BET’s ‘The Business of Hip Hop’ Explores the Journey of Jim Jones
In addition to celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop this year, this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the seminal collective, The Diplomats (also known as Dipset). And as one of the original members along with Cam’Ron, Juelz Santana, and Freekey Zekey, Jim Jones continues to parlay the group’s hustle mentality into a range of unique endeavors and a prolific output of new music and mixtapes.
Born Joseph Guillermo Jones II in Harlem, he originally wanted to be a journalist, but after learning to rhyme from Mase and spitting bars on Cam’ron’s first album, 1998’s Confessions of Fire, Jones was hooked. “[Hip Hop] helped me shape my life,” Jones told BET. When the group reached platinum success with 2003’s iconic Diplomatic Immunity, the album helped put Harlem on the hip hop’s map.
In 2004, Jones released his debut solo album, On My Way to Church. But it was his third album, 2006’s Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment), that launched his first platinum single, "We Fly High (Ballin’). He eventually went on to release 31 solo projects, 19 mixtapes, and eventually star with longtime girlfriend Chrissy Lampkin in their popular reality series.
With the launch of his company, Vampire Life Enterprises, Jones oversees a music distribution enterprise with over 400 artists, the luxury cannabis line Saucy Farms & Extracts, and a clothing line.
And after over two decades in the game, he’s still never far from the studio or a stage. Jim Jones has hit the Apollo with Drake, dropped a hot track with Migos (“We Set the Trends), and still rocks the mic with Dipset. He released a new album this year, Back in My Prime, which features appearances from Ty Dolla $ign, Benny the Butcher, Pleasure P, and more. “Just to be in this game this long and still be able to make music that people are actually listening to and streaming and things like that is great in [and of] itself,” Jones told Complex.
Jim Jones’ business acumen and his mantra “You get what you negotiate and not what you deserve,” cements his status as one of the most influential hip hop artists.
To learn more about Jim Jones and other influencers of the culture, tune into BET’s Brands, Bread, and Brilliance documentary.