In a little under a decade, Jimmy Jones has gone from “Cam’ron’s friend” on “Horse and Carriage” (remember me too?) to “Capo” of one of the hottest rap clicks around. Along the way he has negotiated numerous business deals for himself and other members of the Dipset, as well as release a successful independent album and two Diplomats records with Cam’ron and Juelz Santana. After proving himself as an astute business man, Jimmy Jones further establishes himself as a rapper on his second release, Harlem: Diary of a Harlem Summer, by making a solid album.
Most of the album is typical Dipset, including the Treblemakerz produced “J.I.M.M.Y.”, which evokes memories of “S.A.N.T.A.N.A.” and classic DMX, with Jimmy confidently rhyming “I’m a boss I said/ Dipset gangsta I don’t cross my legs”. Jimmy fills the album with similarly braggadocios lyrics like on “Penitentiary Chances” where he says, “Who suffered the loss?/ My new truck is a Porsche/ This is one-eyed Willie/ And I am from fucking New York”. Santana comes through with his usual lyrics, style, and ever-improving flow on “Honey Dip” and “Ride With Me”, but Cam’ron, the third member of the trinity, is missing.
While Cam’ron is mysteriously MIA, the album does not lack guest appearances. Max B., 40 Cal, and J.R. Writer are featured as well as Diddy, Paul Wall, and Jha Jha on the posse cut “What You Drinkin’ On”. None of the “rappers” distinguish themselves on the song, and Diddy’s delivery is especially bad which comes complete with his signature voice-overs and “yeah’s”. Although a Diddy appearance would easily be the low point for most albums, the annoying chipmunk sample on “Harlem” challenges him for the dubious distinction.
The best song of the album is the Pete Rock produced “G’s Up” with the traditional “soul” feeling expected of him. Jimmy shines on the song with a smooth delivery and semi-conscious lines like “The majority of the time/ I’m trying to stay above the poverty line/ And that’s a major part of my grind”. Unfortunately the overused hook and Max B’s violent and graphic lyrics “Beat a niggaz’ bitch/ Til she bleedin’ from the lips” partially ruin the work of Jim and the Chocolate Boy Wonder.
Jones also strays from the characteristic Dipset sound in favor of romance, on “I’m In Love With A Thug” and “Summer Wit’ Miami”, with mixed results. The latter features Trey Songz singing the hook over a sample of the Isley Brother’s “Between The Sheets” (as sampled on “Big Poppa”) as Jimmy flosses over the beat in his best Don Juan. Although the song is unremarkable, the introduction may or may not have some interesting “subliminal” disses towards Jay-Z, including “That bitch [Summer] might be cheating on you”.
With each passing year Jimmy Jones improves as a rapper, but his real talent is as a business man. The Dipset have carved their niche in the rap industry and The Capo smartly sticks to what their fans want. Love him or hate him because, Harlem: Diary of A Summer is what people should expect from The Diplomats.
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