With a string of hit group and solo albums, the Harlem Diplomats (CamRon, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, et. al.) have established themselves as one of the most influential crews in Hip-Hop. With the success of the hit single, We Fly High (Ballin), Dipset founding member Jim Jones has managed to become an international star. Never one to let opportunity pass him by, Jones signed a lucrative joint venture deal with Columbia Records. With his Byrdgang Record label and his new Byrdgang crew (Chink Santana, Mel Matrix, NOE, Oshy, Sandman), Jones plans on repeating that success with M.O.B. (Members of ByrdgangThe Album) dropping July 1 on Asylum. Even though hes left the nest, the bird still flies high. Ya dig? AllHipHop.com: You began your career as one of the founding of the Diplomats. What is it that made you want to step away and do your own thing?Jones: Its still Dipset. Its always Dipset. Without Dipset none of this couldve ever happened. Byrdgang is a subsidiary of Dipset, Diplomats is the umbrella that started everything. Myself, Cam, Juelz weve all been fortunate enough to gain enough success to go into different ventures and make a little money on the side. AllHipHop.com: So how did the Byrdgang movement come about?Jones: This is something I had going for a minute. Its always been Byrdgang/Diplomats. The bird flies high, nothing changes that. These are people Ive had around me for years, people that Ive grown close to over the years. These kids are talented beyond belief. If you want to bet money, Ill put my money on it. Besides that, it aint just music with us but theres really no need to even go there. Its still your boy man, we just playing hard. Weve been granted some opportunities to do some albums. They gave me a chance because they love my business savvy so its Byrdgang Records. We still splashing on yall. Its fun. We give our thanks to the Lord for all this. We mobbing, aint nothing changed. The music is there, the music is impeccable. Were about to be everywhere. [Jim Jones f/ Juelz Santana “Splash”]AllHipHop.com: What is it that separates the Byrdgang from any and every other rap crew that is out there?Jones: I dont really get into all the what makes us different thing. Theres a code. Theres honor and theres loyalty amongst everybody. Thats why we call it a movement. We know that these endeavors we get into, as far as the music is concerned, is going to create opportunities for our families to be able to eat and for our kids to be able to eat. Everybody here is willing to put their life on the line for a dollar. That dollar means a lot to us. Weve been infected by the same greed. We all got that infection so were doing what we need to do to get that money and anybody that stands in front of us can either roll over or face the consequences. Its either or, never in between. No retreat, no surrender. AllHipHop.com: You mentioned how you roll over any problems. You had to deal with an incredible obstacle in losing Stack Bundles. How has it been trying to go on after losing someone you were so close to?Jones: It was unfortunate that someone like Stack was cheated at such a young age. But I be telling people I think God needed him. From the day he came in I swear I never met anybody like him. He was a brother from another mother. His music was self explanatory. We also lost Bang-Bang. He didnt do music but he was a hell of a soldier. He really did it up man. We lost both of them in a matter of months. I was fresh off the Street Dreams tour. For me to just come off the road and then these things happen within like a month and a half of each other, we were going crazy. These things happen all too often. Its crazy the way were living, thats why we try to escape from it. The goal is to get the money so you aint forced to live there. Then you go back and reach for some other people. AllHipHop.com: You also lost Max B. due to differences in opinion. How was it trying to build the project with the absence of someone who was so visible and such an intricate part of the music?Jones: Breaks are an intricate part of your car aint they? Dont you change them all the time, well, once they start acting funny? This whole thing is my car. I drive this foreign right here. Nobody else driving this here, ya dig? It was more business than anything. When you shoot yourself in the foot like that I call you a stillborn. When you kill yourself before you even get on like that. Hes a figment, something I created from beginning to end. From the way he walks to the way he talks. Its f**ked up when you kill your life like that, like before anything can really happen for you. Its a shame but situations happen like that very often in the game. Me, I represent the label side. Im also on a lot of other things. But like I said this is a family, this is a movement. When people start to act funny we can shift it straight to business. I can put you on the shelf next to my Nike boots. Noe: Loyalty in business is the key to success in anyones financial situation. I learned that from the streets. Capo gave me the chance to make legal money. I never made legal money a day in my life and Im over 25. To get a legal check, for Jim to give me and all of us here the chance to get a legal check is phenomenal. But the key is loyalty for all you little n****s out there with your little movements and cliques. If yall n****s is falling apart from the start then youre doomed. Jones: And Noes a fly n***a too. He be on some different shit. Hes an intelligent dude and he knows a lot about a lot of different s**t like big bodied wines and cigars. He taught me a lot. He be having some expensive s**t going on.
“I be telling n****s I aint talented like that, but Im talented at
hustling. Im going to
make some good ass music and move it the same way if I had some good
ass drugs.” -Jim Jones
AllHipHop.com: So the people sitting here are pretty much Byrdgang forever?Mel Matrix: Im thankful for the position Im in. I love him like a brother. Anything else is uncivilized. For real, man. I came out the can and my n***a scooped me and took me to Disneyworld. I was soowoo ganging at Disney.Jones: This young man is like my little brother but I never known him for doing music. But we were on tour and you know, n****s is in the back of the bus listening to the beats I have with me to make songs for the albums. Im in the back sleep but not really sleep so I can hear whats going on. So I was just listening and these n****s started going in. I had to jump up and see what the f**k was going on and who was doing what. And that was like three years ago. I told him, off what he did on that bus, if he can go in the booth and do half of that he could make a craft of that and I can show him how to get some money out of it. This s**t aint really all that hard, its how hard you want to hustle. I be telling n****s I aint talented like that, but Im talented at hustling. I know how to get that money and I get to it. Im going to make some good ass music and move it the same way if I had some good ass drugs. Im going into these streets and Im going to make some money. Black is another. Ive known Black since he was a teenager. When he was little Black just going crazy in the hood. He got close to one of my family and I started to see how thorough Black was. When he came of age I just snatched him out the hood because I hate to see a thorough n***a get caught in the bulls**t in the hood. And in the midst of me snatching him up out the hood he still caught a hammer charge. I dont know why he caught the hammer charge because we were fresh off tour. But thats another one of my young boys that I love like a brother. Im just trying to show these n****s what it is, show them a whole different part of life. I took these n****s to so many parts of the muthaf**king world. I know n****s who never even leave the projects unless its to go to 125th and back. And thats all they know. Its a blessing to make it out but still be able to walk within. I cant even explain it sometimes man. Sometimes the s**t feels like a dream. Like I don’t even think we all supposed to be here. So to get opportunities like this, I’m trying to hold on to them. Sandman: Most of the time n****s gets no love so when somebody show you love like that, you appreciate the n***a. AllHipHop.com: You say youre more than a crew, youre more like a family. Has any of your family gotten you into a situation?Jones: We were in Kansas City. Scoob was out of pocket and got us into some shit out there. But they bang hard in Kansas City. We out of town and they gave us this bulls**t stretch Hummer. The show was wrapping up and we got to move. There was a lot going on then all of a sudden you hear [gun shots]. I dont know what they had but they were letting off all types of s**t. We make it to the limo and the drivers not in the f**king car. We in back of the limo and Black runs full speed and dives through the partition and does a roll, James Bond style and lands in the seat, pulls off and gets us the f**k up out of there. We look back and the driver is out there busting shots like, Nah, this is what I do. The driver was out there too busy busting shots to get us the f**k up out of there. Shout out to Kansas City man. Them n****s go hard. Shout out to the driver too. “…Pardon us if we do make a couple
mistakes because were all human and none of us said that were angels. Were all just trying to do better in life. But if any of you
n****s try to get in our muthaf**king way were going to mob on you
n****s.” -Jim JonesAllHipHop.com: When it comes to the music, do you foresee yourself having to bump heads with anyone out there to establish yourselves?Jones: If I ever had a problem with somebody I go to the front of their house and holla at them. Just to talk to you. Thats how we used to do it. You never really hear me. The only person you heard me going at was the old head. That was because when youre in the game and youre on top you got to expect to get knocked off. If somebodys on top and you feel youre strong enough, thats what you do. Youre supposed to do it. So thats why I was getting at that old head. He was weak in his knees and I had to bite him. But, for the most part, everybody knew that was all in fun. If it did come down to it we could do it but that was a TV and Radio thing. there could never be something violent behind any of that because I know Id be going to jail because n****s tell nowadays. So thats why I dont do too much with the rapping s**t. Its just my hustle. AllHipHop.com: What can people expect from the Byrdgang project?Jones: The Byrdgang project is phenomenal. We’ve been working on it for a couple years now. It became crazy trying to pick songs because you want every joint you’ve done on the project. We put out a couple songs, just did the video for the Splash record. Shout to Juelz, SkullGang. We keeping it moving man, it don’t stop. We keep making this powerful music.Sandman: Its going to be reality rap. A lot of pain, a lot of struggle. Youre going to the flip. You’re going to see us from rags to riches and how we turned all that negative into a positive. Jim Jones really gave n****s a chance to do that. We’re going to be role models for certain dudes man. Just watch and learn.[Jim Jones Feat Noe & Mel Matrix – Love Me No More/Byrd Gang Money]AllHipHop.com: Will that be released before or after your next project?JonesL My album is most likely going to be after the Byrdgang album. My album is totally f**king disgusting. I know I left ya’ll niggas with Ballin and s**t. It was a beautiful record and it made me a lot of money. It took me to a place I couldn’t imagine. But if you n****s think that I was coming with anything less than that s**t, you n****s is crazy. Me and everybody you see here, we dug in. Everybody came together to help me with my album so I’m letting you n****s know, I’m coming at n****s heads. Shout to Koch and Asylum. I’ve done major business with them but I just did that deal so you n****s need to know the type of promotions and marketing that’s going to be going on. I just did Gold on Koch just because we go hard like that. Now imagine what’s going to happen with stupid-dupid doe behind that. You suckers need to worry about what’s going to happen when Columbia puts that push on it. Shouts to Hip-Hop [Joshua]. If you don’t know who Hip-Hop is, he’s the guy behind all those Roc-A-Fella hit albums. Shout to my n***a Dame Splash, Zeeky, Killa where you at. I don’t really do the lyrical s**t but this time I’m coming at you n****s heads. [Jim Jones “We Fly High” REMIX feat. T.I., Diddy, Juelz Santana]AllHipHop.com: Can people expect something different from you and the Byrdgang in regards to the content of the music?Jones: All these gentlemen here been through a lot of hard s**t in life. None of them no punks, aint none of them no p***ies, ya dig. They all know we got one goal and everybody follows their agenda. All of us got felonies. Well, pardon me, I dont have felonies. But that was because I had people around me that knew what it was and knew I was trying to do something different. They said we respect you for what you doing and you need to keep doing that so I always had an angel on my side. Unfortunately, these men have been through some hellified s**t. I got gangsters next to me and Im showing these gangsters how to get some real, live money. Like he said, we turning this negative into a positive and this music is the most positive thing that can happen. Pardon us if were making this music that depicts what weve been through. It might sound hard when we spit about the s**t that weve been though but s**t, the movies are way worse than the life we depict in this music. But this music feeds the people. It feeds the mind and it feeds the soul. The streets feel it so we never worry about what happens. Its freedom of speech forever and were getting millions off of it. We come from where yall come from. We need the streets, the streets dont need us. Well never leave you. Were trying to lead by example so pardon us if we do make a couple mistakes because were all human and none of us said that were angels. But were all just trying to do better in life. But if any of you n****s try to get in our muthaf**king way were going to mob on you n****s.