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  • Writer's pictureMalcolm Williams

Don’t Sleep #16

Jim Jones - El Capo

Let me tell y’all out the gate that I’m a Jersey kid who grew up on Dipset and Jim Jones like it was mandatory. So if I come off overly excited, I am son. Now that that’s out the way I want to tell y’all that my adoration of Dipset is not the reason El Capo is one of my Top Three albums of 2019 halfway through the year. When I heard Jimmy was signed a management deal with Roc Nation in 2017, there was a clear feeling of “oh Jim really finna get it popping again.” Just because I don’t know anyone to sign to that team and be lacking musically. So when Wasted Talent dropped in April of 2018 it was confirmation for me. Then I was hearing that talk about El Capo coming. The Joe Budden Podcast crew joked about Rory’s excessive reactions of enjoyment of the album but I know Rory’s ear to be great so I got excited for El Capo instantly. I want y’all to know something real quick if y’all haven’t heard the album stop here and go live with it a little while then come back so y‘all understand my love and appreciation for this Tape.

The HeatMakerz and Dipset was like watching Lebron and D-Wade on the fast break. Every time they connected it was always exciting, ALWAYS. So when I heard Jim was partnering with them on this project I already knew we getting some crack. As soon as Cristal Occasions come on with that sample and them drums it was like I was a kid sitting on my homeboy Cody’s porch playing ps2 and listening to Diplomatic Immunity again. Jimmy knew we were yearning for this as fans of their run back then. That was how I felt before my nigga started rapping. When he started to go his maturation was evident really quickly. Jim has always been a dope rapper but his lines hit sharper, his pacing is better, the swag is still crazy and in a game where the perception is the older you are, the more you lose those attributes Jimmy is getting better. For him to give us the drug talk, the Faith bars, the super fly nigga bars, and the grown up bars all in a three and a half minute intro and let us know he’s here to get all his shit off. The rest of the album has so much to love about it too.

I’m jump right to NYC real quick just because I haven’t heard too many records that makes me as proud to have grown up on Jim Jones, Fat Joe, and just East Coast Hip Hop in general; in a very long time. When you hear that “ New York City please go easy on me tonight...” the vibe is established, real shit is on the way. I love when the Forty somethings talk about some of the shit they’ve seen and done. “ Crime and the murder rate (that rose up), every time he got a bird and the crack rose up...” at the top of that verse hits extremely hard every time I hear that song. Fat Joe may be one of the most underrated rappers of all time and I may be one of the offenders not speaking as highly of him as I should. It’s rare that he doesn’t perform at a high level on any record and it’s always great to from him. The sound bite of the news speaking on the people we‘ve lost over the years is so well placed but heartbreaking at the same time.

Good Die Young comes right after that and it pulls from the emotion of that sound bite perfectly. When I hear Jim speak on some of the stuff that has and still goes on in our neighborhoods. Like how when we get some money we blow it, like how the cops are waving their guns in our faces and killing us, like how we have all these men and women with talent and no platforms to showcase it. I love those messages from the OGs and it just sounds super dope when it comes from Jim Jones and HeatMakerz.

Maino!!! My absolute favorite song without question is My Era. This is a record that has a very familiar feel to old fans of Dipset but fits perfectly in this era of rap. A melodic hook with some of the best rapping I’ve heard in a minute. I’m gonna go ahead and tell y’all I did not expect that verse from Maino. I’m gonna be honest my knowledge of his catalogue is probably embarrassingly lacking if this is what he’s out here doing. You hear Jimmy get to snapping and go “damn how does Maino follow that?” Then he comes out and just put this record in a casket, set that bitch on fire and elbow dropped that shit. I definitely have to go and check out what I’ve been missing. I’m sorry Maino.

Before I wrap this up I just want to let it be known that a BENNY and Jim Jones album would be a gift from God. Go listen to To Whom It May Concern to see why I say that. That song for me as an OG Dipset fan to hear Jim and Cam rap on a song with two members of a group that I hold to the same prestige as Dipset is so dope to me. BENNY and Conway from Griselda are a big part of the resurgence of New York‘s gritty Hip Hop. When I hear Griselda it’s almost impossible for me to not think of how much I miss when Dipset was just always together. I don’t know if I heard a Griselda album where they aren‘t featured on a record. Its a beautiful sight to see my all time favorite group embrace the new group that gives me the same feeling that they gave me.

After hearing this album I couldn’t help but get excited for when Juelz come home. Jim has been carrying Dipset in recent years and it’ll be awesome to see him and Juelz get back to it again. I’m so proud of Jim for this album right here. For him to be in that discussion of Album of the Year on almost all the platforms that matters is beautiful. This album is proof that aging in Hip Hop should not be feared but embraced. When I talk to fans of Dipset you’d think they favorite team won a championship and that’s an appropriate feeling. This is a win for Hip Hop.

I wanna take some time to thank Jim Jones for giving us the feeling of hope that New York Hip Hop is still very much alive. The HeatMakerz and Dipset are an automatic bucket. I was gonna wait to do this article till the end of the year Best albums of 2019 article series but I couldn’t wait. Thank you for the inspiration Jim.

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