If you’re still a little undecided, you can register for a different tier (general admission, student, corporate, executive) and add AFROTECH Music upon completion.