I’m an 80s baby. I grew up in Hip Hop’s classic era but I came of age listening to Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, and the rest of the Dipset conglomerate – or whatever they were. Now, the story is all about whatever they didn’t become – a group with a multimillion dollar deal and an album – and how everyone who was involved now feels about it. This is Black history, family. Why? Because the Diplomats damn near raised some of us. Some of those songs spoke deeply to our struggles, and our triumphs, and we resonate with these men. Watching Jim Jones cry like an abused wife was tough for a lot of us.
If you’re not familiar, here’s the video.
Right. Tough to watch. It’s all emotional. Jim doesn’t hide the fact he’s an emotional guy. And he’s heartbroken about Cam’s neglectful behavior towards the ones he should love and look out for, especially those in the streets. It’s refreshing to watch a street-hardened Black man appear vulnerable like this, but some parts of it are just…ehhh…tough to watch.
And then there’s this:
Cam’ron’s Instagram live appearance was genius. And surprisingly fun to watch. Maybe not surprisingly, because every Cam’ron fan knows this guy can put words together. He’s in this video, doing a press conference live from his crib. In a Polo robe. With his beautiful wife filming. With friends and family around. In a beautiful home. He’s clearly unbothered. This is what makes that abused wife comparison so creepy.
Cam’Ron also makes another great stride in the history of Black men here in America – he too admits vulnerability, accountability, and – as a street dude now in his 40s – looks back on the mistakes he made with clarity. This is important now, as always, because Black men need public models of upstanding Black manhood.
The Jay-Zs and Diddy’s of the world have to be shining examples, and they’re doing pretty damn well, if you ask me. Cam’ron, too, is really living the dream right now. We need to see that. We also need to see how he’s got no hate for anybody. He goes out of his way to level blame. This is all important for us to see, so I’m glad he damn near broke IG with over 45,000 viewers making the whole system freeze and skip so bad people said Jim was calling.
Here’s my take on things. Jim is right. And so is Cam.
Jim feels he gave the best years of his life to Cam, and yet he’s still not comfortable – so he blames Cam even when announcing his new business move. That’s emotional mismanagement, not good business, cause how you gonna make gangster music, now sir? Perhaps emotions are not the best way to go about business. This is a good lesson if we pay attention. Cam’Ron approached all of this as business. He didn’t train any of the others in his personal business model, because that wasn’t his goal as a provider of opportunities. He wanted to see all the homies get rich on their own, and to come together for the sake of a bigger stake – a potential hundred-million dollar check like the Diplomats coulda got – back then. Cam is a shark. He even controlled his own broadcast. I bet he got a check from Pepsi for that can too. But Cam’s failure was neglecting the emotional side of things back then. Jim was all heart, and Cam was all brain, it seems. He did things and didn’t think about those things made others feel. A lot of us are like that. Again, these public admissions are good for us, especially for the former street dudes growing up without examples to follow. These rappers WERE our examples back then. For some of us, even now!
Oh, one more piece of game to consider before I close out – don’t ever ignore the power of Black women! In this story, Black women are very serious factors that may never get discussed properly – as in most of our stories. When Chrissy came into Jim’s life, she kinda stole Jim away from Cam (no homo) and Cam saw Jim beginning to grow distant and do his own thing. When Cam dragged Chrissy into it, he inadvertently made a lifelong enemy – like he said, he never expected her to still be around! Chrissy provides Jim his emotional refuge from all the turmoil he been through, from childhood and ongoing, like it never stopped, if you listen to the stories in the man’s music. Chrissy wants Jim to win, and not with Cam’Ron involved, I’m sure. Cam wants to fix it, but he’s also the kinda guy who don’t care if you’re tripping if he feels like he was just playing. And Cam was the kinda guy who was ALWAYS “just playing.” But everything we do has outcome! Like seeds planted, they’ll bloom one day! So all this was coming to a head anydamnway, and we just got to witness all of it, thanks to the internet. So why not pull some lessons from it? After all, every moment in the Black experience is a moment in Black history – especially if we can learn something from it! At least that’s what I do.