In Hip Hop many groups have come & gone. Some groups stand the test of time like “A Tribe Called Quest” & some disappear after minimal success like “Dem Franchize Boyz”. Few groups come in and have a major impact not only on the music side, but as well as fashion and just the “Culture” as a whole. Few groups have accomplished this. Wu-Tang & G-unit are possibly the most famous ones & The Migos are the most recent group to be on this path. One rap group has been lost in their place & impact on the culture. That group is “The Diplomats” or “Dipset” for short.
This article is to shine a deserving light on the group as well as address the major issues that have stopped them from being looked at as the legendary faction they were.
The main members of Dipset were Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Freekey Zekey & Juelz Santana. Cam’ron was already known within the industry for being associated with Mase & Big L throughout the 90’s. But it wasn’t until 2001 when he signed with Roc-a-fella records that the rise of Dipset would begin. With hits like “Oh Boy & Hey Ma” Cam & Juelz separated themselves as a dynamic duo when it comes to making records. This momentum continued with the release of their group album “Diplomatic Immunity”. The group was gaining mainstream success as well as more & more respect from the streets. Juelz was being known as a man you want featured on your single, as we would see when Chris Brown featured him on his debut track ” Run It”. Then he helped Lil Wayne become the most sought after artist in the mixtape game with their long rumored (but never coming out) “Can’t feel my face” mixtape.
Cam rode the wave of success into film roles in movies like “Paid in Full”, features with Mariah Carey, creation of his & Jimmy’s own label “Diplomat Records” as well as several other albums that have earned him a spot as one of the rappers with the most longevity seeing that he is still relevant in the year 2017. (Purple Haze, Killa season & Crime Pays) Not to mention him being one of the only rappers to feud/beef with Nas, Jay-z & 50 Cent.
Nobody will ever confuse Jim Jones as the most lyrical rapper, he is credited as being one of the artists who changed the way we listened to rappers adlibs in tracks. When he dropped his hit single We Fly High, he had everyone yelling out “Baaalliiiiiiiiin”. He helped put an emphasis on what rappers were saying outside of the bars. “Gooniieeees” being one of his more famous ones.
Cam’ron & Pink. Do I need to say more? At the height of his stardom in 03 Cam by himself popularized men wearing pink. No other artist let alone rapper would dare accessorize themselves in all pink attire but Cam was always seen wearing pink & took it so far that he bought a pink Range Rover. His fashion prowess doesn’t stop there either. In 2014 during the Ebola craze, Cam sought to profit while keeping his community safe by making and releasing fashionable Ebola masks.
Jimmy did even better with the fashion. He doesn’t get credit for this but if you were around you know that through 2007-08 Jimmy was the first rapper doing the “rock star” look that is still popular today. He was the first rapper to start consistently wearing ripped jeans, with chains & tight shirts. Today’s Hip Hop scene most rappers want to be “rock stars” or at least dress that part, & that could all be attributed to the man known as Capo.
As ugly as this period was there was a time from about 07-09 when it was extremely popular in Urban fashion to have Hip Hop versions of cartoon characters on your shirts. Juelz was one of the biggest beneficiaries of this as he was one of the main faces for a clothing called Lot 29 that specifically used Looney Tunes characters.
Even though Rapper “The Game” was heavily involved in it & rappers like “Lil Wayne” started repping it hard. I know in Toronto & New York the rise of the Blood culture started from Dipset. The crew wore the affiliation like a badge of honor, often saying words associated with the gang like suwoop.
Beyond that, at the height of the notorious “Stop Snitching” campaign. Cam was interviewed on 60 minutes about the movement, where he infamously stated that if a serial killer lived next door to him he would probably just move but wouldn’t call the cops. Contributing to the ever growing distrust of the urban community and the cops.
In 07 rumors circulated about issues between the bosses Cam & Jimmy, gas would further be put on the flames when Jim & Juelz showed up on stage with 50 Cent right when Cam just started a feud with him. This put a strain on their relationship, which continued once Cam sold Juelz contract to Def Jam while Jay-z was still President over there & the group was in a feud with him.
Jimmy had his own issues when his artist Stack Bundles, causing a rift between his other major artist Max B that led to them having a falling out that is still prevalent today.
The group has since reunited & have dropped a few singles together but have still not released a full length mixtape or album since reuniting back in 2010.
All & all Dipset will forever be remembered as one of the most enigmatic, controversial & beloved groups of all time. Their run from 2002-07 give or take was memorable. They changed fashion, mixtapes, feuded with some of the best the game has had to offer. Broke several new acts from the aforementioned king of the wave Max B to producers like AArabmuzik. They popularized sayings like “no homo” & “pause”. Their impact is still felt in Hip Hop to this very day. Although they are no longer as popular as they once were, & kids of today probably have only heard “Oh Boy”. I felt it was a must that they get the love they deserve.
So Cam, Jimmy, Freekey, Juelz. All the way to Hell Rell, JR Writer & 40 Cal to name a few. We would like to say Thank You.
And I’ll leave you with the greatest photo ever taken at The Grammy’s.