They say its tough love over at Roc-A-Fella Records. Diplomat Capo Jim Jones knows this first hand. After staying behind the scenes to manage everything Dip Set, Jones stepped to the forefront last year as a rapper on the groups debut album Diplomatic Immunity, which he thought would lead to a solo deal with the Roc.
It didnt. Roc-A-Fella execs didnt even approach Jones about signing with the label and the rapper felt it wasnt his place to approach them.
I never stepped to them, Jones told AllHipHop.com. Cause I already did a whole [Diplomats] album and they had to listen to it everyday, so if that there didnt show them what I was doingand it was a double CD, so I felt I gave it everything I had because I wanted to be hot.
Instead, Jones chose to sign with Koch Records, which will release his as-yet-titled debut album later this summer. Going the independent route made more sense to him and his Harlem hustle anyway, according to Jones. I did so much by myself, my own videos, my own marketing, just to get myself out there, he said.
Jones pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps philosophy has been the main reason the Diplomats has become a household name in hip-hop the past few years. He cites Roc-A-Fella CEO Dame Dash and P.Diddy as influences on his business acumen. In fact, Jones sampled a hit from the 80s like Diddy when it came time to promoting his and Camrons latest venture, Sizzurp Purple Punch Liquor.
Camron said, While I was working on my album, [Purple Haze] Jim Jones was making sure the liquor [deal] was straight.
Taking a page from the St. Ides Malt Liquor marketing campaigns that featured 2Pac, Ice Cube and Rakim rapping about the popular beverage, Jones and the Dips put together Sippin on Sizzurp Vol. I: Getting Drunk on Music. The mixtape includes a host of todays rappers performing their own odes to alcohol. You got to copy something to make it great, Jones said of the campaign.
Perhaps that then explains why he and Cam called their concoction Sizzurp, which is the Southern slang term for the mixture of cough syrup and a sweet beverage like fruit punch. Yeah, I stole it from Down South, Jones admitted. But he stated it simply was the first name that popped into his head when he tasted the product, which he described as resembling grape Kool Aid.
The name, however, puts the rapper in the precarious position of defending against criticism from both southern rap acts and a probably rant from Bill OReilly regarding its influence on children.
First of all, kids arent supposed to be able to buy liquor from out the store, so they shouldnt be confused (by the name) anyway, Jones asserted.
And as far as the reaction from the South, he boasted: They love me for that. He then joked, My n***as Down South hit the syrup with the Sizzurp.
Jim Jones solo debut album is due August 10.