Jim Jones: Harlem American Gangster

Jim Jones shows on Harlem’s American Gangster mixtape that he isn’t worried about topping “We Fly High.” Though Jones has attracted his share of controversy from such incidents as challenging rapper Tru Life to a fight with $50,000 at stake, his growth as an artist has been largely overlooked. From his debut, On My Way To Church, to his latest LP, Hustlers P.O.M.E. (Product Of My Environment), Jones has made the transition from a sharp businessman to a burgeoning Rap superstar. While he still has improvements to make, Jim takes a huge step forward on this effort.Harlem’s American Gangster aims for the fences early with the intro track anchored by host Dame Dash. Dash breaks down what truly constitutes a Harlem American Gangster when he says: “A real Harlem ni**a is basically thorough.” The momentum stays up-tempo with an explosion drop and Jim Jones immediately starting to rhyme over the dark, gloomy beat. Capo briefly strays away from Harlem’s American Gangster’s New York feel with positive results on “Stay Ballin.” The studio synthesized beat could easily fit in on any episode of Miami Vice. Jones’ raspy delivery keeps the song from becoming too R & B when he rhymes, “Who else pack pistols?/Collect checks at the end of the fiscal (Executive Don).” The ironic thing about Harlem’s American Gangster is that breakout songs such as “Money Comes & Goes” are nearly overshadowed by Dame Dash’s comical yet insightful interludes. Every time Dash steps to the mic to discuss the Harlem he knows so vividly, one cannot help but press repeat.The mixtape does suffer from the amount of attention Dame and Jim spend disparaging Jay-Z. With the abundance of subliminal Hova disses heard throughout such as “American Gangster”, Jim Jones and Dame Dash should’ve just shouted his name at some point. When Dash says, “How much ni**as really wanna be like a Harlem ni**a. How ni**as run around callin’ themselves American Gangsters” who else could we possibly think he’s talking about? Byrdgang young gun NOE even has the nerve to sound like a Jigga clone on “Two More Blocks.”This flaw notwithstanding, Harlem’s American Gangster can easily be listened to straight through. Jim Jones may not be “the best rapper alive” as the opening drop says, but he certainly up’s the ante for what we should expect from his next LP. SOUNDCHECK: Jim Jones “Harlem’s American Gangster” Jim Jones “Don’t Love Me No More”

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