by Paul Meara
Harlem sticking together may be the general code, but when it comes to Dipset it’s only a romanticized phrase.
The collective who introduced pink furs, American flag fits, and cosplay block corner drug sales at award shows to the rap world is apparently over after Cam’ron put the final nail in the coffin during an interview with Angie Martinez late last week. The 38-minute back-and-forth fully encompassed what Cam’s been up to — including the start of his Killa Season 2 tour. Fans hoped it would also be him explaining how Dipset is still forever.
After over a year of public bickering between Cam’ron and Jim Jones (which has been going on for much longer privately), Dipset fans pretty much knew their favorite quartet was, at best, on life support. Cam smashed a bottle on it though and told Angie that he doesn’t mess with Jim anymore. He likened The Diplomats’ current standing to The Cosby Show, analogizing, "Theo don't hang with Rudy no more... the show's over."
As a Dipset fan, you can’t help but feel deflated. So many hits, even more moments. You just hoped that when Flea casually said, “We just want you’s to know Diplomats is here / We ain't going nowhere” in closing out “Dipset Forever” he actually meant it.
How disappointed are we though?
After tension consumed the group for years prior, in 2010 they announced a comeback and dropped “Salute” — a decent, yet forgettable single. Last year, the Harlem conglomerate did nearly the same thing. Funkmaster Flex was able to get everyone to reunite, and another tour, in conjunction with music, was promised. But after the songs “Have My Money” and “Do Something” were released, they peaced out. Again.
It’s almost 2017. At this moment, do we really want Dipset to come together for any reason other than to keep a romanticized 2003 version of our hip-hop spirit intact? To see a clashing Cam’ron and Jim Jones onstage together when we clearly know everything isn’t cool between them? Ask Q-Tip how well that worked for Tribe’s attempt at reuniting in 2008.
Musically, what are we missing out on right now? Diplomatic Immunity III? A new Killa, Capo, or Juelz album sprinkled with old feature verses? Lord knows they’re not hitting the studio together with Heatmakerz and Kanye pumping out beats in the background. You say you’d want to hear another Diplomats album, but would you actually pay for it? Cam’ron knows the rap business as well as anyone does and right now, he’s not seeing dollar signs. Look at how Wu-Tang Clan's A Better Tomorrow turned out. It was a big, yet predictable, letdown. Raekwon could barely be in the same room as RZA, and U-God’s suing them as we speak.
I’d argue an evolution of what we’re used to from factions of the group would be better. Cam’ron and A-Trak seem to put out some pretty good work when it’s actually released. 2014’s song and video for “Dipsh-ts”, which features Juelz on the hook, is probably the most encouraging output I’ve seen from them in years. “Oh Yeah” wasn’t bad either.
Cam by himself has also been able to conjure up some pretty good loosies here and there. “U Wasn’t There” comes to mind. Jim Jones’ verse on Dave East’s “Eastside,” sans the slander it subsequently caused, showed a lot of promise especially if he’s ready to drop another solo album. The Kitchen mixtape he dropped earlier this year was average, but simply designed to feed his fans in the intermediary.
For Dipset to have a De La Soul-successful reunion album or tour, the inner circle has to actually enjoy each other’s company. The best we can hope for is a parallel to Thank You 4 Your Service. It’s going to take years before they’re ready for that, and hopefully it doesn’t take someone passing away for it to really get itself in gear. For now, we’ll have to enjoy what each has to offer individually. And I’m content with that.