Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jimmy and the Dipmunks

As a brief aside in respect to current events, Jim Jones just may be the least understood MC in Hip Hop at the moment. Pray IV Reign is his best album to date and he's refashioned himself from a goofy, carefree sidekick to Rap's hardest working artist. Listening to his flow on this album is like watching Gilbert Arenas play basketball. The hunger and seriousness of purpose is clear throughout. He gives the hustle, be it music or the street a divine quality, a life or death struggle that hasn't been this riveting since Thug Motivation 101. No he's not lyrical, which raises the question are we witnessing a double standard in which New York MCs aren't supposed to be form eschewing or experimental in anyway? Jimmy has stated a desire to put aside the differences and get back with Cam and I seriously hope it happens. At this point in their careers a Diplomat reunion could produce some great, interesting music that might just breathe life back into NY Hip Hop.

When I was a kid what first drew me to the Wu-Tang Clan was Rza's production, specifically the beautiful little snippets of vocal samples that he would weave into his dark, intricate beats. For this reason, Rocafella Records' post-Roc La Familia production team was a dream come true. If you're like me, twenty first century Roc got no better than the Diplomats irreverent free associative experimentation over Chipmunk Soul on their mixtapes and albums. A stacked in house production crew including Kanye West, Just Blaze, Young Guru and my personal favorites, the Heatmakers provided the gang with a seemingly endless barrage of beautiful sped up soul staples. For this week's Sunday drop here's a smattering of a few rare songs and for me, some of Dipset's finest moments.

Cam'ron & Jim Jones- I Am Dame Dash

Jim Jones- This is Jim Jones

Juelz Santana- I Love You

Juelz Santana- You're Gonna Love Me

The Diplomats- I'm Ready

Juelz Santana- My Love Extended Remix (ft. Freeway and Jim Jones)

Juelz Santana- Let's Get It On (ft. Cam'ron)

Bonus: A little heard 45 second riff over Willie Hutch's infamous "I Choose You" off The Diplomat Mixtape Vol. 3. I prefer Cam's take to anyone else's, he brings an uptown swag that complements the old soul vibe so well and letting Hutch's wailing ride out over the verse is a powerful touch.

Cam'ron- Hey Ma Remix Intro


tray said...

I don't know. Yes, lots of hunger - although, I heard more of that back when he REALLY couldn't rap on Diplomatic Immunity and would say things like "I've gotta keep movin, I've gotta keep strivin, if this was a road and I was a trucker, then shit, I gotta keep drivin" - but he's such a huge tool! And so little talent! Such dull and repetitive lyrics! Do you ever watch the Sixers? Because to me he isn't so much like Gilbert Arenas as Reggie Evans. Plays so hard but can't make a post move or shoot the ball outside of 3 feet.

Abe Beame said...

Ha, that's actually not bad. Yeah I watch the Sixers they trash us four times a year for seemingly no reason. I read a particularly obnoxious review of Pray IV Reign by Doc Zeus and wanted to respond. Jim sounds very focused on this album, I found things I liked. I dunno how you feel about Jeezy but I think he makes for an apt comparison.

Djeff said...

I kind of have the same experience of the dips ; starting hip hop with wu tang and loving those chipmunk soul diplomats songs when it came out. But I'm glad Cam is back, I really can't take jimmy too seriously.

tray said...

I loved Jeezy's first two albums, and the mixtapes in between, and the difference is hard to put a finger on because on a technical level, what is the difference? But I guess part of it is (a) Jeezy doesn't sound like a really obvious imitation of JJ, JJ sounds like one of him (as I recall, the moment when JJ started to overtly imitate Jeezy was on a guest verse on a Purple City Byrdgang single), (b) Jeezy doesn't have a weird obsession with being a rock star or do douchey interviews with Complex about how he has more swagger than the people who did Swagger Like Us and how no one dresses like T.I., but everyone dresses like him, somewhere, supposedly, (c) Jeezy doesn't strike me as gay, I don't perceive him as a tool, more as a cool, sincere, somewhat inarticulate, good guy... and, I mean, he doesn't have six annoying phrases that he repeats incessantly in his songs and interviews, like "bottles of bub" or "spirit of aggressive competition." Of course, sometimes JJ is great. I love Reppin Time, parts of Dipset Christmas, many of his remix guest spots, like Walk It Out or whatever... but yeah, he's no Jeezy.