“Can it be that it was all so simple then?”
Harlem, Summer 2005. Jim Jones (hypeman for his childhood friend Cam’ron and co-founder of their rap collective, The Diplomats) released his 2nd album, Harlem: Diary Of a Summer to above average reviews. Although he never was much of a lyricist, especially compared to the kids he hung with (His earliest attempts at rapping are laughable. Real talk, Mama Giles > Jimmy), Jones always had a scorer’s aura, even when he was riding the bench. His first album, On My Way to Church, received moderate praise but wasn’t enough to push him into the same light as his fellow DipSet members, Cam and Juelz Santana. Harlem: Diary Of a Summer was propelled by it’s lead single, “Baby Girl”, which featured Jones newest find on the hook.Fellow Harlem native Max B, fresh home off an eight year robbery bid and anxious to make his mark in the game, was introduced to Jones by a mutual friend. Max’s drunken delivery and sing songy hooks paired up perfectly with Jones husky vocals and choppy delivery and the chemistry between them seemed borne more out of genuine friendship then business. Jim was Max’s way out of the streets, while Max looked to be Jim’s first class ticket from hype man to headliner.
The partnership continued to flourish and two years later, Jones took his career to the next level with his 3rd album. Hustler’s P.O.M.E. spawned Jones’ biggest hit to date, “We Fly High”, a song which was co-written by, you guessed it, Max B., who also appeared on a big chunk of the LP’s cuts. As big as “We Fly High” got and with as many shows and television spots as Jones and his “crew” were booking, everybody in the Byrd Gang camp shoulda been “Ballin'”, right? Well, old habits die hard and somehow Max got himself involved in a lil’ bit of trouble and as a result,
Jim Jones’ cash cow landed in jail for Murder, amongst other charges. The very opposite of wavy.
Now we all know there’s two sides to every story. Jim says this, Max says that, but somewhere around the time Jim Jones’ Harlem’s American Gangster mixtape was supposed to drop (right after they filmed this), Max officially broke away from Jones & his verses never made the retail version of the tape. Coupled with the murder of Byrd Gang’s other star rookie, Stack Bundles, what once looked like DipSet 2.o was shattered and none of the principle’s careers have been the same since.
These days, Max B. is locked down in Bergen County Prison trying to appeal his forty year prison sentence while Jim Jones trudges along with a solo career that’s just now beginning to recover from the split. Nonetheless, the fact that Jones latest album is filled with appearances from Chink Santana, (a.k.a. the OTHER reason Murder Inc. fell off) & Sen City (a.k.a. Gargamel a.k.a. Bizzaro Biggaveli), two Max B. stand ins who’s weak attempts to fill the creative void left by the break up are so flagrantly transparent, it’s really a hard move to respect if you’re looking at Jim Jones as an artist.
But who’s looking at Jim Jones as an artist?
Jim Jones’ Capo & Max B.’s Vigilante Season are both in stores now.