Photos By Marcus Troy
It's no secret that Dipset's Capo, Jim Jones and Complex have some history. Last year at this time, Jim graced our cover while he was getting ready to drop his album "Pray IV Reign," and now, almost a year later he's staying busy as he preps his forthcoming mixtape The Ghost Of Rich Porter and continues to push the collaborative BlakRoc project that dropped on November 27.
We re-connected with Jim last week at at his Manhattan studio to talk about his new mixtape, how he feels about the Jay-Z/50 back-and-forth, Cam'ron (of course), his relationship with Game, Max B's murder charge, and the placement of "Ballin'" at #30 on Complex's Top 100 Songs of the Decade list...
Interview by Joe La Puma
Complex: So the Ghost of Rich Porter mixtape—how long have you been working on it?
Jim Jones: Well it started as a mixtape for the street. I've been working on it probably for like two months now. I got over 40 songs, and we had to sit and break them shits down. It started becoming harder and harder, and there was an album there and people started offering me money for it. It went from something I was going to give away for free to something somebody was going to pay me to give away for free. So, in the end, I'm still going to give it away free.
Complex: Why did you choose to channel Rich Porter?
Jim Jones: When it comes to Rich Porter, he was a very instrumental person from Harlem as far as the days of hustling. He set the precedent for my generation coming up. Watching the hustlers, the fast cars, pretty girls, and the fast money and things like that. And the story that goes behind it as far as the love and the betrayal. This is Harlem history. So, you know for the Diplomats, me, Juelz, Zeke and Cam, coming up and being instrumental in Harlem right now, it's like synonymous to the life we live. We do business and we're rapping, but this is pretty much the fast life of the entertainment industry.
Complex: So when you performed at ThisIs50 Fest, I noticed you kept saying that 50 owes you a favor. What did you have in mind?
Jim Jones: [laughs] Oh yeah, he owe. Motherfucker, you owe, motherfucker! Nah, shouts to 50, he's one of the smartest people in the game as far as strategy and the way he attacks it. So I spoke to him like, "You know, this one ain't gonna go down that easy. You know, I charge a fee to get on stage." He was like, "I respect you, sir." I'll see what happens.
Complex: Now him and Jay. He's baiting the shit out of Jay.
Jim Jones: [Rapping 50's "So Disrespectful"] "Jay's a big man, he too big to respond... " I was working out to that shit today, no homo. When you diss me, I'm so disrespectful. [In British accent] "I'm so disrespectful!" He caught that. He caught that song, word. "I've been gone so long that my accent changed." [Laughs]. I'm still a fan of the music, so pardon me. I still listen to all the music, you might catch me boppin' in the club to niggas I hate, but that has nothing to do with good music.
Complex: Are you referring to the video that surfaced of you boppin' in the club to Jay's verse on "Swagga Like Us?"
Jim Jones: I like "Swagga Like Us." Shit, what are you going to be in the middle of the club dancing, like you got your lady with you and he come on and you're supposed to just stop? She'll look at you like, "You queer-ass nigga!" So shit, what the fuck is wrong with you niggas, I'm boogeying, man. And I might turn that shit up to 40 in the car if I'm moving fast. My personal issues has nothing to do with my artistic likes. If he has a hot record, he has a hot record. That shit with Alicia is dope, dope as hell. I'm not giving him props, I just like the music. I don't give a fuck about him, fuck that nigga and the camel he rode in on. If he has a dope ass record though, what the fuck you going to do? It's fucked up though because they don't play "Ballin'" in the 40/40 club, that's the hating shit I be talking about. I've got confirmation from DJs who have been kicked out for playing that record.
Complex: It seems like you're the last person Jay fully responded to, when he did the Brooklyn "Ballin'" remix.
Jim Jones: Yeah, and he shouted me out on the beginning of The Blueprint 3, right? That was hot. How many albums he sold? I got a shout out, a million sold records, nigga! [laughs]. And you know I'm about to chop and screw that shit and make a hook out of it. " I ain't talking bout Jimmy, I ain't talking about Jimmy." That's going to be the hook. See how easy that'd be? And that's going to kill. And no, I ain't clearing the publishing. [Laughs]
Complex: Why do you think he'll respond to you, but he won't respond to 50?
Jim Jones: I don't know. Jay's a smart dude too, man. Sometimes I guess you respond to certain things that keep your ass in the game. We damn sure definitely playing in the same ball game when it come to that. But if I was 50—they got some money over there. If I was 50, I'd run down and snuff the shit out of him. That's what I would do. I would go get some fly-ass security, back his security down on some football shit, and just run down on him, snuff the shit out him. But I ain't got a hundred million and shit like that. So we couldn't pull that stunt. Now that's publicity.
Complex: I'd say that's the front cover of the Post right there.
Jim Jones: That's how you know this is a game. Just baiting someone for some publicity, getting some more sales, it looks good. Two moguls going at it and shit like that. You know me, I ain't got it all upstairs. I guess that's why the lord said, "No, we ain't gonna get you no hundred million right now. We're going to cool on out." [Laughs]
Complex: Now, you just played "Certified Gangstas Part II" for me. When did you record that with Game?
Jim Jones: Like a month ago probably.
Complex: A few weeks ago, he did a drunken freestyle where takes credit for putting you, Gucci Mane and others on to the whole Blood movement...
Jim Jones: I guess we all get drunk and say some things that's out of context. But I've know Game for a very long time. I know him pretty good, I know his family, I know that he meant nothing by it. When I started this thing, the only thing I knew about the West Coast is Menace II Society. That's the closest we got to the West Coast. We started things since about high school, about '93. So, our mission was a little bit different than theirs. But, low and behold, it was going on. It's nothing I'm proud of. Black on black crimes, and black people dying. The realism of it is scary. And it's going on everywhere. Not just on the East Coast and not just on West Coast. It's a hell of an epidemic. And there's nothing wrong with brothers getting together and riding for a cause, but we got to get it to be positive. If you got that amount of people that's willing to come together, you could put them to work and do something and make some money. And the homies know what I'm talking about. I don't care if you triple OG, murderer of all murders and shit like that. When you sit back and think about all that shit, it's like, damn.
Complex: Through all your issues with people, you tend to keep it real with how you really feel...
Jim Jones: Yeah, I'm a Cancer, I'm very fucking emotional.
Complex: How do you feel when Max gets sentenced to 75 years?
Jim Jones: I have no feelings. I'm a numb to that. You dig?
Complex: Nothing at all? 75 years is a long time...
Jim Jones: Oh, the number? The number, the number is crazy for anybody. That number is a hell of a fuckin' number. Know what I mean?
Complex: That's a lifetime...
Jim Jones: I have no feelings towards it. Life is life. Niggas talking about they doing good, I can't complain. Well, shit, we don't want hear about your complaints. Not on this side.
Complex: On a lighter note, how did you get involved with BlakRoc?
Jim Jones: Dame's been doing that for a minute. Dame's always has a lot of different shit like that. He was like, "I got something dope for us to do, you're going to love it. Don't even worry about it, just show up. Nothing to worry about, just show up, do your thing, get high, jump in that booth." He was like, "Just please show up," and that's it. He didn't have to say it twice. So the first night I show up, Black Keys was in the studio, Mos Def was in the studio, a couple of white people sprinkled around, you know Dame keeps it ethnic-friendly. The first song we did was the "Hoochie Coo" song, it's pretty good. We performed it on Letterman. I think that's a step for me in my lifetime.
Complex: Do you feel like you're reaching a new demographic, maybe the hipster set, with the BlakRoc project?
Jim Jones: Maybe, as far as the rhythm and sound of the music, but if you listen to the lyrics, it's just bringing the hipsters to my world. Sometimes you got to translate it a little bit differently. That's all I'm doing on the BlakRoc, if you listen to the content and the music.
Complex: Speaking of new music, Zeek just did the "Feel Me" track where he said you were stealing money. You also responded over the same beat.
Jim Jones: Shouts to Zeeky, fucking punk! He wasn't lying about things like that. I wasn't stealing, though. I don't steal. So he put the track out, put some real life situations out. Some parts of our history and things like that, but I felt I needed to respond. We're having fun, so I felt I needed to respond.
Complex: How tired of the Cam'ron/Dipset questions are you?
Jim Jones: With the Diplomats, there was a lot of people involved in it. So that part is more frustrating than anything and shit. You start thinking about the money, and become a realist. There's a lot of motherfuckin' money at stake. I'm just saying, it's hard out here to make a dollar, especially now. So if you got people offering you millions and millions of dollars that could feed other people. Not just about me and you, buddy, there's other people. You claim you love Zeek so much and all that shit. If niggas are telling me, Zeek can make a mill and some change, what's happening boss?
Complex: So you're more concerned about the other people around you and Cam getting what they deserve?
Jim Jones: That's what the word movement means to me. It's not a dictatorship. It's a movement. We move together. We eat together. And we have an opportunity to continue that, even if it's for just once chance, at least you get to pay off some debts that we owe. I ain't talking about niggas got invoices and shit for us, but niggas put their heart, time, energy, and life on the line. So it's a debt to that. That don't come for free. And I know love and loyalty is a free thing but when niggas put in time, it's different. I want everybody to get paid, I want everybody to be rich. That's why I don't sit here and be over-forcing and shit like that. It ain't gonna be just me doing it. I want my team to do it.
Complex: Can't people say that Cam looked out for Dipset coming up, though?
Jim Jones: Dipset in the earlier stages wasn't about Cam. Cam'ron was the artist. Diplomats was a group of individuals set up to start a business and keep it moving. You want to get to the business of it, Juelz was just as instrumental, if not more instrumental, to the Diplomat movement because he was a Diplomat artist and he went platinum. Cam'ron was a Roc-A-Fella artist. So for the Diplomat Records and the Diplomat Movement, this was something that we started. Yeah, if Cam didn't get in the game it wouldn't have trickled down, but we got in this shit together. You do the art, we do the mobbin'. You stay fly, we're going to get dirty. That's how it went. Shit happens. I ain't blamin' nobody. I blame myself because I was captain of the team. They don't call me captain for nothing. It means something. I ain't complaining because I have a goal. Let's not get that fucked up. We went hard. I've seen some amazing shit, I loved every fucking split second of it. I got a chance to fulfill dreams, and then some, and then some more. We had a ball. We had some unique shit that nobody could fuck with, that nobody could understand.
Complex: I'm not sure if you've seen, but Complex has been doing our Best of the 2000s series, and we recently counted down the "The Top 100 Songs of the Decade."
Jim Jones: What number was Ballin'?
Complex: Number 30
Jim Jones: That's crazy. Nah, fuck that. Fuck that.
Complex: But listen, that's for over a 10 year span.
Jim Jones: Fuck that. So what? How many "Ballin" type songs were there in 10 years?
Complex: Want to know who's #1? Jay-Z's "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)"
Jim Jones: No way, you going to tell me 'Ballin'' wasn't bigger than that record? Let's get serious. "Ballin'" was number one in the world! Statistically! Jay just got the number one joint for this New York song. How is that song bigger than "Ballin'"? Y'all ain't even going by statistics, y'all are going by favoritism. That's fucked up!
Complex: It's a committee of us who came up with the list, don't just yell at me!
Jim Jones: Nah, man. Fuck your committee, seriously man. People with statistics and people with favoritism. What's going on here?
Complex: Not statistics, because then it'd be fucking... Miley Cyrus or some shit.
Jim Jones: I'm talking about the Jay record, it wasn't bigger than "Ballin'." Yeah, think about it.
Complex: Ok, off the top, what songs do you think were bigger than "Ballin'"? Was "In Da Club"?
Jim Jones: Yeah. That was bigger than "Ballin'." I mean you know what, let's not get to it. And let's keep it funky, funkadelic. I did "Ballin'" on Koch. This nigga did "Ballin'" on Interscope and his family tree is NWA. Need I say more? He caught that one, I remember when Flex first played it. I'm going to have to come down to the office and debate this with your committee on video, let's set that up.
Complex's Top 100 Songs Of The Decade ("Ballin'" @ #30)
Complex's Top 100 Music Videos Of The Decade ("Certified Gangstas" @ #34)
Complex's Top 100 Brands Of The Decade (Dipset @ #96)
Complex's Top 100 Albums Of The Decade (The Diplomats Diplomatic Immunity @ #15)