It's been a while since Jadakiss' third studio album, The Last Kiss, in 2009. Still, his reputation as one of the streets' favorite rappers hasn't faltered at all. Jadakiss reaches the age of 40 today (May 27).

One of the more rugged members of the Ruff Ryders, Jadakiss has been setting himself up for lyrical warfare since the late '90s. He formed the LOX with Sheek Louch and Styles P, and the group quickly received attention through their affiliation with Bad Boy Records and Diddy. The LOX made an appearance on Biggie's Life After Death album and got even more exposure for appearing on projects from some of the late '90s biggest acts: P. Diddy's "All About the Benjamins," Mase's "24 Hrs. to Live" and Jennifer Lopez's "Jenny From the Block."

The LOX were also too big of a force to not shine on their own. The trio emerging on the rap scene represents a time when repping the streets and being a mainstream success weren't two separate roads. Money, Power & Respect, the group's debut LP, went platinum and title song featuring DMX and Lil' Kim is a hip-hop classic.

But every hip-hop group with at least three members has a star and Jadakiss emerged as that dude. Starting with 2001's Kiss the Game Goodbye, his gruff on-record persona became a street favorite. Songs like the triumphant "We Gonna Make It" with partner-in-crime Styles P and "Why," which includes the famous line, "Why they let the Terminator win the election / Come on, pay attention," will be greeted with head-bobbing whenever the lyrics come through speakers.

Jadakiss is often excluded out of many rap heads' Top 10 lists. But he at least has a place in Eminem's. On "Till I Collapse," one of the Detroit MC's most well-known songs, Eminem places Jadakiss among the likes of Kurupt, Nas, Andre 3000, Redman, 2Pac and Biggie. Not a bad achievement.

Watch Jadakiss' "Knock Yourself Out" Video

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