Whenever I get the chance to show love to a Diplomats member — whether it's a lowly alum like Un Kasa or the king of kings himself, Cam'ron — I'm going to do it. This is because the Diplomats (better known as Dipset) will go down as one of the best rap cliques of all time, a distinction that, at least for me, requires no second-guessing. It was the Dips' timeless hits, outsized personalities and the insane Harlem flair they brought to everything they did that made them rap's hottest crew for a few years. Before rappers were yelling "Swag!" every 15 seconds, the Diplomats did it without the tiresome reminding. It was just always there.
Or at least it was in their prime, the early-to-mid aughts. Since then, things have slowed down for the Dips for various reasons — inner-conflicts, bad label situations, rap's climate shifting without them. Its three most notable members have traveled different paths: Cam'ron records sporadically with varying degrees of success, but now he's supposedly doing full projects with Mac Miller so his latest efforts should be approached with caution; Juelz Santana hasn't released an album since 2005; and Jim Jones has failed to match the success of his sole major hit, 2006's "We Fly High" (the one you probably remember as "Baaallllliiiiinnnn'!!!!"). The Diplomats don't dominate rap conversation anymore, but Jones has remained in the public eye most, thanks in large part to reality TV.
Jones has regularly appeared on VH1's "Love & Hip Hop" as the long-time boyfriend (and then fiance) of Chrissy Lampkin. Off-camera, he's been pushing his recent "Vampire Life" mixtape and, according to this Village Voice piece, working on a short film of the same name that's "an urban 'Twilight' mixed with a little bit of 'Streets Is Watching'." Laugh first but give him credit — Jones refuses to slow down, a 24/7 grind that includes regular touring. He brings his "We Own the Night" tour to Sonar on Sunday night, along with Ninjasonik and more. More info and tickets ($15) are available here. Hopefully it goes down differently than this.