Inside The Life & Mind of Jim Jones (Play Review)

One of the most common avenues of publicizing a forthcoming release is by having the ever popular album listening party. The current sovereign of Harlem MC’s, Jim Jones along with Damon Dash and J. Kyle Manzay took it one step further and channeled his fourth album, Pray IV Reign (Columbia) through an off Broadway play entitled Hip-Hop Monologues: Inside The Life & Mind Of Jim Jones.

Yes you read correctly, Mr. Capo showcased his acting chops on stage to a packed auditorium of attendees including Dame, video vixen Melissa Ford, supermodel Elle McPherson, Kareem “Biggs” Burke and others.

Held at the 37 Arts Theatre in New York City, the scene was set to present day Harlem, 110th Street, complete with citizens of the community: neighborhood boosters, school kids, working men and women, a game of dice off to the side and everyone’s favorite, the begging crack-head.

Chronicling Jim’s life via “E True Harlem World Stories”, the show began with shots being fired and when fired back, Jim is immediately taken into custody for questioning. Pleading his case over “Pull Me Back” one of the first performances from the album, he soon finds himself speaking with the judge played by civil rights icon Dr. Benjamin Chavis.

He is ordered to complete community service including talking with school children through “How To Be A Boss” and attending a sex addiction meeting proclaiming “Pu**y Is My Medicine” as his defense. Things on the home front became shaky as his girlfriend kicks him out due to his conniving ways. The audience, very attentive, took it all in with amazement on how well Jim and his fellow thespians performed.

Prior to the start of the next scene, Jim took a little tumble to the floor on stage left which was only noticed by those in the first two rows. However he handled things smoothly and proceeded onto the stage with “Shawty Wants To Be A Lawyer”. Video snippets from his soon to be released documentary intervened; which touched on Cam’Ron as well as a remembrance of the late Stack Bundles with “My My My”.

Several other songs were reenacted included “Frenimies”, “Precious”, “Reign” and the play ended with the current single “Pop Champagne” as the cast members and Juelz all did it up on stage bringing the performance to a close.

Many will dismiss Jim as a salty rapper who hasn’t quite popped off like his former cohorts, but you have to give the Bird Gang general credit for a well executed presentation.