Dipset’s 15 Most Notorious Moments
Bandanna’s cocked to the side, pink Range Rovers and an IDGAF attitude, accompanying ill rhymes, banging beats and tons of swagger established the collective known as The Diplomats in the early 2000s. In true diplomatic fashion, Dipset moved like they were above the law. Like the hip-hop equivalent to wrestling’s nWo (New World Order), the Harlem bad boys ushered in a new-rap-order. Their dense catalog of powerful music provided a backdrop for a movement that was well, more than music.
Whether it was their lethal diss records, classic freestyles, infamous radio interviews or blatant disregard for the establishment, The Diplomats were responsible for many unforgettable moments in the game. With today (March 25) marking the 10-year anniversary for Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones and Freekey Zeekey's debut, Diplomatic Immunity, XXL highlights Dipset's 15 Most Notorious Moments.—Compiled by Ralph Bristout, Kai Acevedo, with additional reporting by Dan Buyanovsky
Rap City Freestyle (2002)
“Welcome to New York City. No. Welcome to Dipset City,” Juelz proclaimed. The Diplomats were in full form here. Not only were the arrogance and swagger the Harlem crew embodied on full display, they showcased just how ill they were on as lyricists. Best line: “Four mil from Def Jam and I ain’t sold a record for ‘em.”
Cam’Ron Takes Shots at Nas’ Daughter and Mother (2002)
Here’s some advice for you MCs out there: do not beef with Dipset. When they go in, they go all the way in. In response to Nas’ Power 105 radio rant where he had some not-so-nice things to say about everybody from Jay-Z to Angie Martinez to Nelly to N.O.R.E. He then called Cam’s Come Home With Me “wack.” This was all that was needed for Cam and crew to launch a full-on assault on Nas. Over the instrumental to Nas’ “Hate Me Now” Cam and Jimmy took shots at Nas, his daughter, her mother and his mother.
Jim Jones Introduces the “Kufi List” (2003)
During Dipset’s war of words with Nas, the females in Nas’ life weren’t the only ones caught in the crossfire. Nas’ choice of headgear was also targeted. Nas’ “God Son” era saw him wearing skullcaps resembling Kufis. Jimmy saw an opportunity. “I’m going to smack that fucking Kufi off your fucking head,” he taunted. “Kufi straight off your fucking head!” Jimmy would later go on to warned Ma$e and a few other rappers about ending up that infamous “Kufi List.”
Cam’ron Says Dipset is a “Wrap” on Angie Martinez (2009)
At the height of speculation regarding the status of Dipset, Cam visited the Voice of New York to promote his Crime Pays album. When Angie brought up the Dipset rumors Cam began a series of strange and confusing riddles. He referenced He-Man, Jason Bourne and made comparisons to “mad turtlenecks and corduroys,” “beefpatties and dandruff” and “terrycloth and Pumas.” It was really weird, but after a quick commercial break and a call to Treadstone (yes, the Treadstone from the Bourne movies) Cam made it clear, “basically, to be honest, it’s a wrap.”
Cam’ron’s “Stan” Freestyle (2002)
Clearly when beefing with the Dips nothing is off limits, not even a deceased parent. Cam’Ron and his former associate, Stan Spit had a falling out, which led to Cam reminding Stan of a very brutal reality, “your mother’s dead.” Cam also ripped apart Stan’s skills on the mic, streetcred and his choice in women. We haven’t heard much from Stan Spit since.
Juelz Santana Admires Mohammad Atta
In 2003, Santana caused an uproar after his lyrics to “I Love You” (off Diplomatic Immunity) found him 'worshipping' infamous 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Omar Atta. The line— which ran, "I worship the prophet/The great Mohammed Omar Atta/For his courage behind the wheel of the plane/Reminds me when I was dealin' the 'caine”— landed 'Elz and the crew backlash from several news and media outlets but of course, that didn't faze the Uptown clique. In fact, during an interview with NME prior to DI's release, Juelz not only confirmed that he didn't regret the verse but also that admired Atta's courage. “I feel my Diplomats are my team and I'm going to do whatever it takes for them, for my people, the same way as [Atta] did for his people,” he revealed in the interview.
“Not that I support him or what he did, but in order for him to do that, it had to take courage and love for what he believed in. A lot of New York people don't have that. Maybe if they did, something like that wouldn't happen.” Despite the controversy, The Dips' double-album still managed to push 92,000 copies its first week of release. How's that for powerful music?
Cam’ron Calls Bill O’Reily “Doggie” (2004)
In 2004, Cam and Dame Dash appeared on The O’Reilly Factor in an attempt to defend Hip Hop against the belief that it only negatively influences young fans. We’re not really sure if the mission was accomplished. What started as a civil discussion quickly became a shouting match. Cam made some very valid points about parents needing to be more involved in the lives of their children and rappers only reporting what actually goes on in certain neighborhoods, but those points were overshadowed by Cam saying stuff like “I got dirt on you doggie.”
Cam’ron and Jim Jones Call Out Ma$e on Miss Jones in the Morning (2004)
When Ma$e stopped by Hot 97's Miss Jones in the Morning show back in August 2004, what was suppose to be promo for his Welcome Back album ended up being a heated debate and open invitation for “kufi smacking” by Jimmy and Cam’ron. Calling in separately, the two respectively questioned the Harlem playboy-turned-pastor-turned-rapper-again’s authenticity. The most memorable moment here, besides Ma$e’s “I was praying for Jimmy,” was when a furious Jones threatened that he was going to sic his “Goonie-Goo-Goos” on his former pal. “I don’t like you,” he charged. “You shouldn’t have came out your mouth, I’ll put some dentures in your mouth. Go back down south with your congregation.” Ouch.
Cam’ron Sports Pink (2002)
In the early 2000s, The Dips’ movement spilled over to fashion after Killa Cam started rocking pink. Sure there were skeptics who questioned the Uptown capo, but that only fueled Cam to go and add on some extra pink to everything from minks to leathers, Timbs and his whip—an inside-out, all-pink Range Rover that looked like Laffy Taffy.
Dipset’s Press Conference After Releasing “You Gotta Love It” (2006)
In January 2006, Cam, who was just recovering from gunshot wounds after a botched robbery attempt, held a rather infamous press conference in NYC to not only announce plans for his Diplomats collective but also address his beef with Jay-Z. Aside from revealing his motive behind his “You Gotta Love It” diss track, Cam also shed some light on Jay’s former fling with Charli Baltimore. “A lot of people thought it [Lance "Un" Rivera stabbing] was about a bootleg CD," he explained. "It was about Charli Baltimore. He love her." He also poked fun Hov signing at Nas signing to Def Jam, “I think that's a good move for Jay-Z…If anybody can bone somebody's baby mother and bring them on stage to give them five, [then] you look good. It makes Jay-Z look hardcore." The conference made headlines and provided enough promo for Killa to release his Killa Season LP and DVD.
Cam’ron’s No Snitching PSA
We can’t tell you which was more infamous, Cam’s appearance on The O’ Reilly Factor or this one, his 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper about the “Stop Snitching” campaign. The latter not only became one of Dipset’s most memorable moments of all-time but also a perfect example for “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.”
Aside from telling a puzzled Cooper that he’d move if he knew a serial killer was living next door, Cam provided another notable quote after being asked if there’s ever a moment where it’s “okay” to talk to police. “Yea definitely, say hello how you feel, everything alright, period."
Hell Rell’s Ruga Stories
Hell Rell interviews seriously never get old. There’s about a dozen of these gems to be found on YouTube, but this one (shot by a young Vinny Cha$e) is the best. Here, while alternating between smoking cigarettes and blunts, Digital Scale Rell addresses rumors that his debut For The Hell of It isn’t coming out and responds by saying he’s already got a movie out that’s gone Platinum and albums don't supersede movies nowadays. He continues this rant of epic proportions by addressing the legitimacy of his jewelry. One of the Diplomats' most overlooked artists/personalities, Rell never questioned his own worth. "I'm one of the most important figures to the set, nigga. Is y'all niggas crazy?" he asks to no one in particular.
Cam’ron Births “Cuuuurtis” on Hot 97
The GM of the now-defunct Koch Records Allen Grunblatt and Cam call into Angie while 50 is on the air, and what sounds like a peaceful conversation at first turns into an all-bravado screaming match between the New York heavies. Cam sounds kind of drunk and super desperate for attention, famously yelling "CUUUUURTIS" over the phone before dropping f-bombs. 50, unfazed, brushes him off with the cold threat, "you getting ready to cause a whole different situation."
Jimmy and Juelz Rocking with 50 at height of Cam/50 Beef
A few months after the Hot 97 call on which 50 said, "Diplomats are cool," he backs up his camaraderie by bringing out Jim Jones and Juelz Santana during a show at the Hammerstein Ballroom. No stranger to public conflict, 50 definitely went behind Cam's back on this one, and even highlighted the collaboration with a performance of Jimmy's then-hit "We Fly High."
Deleting Jay-Z’s “Oh Boy” Verse (2002)
Let’s be real, there’s plenty of rappers who’d kill to get a Jay-Z feature on their record—especially if it’s already a hit. But for The Diplomats, they couldn’t care less. At least that’s what clique made it seem in 2011, when they discussed rejecting a would-be Jigga remix for their 2003 smash “Oh Boy.” To hear Juelz explain it, the gang pretty much had Mr. Carter’s verse “erased” after agreeing it was, as they put it, “trash.” Ouch.
During the 2011 interview with Miss Info, for Red Bull Music Academy’s Five Out of Five Tour, Juelz and the team explained the whole situation. “So we walk up into the studio room, and [Young] Guru pulls up 'Oh Boy,' with a Jay-Z verse,” ’Elz revealed. "[At this point] we was wondering why he didn't want to jump on records that he could've jumped on already. 'Oh Boy' is already out of this world, gettin' probably like ten thousand spins."
“On [the verse], he's dissing Nas! Cam made [Guru] erase the verse...to the point where Cam told Guru, 'You better erase that, I don't ever want to hear that."
This moment will forever take the cake as Dipset's Most Notorious Moment.