Conway The Machine & Jim Jones Are Going To Battle Rap The Old School Way
Two of Rap’s most active MCs in recent years are Conway The Machine and Jim Jones.
Conway has been part of Griselda Records’ breakout trifecta, including his half-brother Westside Gunn and cousin, Benny The Butcher. During the mid-2010s, the Buffalo, New York veteran gained acclaim for his independent catalog. The grind led to a Shady Records contract, a collaboration with Eminem, and eventually the creation of Conway’s own Drumwork imprint. Since 2020, Con’ has released many projects, including La Maquina and From A King To A God, Alchemist collaboration LULU and Big Ghost, Ltd tandems, No One Mourns The Wicked and If It Bleeds It Can Be Killed. Earlier this month, La Maquina was named to Ambrosia For Heads’ best of 2021 so far list.
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Another prolific New York veteran is Jim Jones. Once known as the “capo” of Cam’ron’s Diplomats squad, Jones has recently earned recognition for his solo album-making. Fifteen years after “We Fly High,” Jones has been on a streak since 2018 that includes Wasted Talent before albums produced by The Heatmakerz (El Capo) and Harry Fraud (The Fraud Department).
Throughout recent years, Jim and Conway have collaborated multiple times and have each had ties to JAY-Z’s Roc Nation management wing. However, now, they are going to compete to see who is the better MC.
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Earlier this month, Jim Jones sat with Complex for an interview with Brian “B.Dot” Miller. During the conversation, Jones shouted out Conway in reference to his “The People (Remix).” While speaking on it at the 23:15 mark, B.Dot mentioned his June 1 tweet, listing his opinion of the Top 10 rappers of right now. The veteran journalist and personality ranked Jim at #10 (and Conway The Machine at #4, with Lil Baby in the top position). “For me, I’m confused,” explains the Uptown vet, while pointing to claims—including from Miller—that his Fraud Department album is the best of 2021. “How can I have the best album and then be #10 on the list? I’m just trying to figure this sh*t out.” Miller explains, “There’s a lot of spitters on there. I think a person can be a dead-nice spitter and not necessarily have a great album—if that’s fair?” B.Dot points out Jones’ reaction to the list online.
On Instagram, the Dipset capo wrote, “I didn’t make this list but tell [B.Dot] the list is cute. I’m a start chopping this list down one by one lol. Matter [of] fact put me in the booth wit anyone of these artist and let’s do it live [to] see who’s left standing. That’s how we can really settle this sh*t like the western [movies]—shoot the booth up. Makin’ music is fun till you gotta go head-to-head; I love competition. Anybody wanna [run up], let me know. Besides the competition, we can make a serious bag, turn this into an NFT and everybody walk away wit a bag like a Floyd Mayweather fight. Y’all let me know if any of these artists accept the challenge; I’m ready.”
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Jones agreed with the statement read back to him. Miller then points out that Conway accepted this challenge.
“I see a lot [of] rappers mad about that list and makin’ posts and issuing challenges,” the Drumwork founder tweeted. “Listen, The Machine don’t duck no reck… just @ me or DM me and say you want smoke and you can get handled quick and clean (Chris from The Wire voice) and that goes for anybody.”
I see a lot Rappers mad about that list and makin posts and issuing challenges… listen the machine don’t duck NO reck… just @ me or Dm me and say u want smoke and u can get handled quick and clean (chris from the wire voice) and that’s goes for ANYBODY ????
— CONWAY (@WHOISCONWAY) June 3, 2021
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“Let’s not assume he responded; let’s assume he made his own rant because he may have been goin’ through his own thing that he was goin’ through,” Jones responds. “But if he did respond, then that would make it even more better because I respect his sportsmanship.” As Miller finishes reading the tweet, Jimmy reacts, “First of all, let’s put this out there: me and Conway are brothers. Like, this is one of the few rappers that I do f*ck with in this industry, wholeheartedly, ya dig? I respect his pen, his thoughts, and sh*t like that; I’m just a fan of his music. With that being said, the competition in this industry is nowhere [like] it used to be.” Moments later, Jones clarifies, that this is competition—not beef, a rare occurrence in modern Rap, especially given the financial prospects that come with feuds and their publicity.
“We love the competition aspect,” he declares. “There was a time where if there was a group of rappers—and I remember this vividly from the ’90s—you couldn’t leave that group of rappers without a cypher happening. Wherever me and [Cam’ron] went, Cam’ had to unleash a 100 bars everywhere we went because that was the norm. Big Pun, Fat Joe, DMX—he’s rapping with everybody, wherever they went.” Jim also mentions JAY-Z and Big L being part of that era, and points to footage online. “What I’m talking about is pure competition. And when we talk about [that], I’m not [saying that] I’ll be rapping at Conway’s head; I’m talking about we’re gonna make one of the dopest records people have heard and we’re gonna give a chance for people to say who had the best verse on that fire-ass record.” He adds, “We can talk slick about each other all day; that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make money and create music. In my eyes, we’re gonna go head-to-head but see who got the best bars.” Reminding viewers that he is from the ’90s, Jones doubled down. “I still welcome anybody. So if it’s Conway, then Conway, I accept any challenge, ya dig. We can turn this sh*t into a live boxing ring [and] put the booth in the middle of the boxing ring. We can give people a chance to see; we can do it on Complex.”
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At a time when Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have scaled Verzuz into an acquisition, Jim Jones’ appearance on Complex may be a calculated and multi-faceted move. The former Koch Records star and Atlantic Records executive is asked if he sees Conway as competition. First replying “Who?” Jones adds, “I don’t see no one as competition. I got my [sun] glasses on.” Getting a laugh, Jim called The Machine dope, but said “When it come to competition, I really don’t be seeing that. I be in my own lane.”
Since the Complex video published on June 18, Conway has responded. “I’m minding my business try’na enjoy my two-Michelin-star dinner right now but f*ck it, I got a little time on my hands,” Conway wrote on Instagram. “You already know Capo can’t f*ck wit me.” Tagging Jones, he asked, “Let me hear something, king.”
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Jones responded, offering four decades of material. The Dipset Capo debuted on Cam’ron’s 1998 album, Confessions Of Fire. Conway replied, “2015 to 2021; the Griselda era…we waitin’.” B.Dot tweeted the exchange, then encouraged Verzuz alum (and hit-maker) Boi-1da to send over a pack of beats. The producer for Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and others apparently obliged.
looks like @WHOISCONWAY is ready. we need a producer. @Boi1da send ova a pack! pic.twitter.com/Hye2bErTy8
— brian b.dot™ miller (@bdotTM) June 22, 2021
At this time, no date has been set for Jim Jones and Conway The Machine’s battle.
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#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads’ 2019 interview with Griselda: