With his famed Harlem swagger and hustler’s mentality, Jim Jones is a key cog in the Dipset movement. Despite having two solid albums in his oft-overlooked catalog, Capo has never really gotten props as an artist. After Cam’s commercially disappointing Killa Season, Jones steps up with Hustler’s P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment) and quietly repositions himself as one of the Dip’s most compelling members.
Armed with the biggest single of his career in “We Fly High,” Jim puts the spoils of his newfound success on full display. He calls in Lil Wayne and Stack Bundles to spend money like water on the strip club anthem “Weather Man.” The baalllinn manifesto continues on the Jim Bond–produced “Bright Lights,” where the gruff-voiced rapper boasts, “We live life on reality/Flip white for our salary,” over a filtered-out sample made famous by Jay-Z’s “Where I’m From.”
Jones switches gears slightly with the Chink Santana–produced “Sade Joint,” where he utilizes sound bytes from remorseful ex-convicts instead of a hook, before spittin’, “Ain’t nothing fresher than my Nike forces/Yeah, the blue and white forces/Is on our back like Christ’s cross is.” References to kicks and street politics reemerge on the ’Pac-inspired “Emotionless,” as he warns, “You’re lookin’ at a cracker’s worst nightmare/Young, Black, rich, and a pair of Nike Airs.”
Unfortunately, the album is not without its miscues. The asinine hook on “Pin the Tail” eclipses Juelz Santana’s and Cam’ron’s collaborative shine, while the schizophrenic rhythms on “Love of My Life” abruptly switch from calming piano keys to knocking kicks with no warning. While Jimmy displays a tremendous amount of growth with more poignant tracks like the politically charged “Children of the Ghetto,” he relies too heavily on recycled rhymes from rap greats. Still, the certified gangsta manages to find an equal balance between street lure and social consciousness and may finally get money, power and respect. —ROB MARKMAN
Read the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the
December 2006 issue (#87)