There was a time in which Jim Jones was one of the most consistent artists in the game. He wasn’t the best rapper, but he always found away to stay relevant in rap circles by releasing a new album practically every year. Believe it or not, the 41 year old took a 7 year hiatus from the rap game, opting to keep his name in the urban circles by doing outlandish s**t in “Love & Hip Hop” instead. For whatever reason, he decided to make his triumphant return to the music scene this week, blessing us with this 18 track project that features some major players from both today and yesterday’s generation. Do you think he still has the mainstream appeal to create a solid project? I guess we shall see below…
5. CHICKEN FRIED RICE
You haven’t had chicken fried rice unless you ordered it from Yums II in DC!
“Chicken Fried Rice” sounds like a trap love song, as everyone involved gets a chance to talk about a couple of things that make their women dope. It’s probably the only semi-sensual song on the album, and half of that sensuality is dedicated to some rice.
Jim Jones verse is forgettable, but 5am, Trav and Yo Gotti definitely make the song come alive on their parts. The first two do it with their passionate singing on the hook, while the latter delivers this sly ass verse that has him coming across like your average n***a that wants their side chick to treat them like the hood Prince Akeem.
Word of advice: Anytime you order chicken fried rice, ask for ‘hot oil’; trust me, it will change your life.
4. DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
Drake on “Back To Back”: “Is this what I had to do to make these dudes rap?”
Drake’s “Diplomatic Immunity” might have given Cam and Jim some newfound energy, so it’s only fitting that they tackle a slightly altered version of the instrumental on this song. The duo certainly don’t disappoint. From start to finish, the track sounds like an old school cypher between both rappers, as they each remind the world about their hood resumes through these animated bars. The randomness of their lines makes their verses feel like a freestyle, giving me flashbacks to their classic appearance on Rap City: The Basement with Big Tigger.
3. DUST & POWDER
Jim Jones may not be the best at rapping, but when it comes to talking about some street s**t, he is a pro. In “Dust & Powder,” he gives listeners this tour of the s**t he used to see growing up, and a few things he sees now. I like how vivid he is with his assertions, as he makes the crazy/outlandish s**t that he used to do sound normal.
Unlike Jimmy, Jadakiss is good at both speaking some street s**t and rapping. On his verse, he opts to discuss both the positive and negative effects drugs had in his life, sounding appreciative of what it led him to. His verse doesn’t have any major punchlines or crazy flows, just a real n***a speaking his s**t to the listeners.
2. STILL DIPSET
I’m glad Jim and Juelz were able to clarify that they were still Dipset (I was worried at one point).
In “Still Dipset,” the Capo gets one of his main confidants to join him in the music making fun, and together, they drop two gritty verses that will remind you why they were capable of strong arming any one of your favorite rappers. While Jim’s verse is all about his clout, Juelz gives us something more lyrical, destroying the beat with really solid wordplay. As for the dude on the hook, he sorta sounds like an annoying hype man that is simply happy to be in the two New Yorker’s presence.
Juelz says him and Jim Jones are like Klay and Curry… I say more like Wesley Matthews and Yogi Ferrell.
1. ONCE UPON A TIME
My favorite rap group of all time got together once again…Hallelujah indeed!
I feel like my childhood came back for like 5 minutes when I heard this song: The Kanye-eque instrumental, Jim Jones murdering s**t with a couple of lyrics that make you want to punch him in the face, and Cam’ron sounding cooler than the other side of the pillow. On top of that, both of them sound very excited about their reunion, spitting with lots of animation throughout. I don’t want to say I cried listening to this s**t, but I definitely had a slight sniffle.
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. INTRO BRONX TALES (N/A)
2. NEVER DID 3 QUARTERS (4.1/5)
3. DUST & POWDER (4.7/5)
4. CATCH ON YET (5/5)
5. BANGING (3.9/5)
6. GOTTA PLAY THE GAME (4.5/5)
7. GOTTA B REAL (4/5)
8. EPITOME (3.8/5)
9. LIVING MY BEST LIFE (4.6/5)
10. ADIDAS (3.9/5)
11. CHICKEN FRIED RICE (4.7/5)
12. THE OLD WAY (3.8/5)
13. DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY (5/5)
14. HEAD OFF (4/5)
15. PRAY (3.9/5)
16. BAG TALK (3.8/5)
17. STILL DIPSET (4.5/5)
18. ONCE UPON A TIME (5/5)
I did so much reminiscing listening to this album. I feel like for the first time an artist was able to make music that reminded me of their old s**t, but at the same time didn’t sound played out at all. (That is really hard to do… Have you heard Slim Thug’s music as of late?)
Jim Jones was always good at garnering a bunch of collaborations in his past albums, and he does the same for this one. Throughout the 18 tracks, he links up with new rap comers like Lil Durk and YFN Lucci, while also collaborating with the Juelzs, Jadakiss’ and Cam’rons of the world. The meshing of both worlds make for this unique body of work that has something for everyone.
My biggest takeaway from this album is how real it sounds. It literally feels like it was made on the steps of Jim Jones’ apartment complex in Harlem. The beats have lots of soul, the verses that each person drops is on some real s**t, and I get this feeling that Jim had an absolute blast making the project.