Jim Jones Gets Teary Detailing His Sacrifices For Cam’ron & Dipset (Video)
Yesterday (February 8), it was announced that Jim Jones signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation. The same night, the Bronx, New York native and onetime The Diplomats mainstay appeared on Funkmaster Flex’s show. There, Jim sat for more than an hour, and cleared the table on his frustrations with Cam’ron—a friend and business partner dating back to the early 1990s. The emotional interview may close a memorable chapter for Jim (as it did for Cam’ron recently), as he writes a new one.
“Capo” spoke about the historical tensions with Dipset and Jay Z, and the implications of his signing. The animated interview featured Jim challenging French Montana to a fight, and recalling the strong-arm tactics used to get Cam’ron released from his Undeas/Epic/Sony Records contract.
While there were plenty of highlights to the interview, Jim’s response to Cam’ron’s December comments may be the most intriguing. Two months ago, while speaking to Angie Martinez, Cam’ proclaimed Dipset as “over,” and detracted his former partner (and onetime manager’s) rhyme abilities. “Me and Jim [Jones] always been friends [since the age of 20 or so]—I’m not sayin’ he wasn’t my man or nothin’, but business-wise, we grew as business partners together. And it was dope. All this [success] should be house money for Jim—everything; [he] wasn’t a rapper,” said Cam’ron. He added, “I wish him nothing but the best. I love his mother; she called me a few weeks ago to come to dinner—even his sisters, I speak to his sisters. I wish him nothing but the best. But I’m not gonna just lie to you and act like something’s gonna happen that’s definitely not gonna happen.”
On Flex’s show, Jones made it a point to define his role within The Diplomats, and assert his artistic accomplishments. At around 12:00, he recalls being at Cam’ron’s side in finding The Notorious B.I.G.’s close associate Lance “Un” Rivera. In turn, Cam’ signed his first major label contract, and the two men celebrated newfound wealth and Rap prestige. “After [Children Of The Corn member] Bloodshed had passed away, me and Cam’ became uncontrollably close. We were brothers; you couldn’t take us apart. He lived with me. We did everything together,” says Jim.
The VampLife founder adds that he brought Freekey Zekey into The Diplomats’ original quartet, as part of a bigger plan to combine skills with street enforcement. “When Cam’ got his deal, I said we’ve got to form an army around us, ’cause we can’t be running around, lettin’ niggas roll over us. At all. This is a little bit before I really started bangin’ Blood and all that type of crazy shit. Like, I always was affiliated. This is braids [era] ‘Jimmy’,” he says, referring to his look in late 1990s Cam’ron music videos and appearances. “There were pieces I was putting around us to give us that protection. But that whole time, before I got the pieces together, I was everything. I was the hype-man. I was the road manager. I was the manager. I was security. I was the dough-boy. Everything you can name, I was it for Cam’. I would not let Cam’ put his self in harm’s way on my watch or my clock, as everybody could see.” Here, at 14:20, Jim gets really heated and starts getting visibly emotional. “I don’t think you can [identify] a time that you can see in this industry where Cam has reacted aggressively towards no one, as far as putting [his] hands on somebody. I don’t think you can find a clips of that! But you can find numerous clips of me activating for The Diplomats, and that’s a fact!”
Moving ahead, Jim Jones becomes choked up to the point tears fall down from his eyes. “Cam’ was the person who got signed; he was the face card. And I understood that. And I made everybody around me understand that. Like, he’s the prized possession; he cannot be touched, at all. He get touched, we [fall]. That was the method…even with Juelz [Santana]. They all know. I put my life on the line for this. I been on trial for this! I been on America’s Most Wanted for this! I been on Gang Files for this! I [have done] everything you can name. So when people play with me? I get real emotional, ’cause I operate off emotions as [The Diplomats] know from all the times they been with me. It’s never been a time where I backed down from any situation in the world! Except God. And I been up against 20, 30 deep by myself, where [The Diplomats] left me by myself. Ya heard? And I escape those situations and still come back and give niggas hi-fives and ‘what we doin’ today?'” Jim elaborates that he’s survived shootouts and watched a cousin wrongfully serve years in prison.
Jim then references his own legal challenges due to Dipset. “I put everything on the line for this, and I took it with a smile. Even when niggas doubted and downed me, even when I was on trial and niggas told me to take the plea. What plea! We don’t take pleas, nigga! Ya heard! And by the grace of God the trial gets dismissed, ’cause they ain’t find enough evidence, of a shootout, that happened Uptown, over Cam’ron!” With a lengthy rap-sheet, the BX native and Harlem representative argues, “Every time you see me in the news, it was over Diplomats! When I get sued and shit like that, it was over Diplomats! When I’m kickin’ ass…when I come to the club 30 deep, it did what? It made The Diplomats look good! When I’m bangin’ Blood, it was good for them, right? It was good when it was good for them, ya heard? When it wasn’t good for them, oh, don’t nobody want to be part of the Bloods. But when the Bloods became poppin’ [and came with] notoriety [The Diplomats] wanted to turn Blood.” He comes back to Cam’ron’s December statements. “So when people get on this radio and try to discredit me in any fashion, I don’t do that.” Jim still compliments his onetime brothers. “Juelz still my favorite rapper to this day; I told him that ever since I met him at age 16.”
The MC blames ego for the demise of The Diplomats. This decade, the original four signed with Interscope Records and were photographed in the studio with Dr. Dre. No music released, despite the Dips’ first major label deal since Roc-A-Fella.
Over the next 30 minutes, Jim and Flex discuss the emerging solo career of Jim Jones. He recalls some distance when The Diplomats (and Jim as an artist) signed with Koch Records (nka eOne Entertainment). Jim says that between his changing lawyers from Cam’ron’s attorney to the same lawyer 50 Cent used caused friction. Furthermore, the success of 2006’s “We Fly High (Ballin’)” (which Jones says made his label $27 million dollars) caused jealousy on Cam’ron’s part. While in the video, Cam’ did not rap on the smash hit’s remix. Instead, Juelz Santana, T.I., and Young Dro appeared.
At 48:00, Flex leads Jones back to discussing the Dips. “What I’ve done for people, no one has done for me. When I got out of bed at four o’clock [to help The Diplomats], I couldn’t call these niggas at four o’clock to come save me. You think there was ever a time in my life that I could call Cam’ to get out his bed to come save me?,” In assessing Cam’ron’s role in his own career, Jim professes, “[Cam’ron] gave me a platform. He gave me an opportunity. But he didn’t [simply] give it to me; I worked for it. Cam’ didn’t get the deal without me there. I was there every step of the way, from the year 1995 to the year 1999, you couldn’t find Cam’ without me. At all. Nothing. I don’t care if he had a bitch in the room with him; I was there with him.”
When asked what could have been done differently to prevent the fallout of The Diplomats, Jim Jones declares, “Life is life; it’s played out in the book, already. I love the way it went. Nigga, I’m from the gutter. I sold crack. I lived in the projects…the hood within the hood. We was able enough and fortunate enough to use our talent to get out that mothafucka and stay in the best places in the world, ride around the world on private jets, stay on yachts, jump in the water in the ocean in Italy and that…niggas can’t fathom what I’ve did! So me sitting here with you to talk about what [I could have differently], nigga, I don’t give a fuck about that! We Dipset; we made it to [the list of] the greatest of all times. Yeah, me and my man had some feuds. Fuck it, that’s what brothers do. We had millions of dollars in front of us; niggas gon’ fight when it comes to millions of dollars. I want the millions; he want the millions! It’s always been like that between us.”
Before moving into his Roc Nation venture, Jim Jones specifies one act on Cam’ron’s part that he says, “Hurt me to this day.” He details, “Cam’ never came to one of my shows and popped up and jumped on the stage as a surprise. That shit’ll make me cry to this day, my nigga. That’s all I ever wanted [in going to concerts]. I watched Jay [Z] come out at [Memphis] Bleek’s shows.” Jones notes that Cam’ did do it for other Diplomats members, including Juelz Santana, but never his right hand.
Elsewhere in the massive interview, Jim Jones challenges French Montana to a fight, details how using the same gym as a Roc Nation executive eventually led to his signing, and says producer/Children of the Corn member Darrell “Digga” Branch was wrongfully boxed out of The Diplomats, despite designing the logo.