There’s just something about Jadakiss.
Legally named Jason Phillips, the legendary Yonkers, New York, emcee cemented his place in history decades ago with his gritty lyrics, charismatic personality, unique way of storytelling and, of course, his infectious laugh (“AHAAA!”). Often debated as one of hip-hop’s top five rappers, dead or alive, he’s no stranger to the top of the R&B/hip-hop charts. So what do you do when you’ve conquered an entire musical genre? You bring your family into the tent with you, of course.
Jadakiss is creating a brand-new family legacy and building generational wealth with his coffee brand, Kiss Café. In the words of fellow rapper the late Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far.” Launched by the rapper in 2022—with his father, Bob Phillips, and son Jae’Won Phillips—Kiss Café is on a mission to make coffee more accessible and inclusive, by delivering the market’s freshest and most flavorful blends as well as coffee-based products. Jadakiss’s dad, the genius behind the operation, has been in the coffee industry in various capacities for more than 40 years and brings his knowledge, relationships and resources—something especially needed when entering the $465 billion market. Since 2002, he’s been the CEO of Caturra Corp., an importing and trading firm for international green coffee. It’s a dream come true for him to now share his love of coffee with the world—and to be in business with his family. Jae’Won, meanwhile, has been working in the field since he graduated from Clark Atlanta University in 2018.
The company’s first rollout is Beijo (which means “kiss” in Portuguese), its medium-dark roast Arabica blend, sourced from Central America. “It’s a play on his stage name,” says Bob. “If you noticed, this is not a Jadakiss venture—this is a Jason Phillips venture. But we didn’t want to disregard his hard work and his notoriety and celebrity status. We also didn’t want to just to say this is Jadakiss’s product, so the name was a little bit of a connection, a way to connect the product to the artist, but in a very subtle manner.”
When it comes to Jadakiss, notoriety is indeed a strong suit. The rapper—who has had something of a career resurgence in recent years, after his famous Verzuz appearances in 2020 and 2021—became the first rapper to win two battles, and appear in a total of three. Jadakiss put on an MVP performance in the battle against Fabolous and again in the face-off with his group, The Lox, against Dipset, a showing that had many crowning him the “King of Verzuz” and helped him renegotiate his contract with Def Jam.
Recalling that experience, Jadakiss reflects on how this moment helped bring his name to the forefront. “It’s a double-edged sword, because you feel like it’s something I should have had a long time ago, but in another sense, you’ve got to be thankful and grateful and just appreciative of everything that came before that.”
Kiss Café isn’t Jadakiss’s first foray into entrepreneurship. Outside of his thriving music career, he owns several other businesses, including Juices for Life, which he co-owns with his rhyme partner and The Lox group member Styles P. But don’t expect Jadakiss to hang up his emcee title anytime soon. “They both go hand in glove, because in the music industry, the artist is at the bottom of the totem pole,” says the rapper. “So if you’re not a producer or executive or CEO, or have one of the high-title jobs in this game, you have to be awesome in some other way. So you have to create revenue or keep yourself at a certain temperature to stay touring and have features or to drop albums with interest in the label. Otherwise, you’re going to fall. So the overall objective is to create some momentum, make some money and use all that to gear to something else, whether it be Juices for Life, Kiss Café or whatever it is.”
The youngest Phillips is taking notes from his two role models. “Honestly, it’s a learning experience,” says Jae’Won. “My grandfather would say coffee isn’t like anything else. I have friends who have clothing lines and other businesses, but with coffee, you’ve really got to sit down with it. You have to understand it, because it’s a food. It’s not like clothing—it’s a beverage, so you have to make sure everything is on point.”
Behind Jadakiss’s hardcore rapper veil, he’s got a soft side—specifically as it relates to us. “Black women influenced me in my life and my career tremendously,” he explains. “From my grandmothers, my mom, my sister, niece, aunts, daughters—just knowing how important it is to have that foundation in the household, and just being with my wife, Shirley, for 29 years, and going through ups and downs and valleys and peaks, and knowing how important it is that we’re still together—it helps with everything, from my career to just my regular frequencies every day. You know what I mean?” Yes, sir, we do.