It’s true-there hasn’t been a heavy hip-hop buzz coming from Uptown Manhattan in a long time. Remember that in the 1920’s Harlem was the Mecca of Black music. But its popularity slowly died down throughout the years as Harlem fell into the hands of the streets becoming one of the most well known ghettos in America. Now with the rebirth of a new Harlem Renaissance comes also the resurgence of rap in NYC’s honorary sixth borough. And who’s leading the way to bring Harlem world and hip-hop back to where it once was? Harlem’s own government officials The Diplomats: Cam’ron, Jimmy Jones,
Freaky Zeeky and Juelz Santana. Face it, 2002 has been Cameron “Cam’ron” Giles’ year. After aligning himself with old-friend/mentor Harlem native Dame Dash and signing a solo deal with the biggest label in rap, Roc-A-Fella Records, Cam and his Diplomat crew have spent ’02 running the radio airwaves and video shows.
It all first started when Cam dropped his third LP, a banger entitled Come Home With Me. The album spurred one of the smash hits of the summer, “Oh Boy,” infectious clever rhymes and hook over a sped up R&B sample produced by Just Blaze. It was on “Oh Boy” that the baby-faced LeRon James a.k.a. Juelz Santana made his biggest Diplomat guest appearance spitting playful lyrics on the song’s second verse. Since then the Diplomats have been on fire ruling the radio waves and mix tapes with their catalogue of unreleased music and freestyles, which only proves what workaholics the guys are. But that doesn’t mean that the Diplomats are a new crew coming into the rap game. “We’re like a movement,” Jim Jones insists. “We don’t like to say crew no more because a crew tends to break up all the time. And we’re not new either.” The Diplomat movement definitely isn’t a new thing. Cam, Jimmy and energetic hype man Ezekiel Jiles a.k.a. Freaky Zeeky all grew up together on the East Side of Harlem. Four years ago the guys picked up the youngest lyricist of the group, Juelz, to make their current roster. Not long after the explosion of “Oh Boy” Cam got his dream-a record deal of his own and on Roc-A-Fella Records. Now, only months later Diplomats Records has finally come to official fruition. With Cam’s second single, “Hey Ma” big on the charts the Diplomat Records movement is ready for war with Co-CEO’s Cam and Jimmy, President Zeek and Jules as the V.P.
Enter Diplomatic Immunity, the first album off of Diplomat Records. Diplomatic Immunity is a “combination of all our skills and has on it appearances from many of our Dip Set fam besides just the four of us like Hell Rell,” Cam’ron tells. “I think I have an ear for talent. I think I can tell who’s hot and who can spit. And we all can. You’ll see this for real on the new album.” And Diplomatic Immunity’s first single “Bout It Bout It” (remix) proves just that. “I bumped into Master P at the airport and since I always liked ‘Bout It Bout It’ I thought it would be cool to do again so me and Jim jumped on it and Master P joined us,” Cam explains of the long-awaited remix of the No Limit classic. The second single “I’m Ready” features the quick-witted lyrics of Cam, Jim and Juelz and prepares fans for the “powerful music” the Dip Set are bringing to the game. With Cam’s flip-flopping clever rhymes intermingled with his competitive nature and Jim’s charismatic style rap and aggressive leadership antics it’s crystal clear that the Diplomat leaders, along with their young gun Juelz and the always extreme Zeek, will be able to take their movement to the next level: international stardom. “I don’t know if the people are ready for us ’cause we taking over the world,” Jim laughs. Diplomatic Immunity intends to prove that the Diplomats have a rhyme arsenal more deadly than any crew repping NYC today. But also that it takes more then a few creative rappers and contagious beats to make a movement. It takes an army full of Harlem soldiers.
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