Exclusive Preview: “This Is Jim Jones”
This Is Jim Jones official trailer
“What n*ggas can’t do is what I do with my eyes closed” – Jim Jones
Rap fans – if you think you know Joseph Guillermo “Jim” Jones, think again.
In his new, full-length documentary, This Is Jim Jones (directed by Carly Carol), the 33-year-old Harlemite gives fans a rare glimpse into his life of glaring extremes; an existence punctuated by its star’s perennial underdog status.
The chronological order of the scenes is often muddled, but there are ten basic chapters:
Chapter 1 sheds light on Jim’s journey from boy to man. It includes childhood pics, memories from his mother Nancy (addicted to crack cocaine when Jim was young), tales of growing up with Dame Dash in East Harlem, his estranged father’s untimely death from HIV/AIDS, his legendary temper, and becoming affiliated with the Bloods as a teen.
As Dame earnestly tells us he “didn’t expect Jimmy to be the guy I passed the torch to”, we see Jim beginning to build serious relationships within the music industry. We’re then given a glimpse into his business acumen with mention of his ventures at KOCH, Asylum Records and Sony BMG; a closer look however at how he actually worked on and sealed these deals would have been appreciated.
Chapter 2 begins to shed light on Jim’s relationship with Cam’ron. When Jim says “his success was my success”, he means it. It also shows that while Cam was Dipset’s frontman for the most part, Jim was creeping on a come up in many ways, including pioneering the rock-inspired, skull and crossbones-infused fashion look. Jim and fellow Dipset member Juelz Santana discuss their new “splash” movement; when an interviewer asks Jim if he’s running out of it, he replies in genuine shock: “Am I running out of splash? How is that possible? I’m the wishing well!”
Chapter 3 delves into The Diplomats movement, exploring the relationship between Jim, Cam, Juelz and Freaky Zeakey. It focuses primarily on Cam’s original label deal with Sony and eventual move to Rocafella via his relationsip with Dame.
Chapter 4 breaks down Dipset’s tenuous relationship with Rocafella’s kingpin, Jay-Z.
In the film’s climactic moment, the story (from Jim’s point of view) behind Cam’s megahit “Oh Boy” is told. The “Oh Boy” beat (by Just Blaze) was allegedly intended for Jay-Z, and the “H to the Izzo” beat (by Kanye West) was originally promised to Cam’ron. According to the film, Kanye backtracked and gave his beat to Jay. Cam’ron then took the “Oh Boy” beat and murdered it (with Juelz), so Jay decided to jump on it with a feature. Cam heard Jay’s verse, deemed it wack, and made sure it didn’t see the light of day. According to Dame Dash, Jay then made moves to separate himself from his Harlem label affiliates (in addition to allegedly not letting them put their records out and not signing off on their budgets).
Chapter 5 is brief, another glimpse into “Jimmy’s World” – a look at Harlem, Jim recording the album and more.
Chapter 6 is all about “Ballin’”, Jim’s breakthrough single. Angie Martinez talks about the song’s massive success: “At the radio station [Hot 97] we die for records like that.” In this chapter Jim also takes his initial meeting with legendary producer Rick Rubin (held in Rubin’s truck) in Los Angeles.
Chapter 7 is true-to-form Jimmy against his rap foes. It’s called “Byrd Food” because “we start pecking on you n*ggas”, he says. “Byrd ass n*ggas! Jay is a byrd. You’re too old to be doing what you’re doing and you dress terribly” he finishes with a chuckle.
Jim’s “We Fly High” saga with Jay is touched on, with Angie Martinez offering her final thought: “The person on bottom, the underdog, is always going to somewhat benefit from [beef].” Jim’s altercation at Hot 97′s Summer Jam 2008 is also mentioned, as is the death of close friend/rapper Stack Bundles.
Chapter 8 shows Jim and Dame with their adorable sons shopping at Niketown (dropping $3000 in one hit) with Dame telling cameras “This is the reason we fought so hard”. There’s also a scene where Jim is previewing tracks from his upcoming album to VIBE magazine’s Editor-In Chief, Danyel Smith.
Chapter 9, titled “Frenemies”, reverts back to Dipset drama, including Freaky Zeekey’s release from prison, Jim’s unexpected, brief alliance with 50 Cent (“The moves I make are the moves I make, whether n*ggas like it or not”), Dame’s thoughts on Jim and Cam’s ongoing estrangement and Jim’s final thoughts on the situation: “I always told Cam there’d be a separation; deep down inside, I’m just waiting for the get-back”.
Chapter 10 features Dr. Ben Chavis, who preaches that “trials and tribulations are for purification”. Jim speaks on his relationship with his late father and his work to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.
Jim’s closing thought? “I know what I’m hustling for. I’m hustling to get the fuck up out this game.”
This Is Jim Jones drives home the point that regardless of your thoughts on Jim’s talents as a rapper or even as a businessman, his sheer determination and proven success to date cannot be denied.
Jim Jones’ new album, Pray IV Reign, is out March 24 through Columbia Records.