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Jim Jones is a legend in the rap game. Comes from humble beginnings, the artist has become one of the most well-respected in the industry. While mainstream fans may recognize him from his timeless hits “We Fly High” and “Pop Champagne,” the real ones were around since day one for the rise of The Diplomats alongside Cam’Ron, Freekey Zekey, and Juelz Santana.
Beyond the music, Jim Jones is a television star, entrepreneur, and now weatherman. If you follow him on Instagram, you’ve probably seen his hilarious, iconic weather reports — serving as pure entertainment to his 2.4 million followers. Now, he’s taking the weatherman role to the next level by partnering with REVOLT to debut his new weather report show.
When it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement, he’s been using his voice to push for change by recently released a socially conscious record titled “The People,” as well.
REVOLT caught up with Jim Jones to discuss his reunion with Juelz Santana, getting his own weather show on REVOLT, and changing the game with his Quarantine Studios sessions. Read below.
How was your workout earlier?
Workout was good. I actually got to workout with Juelz. He just came back home. We live in the same neighborhood, which is dope, so I go around the corner and work out with him. I’m about to get him with a good workout regimen since he’s home.
That’s so fire. How was the reunion?
The reunion was love, I missed him. I’m glad he’s back. He’s ready to get back to work, ready to get back to music. He’s excited to be back home with his family. It’s good to have him back.
Was he ready for the Jim Jones workout regiment?
He definitely was ready for it. He definitely was happy when we pulled up on him. He’s been in school doing his own little fitness thing, so he’s been prepared. But, we’re taking him to a whole ‘nother level.
When did you first come up with the idea for Quarantine Studios sessions?
Quarantine Studios is a platform I’ve been using during the pandemic to make money for myself as an artist. With everything being closed, we’re not able to do shows or hostings, the backend has dried up. Trying to think outside the box and get some money on something I know how to do, so I bought a studio for my house. I set up Quarantine Studios offering features, hooks, bars, dub plates, birthday shoutouts, business posts. I have a layaway plan for artists who want to get a feature, whose finances are not where they want to be. They still have the opportunity to get a feature from Jim Jones. Just being on the computer and learning new things, seeing how everything is running.
I was on the app Houseparty with Meek Mill — seen he’s recording with his engineer on a program in his house, but his engineer wasn’t there, which is dope. But, it’s a pricey program to get. My engineers figured out how to crack the code by using Zoom and adding an attachment. Turns into a virtual recording studio where my engineer can be in Atlanta and I’m in New York, we can record real records in real time. I had Yung Berg (Hitmaka) on there the other day making records. I can invite who I want to, it’s like we’re in a real studio. Virtually on the Zoom, I can invite 20 to 30 of my closest friends. I want them to come to the studio, hang out and watch me while I record.
This is genius!
This hasn’t been done on this side of the music industry yet. I don’t even know if Zoom knows they have the capabilities of doing that. I created something inside of that Zoom that’s going to be the future of recording for the whole music industry, not just for rap. Country, rock and roll, it doesn’t matter. There aren’t many studios that are open. The few studios that are open aren’t as accessible as you’d like because so many artists are trying to get into a studio to record. This is a way for labels to make sure their artists can record efficiently and not worry about the headache of “where are we sending the artists to record?” Do everything they’d normally do when they go to a big studio.
Is it the same vibe as real life?
It’s a great vibe. Knowing everything going on, this is as close as possible you can get to your homeboys without being in the studio. The other night, I had a few people in there. I’m not saying no names, but for some reason, he had some strippers in his house. Now in my studio, I got naked bitches in the studio while I’m doing music. It turned into a stripper fest. My other man got a studio, he called strippers over there like “I got strippers too!” I got three screens with strippers on them. I got one dude in the club in Atlanta, it’s great. It’s dope, the next best thing to being with your friends without actually having contact with them. It’s comfortable. I can tell them, “Hold one I’m going to make a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Be right back!” It’s pros and cons to it, but it’s definitely the next wave of recording for any artist. Period.
You’ve had Hitmaka, Swizz Beatz, Meek Mill, Cam’ron, Jadakiss, Fat Joe...
A few people have been popping up. I had Swizz pop up, Hitmaka, A$AP Ferg, Meek, Main. I had a bunch of my record executives. Yesterday, I did a song for Rage Against the Machine.
What?! That’s legendary!
On Quarantine Studios! They were in the studio with me. I did a song for Rage Against the Machine. They’re doing a reunion, they hadn’t been together in 13 years. For some reason, Jim Jones is one of their artists’ favorite artists. They got me on a track, that was pretty f**king dope. It blew their mind the way they saw me do the record while they’re there with me, but all in their house. The technology we put in front of them was so trippy for them. It’s a good tool. I want to make sure everybody knows this is the next level for us artists.
Are you stamping the name as Quarantine Studios?
Yes, the whole business is Quarantine Studios. That’s what I’ve been tagging it as, making flyers as. Currently in the works of getting the legal name, but it’s a lot of words they choose to say are “normal.” Too much normalcy, so you can’t really use that. Hopefully I get the name registered, then it’s off the races.
It’s dope, I don’t get excited about too much. Twenty years ago, I was the one who introduced Timbaland [to] this thing called a MBox. Mbox made it capable for us to record inside the comfort of our own home. Now when you see all these young kids who got a studio inside of their house, I’m 100 percent responsible for that. I asked the engineer who used to engineer for me and Cam, “Is there a way for me and Cam to record while we’re on the road without going to big studios all the time?” The engineer said, “Yeah, the rock n’ roll artists do it all the time. It’s called a Mbox, I’ma show you exactly how they do it.” I took that MBox around the country with me. I showed DMX, Busta Rhymes. Remember this is the year 2000 — to the point that Roc-A-Fella cut off their studio recording budgets and bought everyone of their artists a MBox and a computer so they can record their music wherever they’re at. It helped them out. Twenty years later, I’m doing the same thing. I want people to know I’m responsible for this whole loophole that we found.
How much is a Jim Jones feature?
It depends. I try to get $10K from artists, they come back with their rebuttal. Sometimes, I might take a $6K, a $7K, or a $10K. Sometimes they only got money for eight bars, I might charge a n*gga $4K for eight bars. They might say, “I just want a hook,” I might charge them $5K for a hook. I got a guy that paid for a verse by layaway. For the past three months, every week he put $300 down. He owes three more payments, but I told him don’t even worry about it. He only paid for four bars, I gave him a whole record. It blew his mind because I respect his grind.
Putting something on layaway has a lot to do with a man’s pride. That means you’re real hungry about your art. Artists try to find a loophole trying to get money, but a lot of artists are too prideful. In two months, I made over $100K off of Quarantine Studios on the weekend. I don’t even go hard. That’s $600K in a year sidebar from whatever else I’m doing. I sat down with Juelz, he’s setting up his. He’s letting me do the whole Quarantine Studios for him. I’ll put the picture up for him, same thing I did for myself and run it the same way for Juelz. Hopefully I can get five to 10 artists to come on board with me. We can make a real big impact showing them how to virtually record music and make money off features.
I put a post up the other day, my engineer and I have a new component of Quarantine Studios where you can pay for a virtual recording session. You can contact my engineer, pay for an hour’s worth of recording sessions because there’s no reason for him to be on a Zoom studio session with you for five hours. You can rent the studio session, $200 for the hour. Get your record done in an hour, mixed down. Boom you’re out of there.
Talk about teaming up with REVOLT for the weather show.
REVOLT has the first season of the weather report... we’ll be live. Up and running.
How did that happen?
I was supposed to do a deal with iONE. iONE owns Bossip and 17 other websites. I actually was going into trial production a week before the pandemic hit. I went to the studio, we did it, then they shut everything down. It put a damper on it. The person doing that over there ended up over there at REVOLT and said, “You got a brilliant idea, let’s run the play.” S**t, I’m excited for the weather. The weather is one of the things I’ve been excited to do lately because I know it’s a whole new platform. It’s real weather, real news, but in a way that my people can love and understand it.
When you were starting out doing it on IG, I know it was for fun. Did you ever think it would be picked up for a show?
No, not at all. I did it the first time in Miami during the storms. People said, “That s**t’s so crazy, you should continue doing it.” I did it a few times afterwards on my IG, people kept going crazy. I went up to iONE to do marketing for one of my albums being released, the person said, “If you got any ideas, come by and we’ll run them s**ts up.” I sat down and thought about it. They had me come to the office, I gave them three ideas. He said, “All those ideas are dope, but the weather show is a go! Right now, let’s go.”
My idea is to turn the weather show into a full new show. But, right now, I can start with the weather. I can get into current events on the weather show. For a culture as big as hip hop, accurate news, we never exploited. We had BET back in the day, but that’s mad stuffy. Nobody wants to watch BET news, they got suits on. This is a different way of giving people the news, and an easy way for us to understand it. Nobody else has been doing it, so I don’t think I’m stepping on anybody’s toes when I’m giving people this news.
What does it mean to join the REVOLT family?
It’s great. Besides Puffy being a big brother to me, he’s done so much for the hip hop community, period. He still continues to open doors and not be selfish. He’s a billionaire, he doesn’t have to do half the things he’s doing. When he opened up his own television network, that was so big for our culture. To have me a part of that team, to help me fulfill my dreams and give me a platform to make the weather show work, hands down, that feels dope. Shout out to Puffy, [and] the whole REVOLT team. I’m ready for it.