Exclusive: The Diplomats' capo discusses his crew's comeback, their recent recordings with Dre, the Pop-ness of "Perfect Day," and his "new face" Cosby Show.
Apparently, Dr. Dre doesn’t trust The Diplomats with possessing copies of the music the legendary left coast producer and the Harlem quartet recently recorded together.
“He actually took all of the songs,” Jim Jones revealed to HipHopDX on Thursday (March 25th). “He did some fly shit; he set up his shit and the songs were recorded directly to his hard drive and his computer, inside of my studio. … Smart dude.”
“He critiqued the way I did my verse,” Jim further noted of his studio time with Dre. “He helped me get my pronunciation right. He put me through a little bit of a schooling there, so that was kinda dope. We recorded about three or four songs in there. It was dope; a dope experience.”
While he doesn’t know the titles of the aforementioned songs because they are not in his possession, Jones did describe the sound of the tracks as being definitely “Dre-ish.”
Once The Diplomats began talks with Interscope Records to release the crew’s comeback effort, Diplomatic Immunity 3, Dipset were connected with Dr. Dre via Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine.
The Diplomats founding fathers, Jim Jones and Cam’ron, ended their three-year professional separation by repairing their fractured friendship almost exactly a year ago. And now, after completing their own respective music projects, they are finally about to put the finishing touches on their team’s reunion release, which Jones told DX he is aiming to have released on the 4th of July.
“It was more personally motivated than it was business,” Jim replied when asked how much professional and how much personal interests played a role in bringing the Dipset back together. “The business came after the personal. Above all, our brotherhood is the most important thing …. We grew up together. So that bond and that friendship means more to us than anything. And, the powerful music that we created, we created from within that brotherhood. So the music is the easiest part. The understanding was the hardest. And we got that together.”
Cam and Jim will next appear together on “Getting To The Money,” from Jones’ return to the independent Rap game, Capo (due April 5th).
“E1 [Entertainment] was the label that I was most successful with,” Jim explained of his decision to take his solo career back indie. “I did a gold record over there with my last record that I did with E1, [Hustler’s P.O.M.E. ]. So it felt better to go back with them and do another album. Plus, contractually I was obligated through my last deal that if [things] didn’t go right at Sony [Records]… then I would have to owe Koch an album - that they paid a shit-load of money to do.”
Things “didn’t go right at Sony” for what was supposed to have been Jones’ breakthrough release as a solo artist, 2009’s Pray IV Reign , due to a variety of industry politics according to Jim.
“The Columbia [Records] situation was a bit political,” he explained, “one of the most humbling experiences that I had in the industry. We not gon’ point no fingers or talk about it too much, ‘cause I’ve come to grips with politics. … But, for the most part, Columbia was good to me. I got to waste millions and millions of dollars on that last project. [I] did everything under the sun when it came to me recording at a major label. It was definitely a fun experience. Only towards the end of it when they started losing their staff and their infrastructure – shouts out to Al Branch and Hip Hop, who got fired five weeks before my album droppin’. They was handling my whole situation. So I went from shipping 350,000 records to like a 100,000 records. It was a lot of political shit that went on for me to get out the building that I had no control over. But one thing that was in my credit was that I signed a piece a paper that said I was free of debt, meaning I don’t owe them nothing. … They’re not attached to anything that I have to do in the future; I don’t owe them anything, so as far as a business move that was a great business move.”
What may, or may not, prove to be a great business move is the decision to release the Pop-Rock driven “Perfect Day” as the first single from Capo.
“[I was] in the studio one day with Logic, the producer, just buggin’ out, and that’s what came out,” Jim said of his most daring recording to date. “And I let people hear it. I had this record done for about a year-and-a-half. People been telling me put the record out. They like, ‘Yo, it’s a super-dope record ….’ I let Koch listen to it. They loved the record a whole bunch. … They said, ‘Well let’s try it out,’ so they can make me a believer.”
While Jones may still need some convincing about his new musical exploration, he is already a firm believer in his first foray into television, Love & Hip Hop (airing Monday nights at 8 p.m. on Vh1). Jim is so smitten by the show in fact that he is predicting it will have the same affect on television as Bill Cosby’s breakthrough program did in the 1980s.
“It’s really like a sitcom to me,” he explained. “I really enjoy how creative and how funny my lady and my moms be getting off on the show. … At this point reality shows are the new type of television today. [At] one time The Cosby Show was the type of television that people were watching, [along with] A Different World, Who’s The Boss? Now, a reality show is the new face of television.”