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Jim Jones
Clear The Air

jimmy-nostic.jpgLate last week, the unthinkable happened. Serving as the guest host for BET’s Rap City, 50 Cent invited Jim Jones on the show for a one-on-one interview and the Diplomats co-CEO accepted. Airing later today, this marks the first time the two men have sat face to face. Over the course of the past several months, 50 and Jimmy’s estranged Dipset cohort, Cam’ron, have traded diss songs and comical YouTube videos, making the G-Unit/Dipset beef a hotbed issue on the Internet. The feud started back in February, when 50 and Cam engaged in a heated phone argument on New York’s Hot 97 FM. Afterwards, Jones allegedly called the G-Unit mogul to separate himself from Cam’s comments. Even though he’s reiterated his allegiance to the Diplomats, Capo’s relationship with Killa Cam is said to be deteriorating. The longtime friends reportedly haven’t talked to each other in almost a year and in an interview with Hot 97’s Miss Info in May, Jones spoke on Cam saying, “I kept quiet out of loyalty. I felt like if we can’t be friends then at least we can do business together. But now I can’t be next to you.”

Despite being from opposing camps, 50 and Jones have been surprisingly cordial to one another. 50 praised Jim for succeeding on Koch Records and hailed him as the boss of Dipset on his Cam diss track, “Funeral Music.” This only fueled the flames of rumors that Jones was getting ready to sign to G-Unit Records. The recent Rap City interview only raises more questions. With the hip-hop community in a frenzy, tracked down Jim Jones first for an exclusive interview about the Rap City appearance with 50, the rumors of joining G-Unit, and clarification on his relationship with Cam’ron.

How did this interview with 50 Cent on Rap City come about?
50 was hosting BET and he said he wanted Jim Jones to be his guest. So, shit, I love controversy, so I’ll go anywhere. I ain’t never scared. So I went up there and chopped it up with the big fella.

What was your initial reaction when you heard he requested you for the interview?
I didn’t think nothin’ [at] first. Me and 50 got a funny type of rapport going on, like, we have a liaison that we pretty much get at each other through [to] show our mutual respect for our hustle in the business and shit like that. Rap City is probably the first time that we really got a chance to be next to each other and chop it up and talk besides the camera. Then we got to talk in front of the camera. He’s a good dude. He’s a smart person. His mind is on his money always. Anybody that’s like that, I can appreciate, man.

The interview must have been interesting.
50’s a smart dude. I always respected his hustle. He’s one of the few people that changed the game in the past few years so rapidly. Shouts to 50. Shouts to the whole G-Unit movement. They been going hard for years. Diplomats been going hard for years, but, shit, an opportunity like that, people don’t get to see. They don’t want to see us come together and make money. I’m not just saying [that about] 50 and Jim Jones or Diplomats and G-Unit, I’m saying any movement that’s coming up in this hip-hop industry is built on aggressive competition, but if we can come together and make a dollar together, that makes us more stronger. That means we built an alliance, no matter what our differences was.

Did y’all talk about the G-Unit/Dipset friction?
We bosses. The G-Unit/Dipset friction is all built on publicity and aggressive competition. That’s our business, that’s what we do, that’s gonna happen regardless. As far as two bosses having a mutual understanding, shit, everything else is uncivilized.

When people started hearing about your interview with 50, rumors started that you’re going to sign to G-Unit. Is that true?
No, I’m not signing to no G-Unit. Everybody knows that. I’ve been in this game for the past 11/12 years and people should pretty much know where I stand and know what type of person I am. They know I’m loyal above anything else. I’m loyal to a flaw. So for that matter, it’s always Diplomats ’til the day I die. But that don’t mean I won’t chop up some business and make some money and try to do other ventures and things like that. That would be stupid of me. And if you wanna get technical, 50 do got enough money to sign whoever the hell he wanna sign, ya dig? ’Cause he might pull out $10 million to get a Jim Jones album. That’s how much money he’s working with. That’s not one of the options that would ever happen, I’m just telling you from a business point of view, that he does have the money to pretty much sign who he wants to sign. And if a person [doesn’t] take the money that would pretty much be stupidity on they behalf.

Isn’t 50 putting you in an awkward position, though? On the one hand, he’s going at your partner Cam’ron. But on the other, he’s praising you, saying you made it out of the Koch graveyard and you’re doing well for yourself. Doesn’t all that put a strain on your relationship with Cam?
That shit that him and Cam going through is like the Sunday cartoons. That shit is frivolous. There’s really nothing that came up out that. If you look at the whole thing from the beginning, it was all pretty much bullshit. I never chose to get involved in it. It was real comical if you ask me. It was good for the soul, man. It was a battle—Kool Moe Dee/LL [Cool J]. Regular shit, man.

So what’s the status of your relationship like with Cam right now?
If you see him, tell him I said to holla at a nigga. [Laughs]

When was the last time you spoke to Cam then?
Shit, the “We Fly High” video. [Laughs]

That was almost a year ago. Cleary, there’s some sort of problem there. Realistically, what does the future hold for the Diplomats if the two head honchos don’t even speak?
Hey, for every problem, there is a solution. That’s what my mama always told me. So we’ll see what the future holds. But right now, it’s Dipset/Byrdgang. We goin’ hard. We won’t let nobody bring us down. We gonna keep flying high. That’s what we here to do. We gon’ get the money, we gon’ make a stamp [and] we gon’ galvanize the movement that gonna last way longer than we would ever last on this Earth.

People have also been speculating whether you’re going to leave Koch and go to a major label for your next solo album. Have you made a decision?
No. We’ll just have to see. Shout out to Koch Records, who’s been holding me down more than anything in this world. I made a lot of money with them. I broke a lot of bread with them. We really like the Spartans up there—so few go up against so many. That’s why I love them the way I do. That’s why I always show my respect and tip my hat to them. But business is business. What happens when I start to record this next album, if anything changes, you know there’s going to be a press conference. [Laughs]

Do you have a timetable for when the next album will drop?
I would love to come out around the end of March [2008]. I feel that’s an ideal moment. Give me a little time to go dig in, get the producers I wanna work with, all the people I wanna work with, and really sit down and put an album, a masterpiece together.

Are you gonna stay in the same lane or try to expand your sound now that you’ve got a bigger audience?
I’m trying to make music this time around. Some good ol’ music, man. We missing good music. That music that touches the soul, as far as from the hip-hop perspective. As far as a person [who is] coming from the streets with so much against him and trying to make it right. Most people forget where they came from to get the money. We coming from a place where these niggas are still hopeless. The music keeps them focused because of the risk they have to take. Most of my niggas got them felonies, so there ain’t no jobs. So you know what jobs they got. Shit, if they get caught up in that situation, there ain’t no coming back. That’s what the music always reflects. This is what I want people to get back at. I know the radio wanna hear that poppy sound and that music they can play for the people, but when they cop that album, we should be going in, all the way in. Let people hear the truth, not a façade, not what you want to be the truth.

You set the bar high for yourself with “We Fly High.” Do you feel pressure to top that record or recreate another hit song of that magnitude?
I’ma competitive person. I don’t think I’m gonna bust my brain, like, “Oh, I gotta get another ballin’ or [make a] better record than ballin’.” But I know I gotta make some good music. That’s always my goal, to make some good music that’s going to move the crowd, make the niggas wanna be like me and make the ladies wanna fuck me. That’s pretty much the blueprint.

Any chance we’ll get a collaboration with 50 on the next album?
Shit, I would love to. Why not? Probably get me a couple more sales. 50 is the No. 1 artist in the whole fuckin’ game.

That would be huge for New York.
I been dying to do some music with Fif. It would be a good thing for New York. New York hasn’t come together and bombed on everyone else that’s been taking cheap shots at us ’cause they had they lil’ bit of run in the music. But when you got people like us that come together and build other types of alliances and things like that, I think New York will get that spirit back.

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