We’re just days away from Christmas, so who better to talk to than the man who created the Hustler’s Holiday playlist with A Dipset Christmas? Jim Jones‘ eyes were glazed from the Saucey Triple OG Kush in his Backwood as he fielded phone calls, text messages, and meetings with future business partners while also answering my questions for our seasonal interview series. Now, one might think it would be rude for someone to be multi-tasking in the middle of an interview but that’s not really the case. A hustler who has made it work in a drought, it would be disappointing to see Jim Jones in his element without his phone going off every few minutes.
From his fitness endeavors, which will apparently include a VampLife Fitness clothing line in the future, to Quarantine Studios, Jim Jones, out of any rapper, has figured out a way to get a bag through the drought. And it’s something he plans to continue doing throughout the new year, especially if in the case his taxes rise. He’s “stockpiled” on music throughout quarantine including collaborative projects with Harry Fraud, Zaytoven, and Scram Jones set to be released back-to-back over the course of 2021.
“I had a lot more time to really sit down and dive into my art as opposed to me just using that as a hustle before. My passion that I have for music has grown tremendously in the years of me doing the music,” he explained to HNHH. One person he has to thank for that is the late Fred The Godson. “Through him pushing me to continue to do music and through him pushing me to push myself to tap into the pocket that I’m into now. And I can say that wholeheartedly. Like, Fred is one of the bigger inspirations I’ve had in his past five years of transitioning to doing the music that people hear me doing now.”
We recently caught up with Jim Jones for our 12 Days Of Christmas interview series where he talked about Fred The Godson, transforming into hip-hop’s Al Roker, Christmas with Mariah Carey, and so much more.
If you missed it, check out yesterday’s interview with Mario Judah.
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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
HotNewHipHop: Yo Jim, what’s going on?
Jim Jones: What’s up bro? How you feeling?
I’m good, bro. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I really appreciate it.
I appreciate you back. What’s up?
What’s been your highlight of the year?
I would say Quarantine Studios is one of my bigger highlights for the year. Just knowing how I started it and where I have it today and where it’s going and where it can go. I’m pretty excited about that. Probably makes me more happy than anything else, The Quarantine Studios.
I know your son’s like engineering for you and stuff. So how’s it been like getting him involved in the recording process?
Shit, anything I could do to have my son involved is a blessing and was a bonus for me. I mean, he’s still his own person. I’m trying to grow him into his own man. So you know, anything that he wants to be involved with me, I’m excited about. So just try to keep him going and further on this legacy that I’m building for him. That’s it.
I know a lot of rappers their kids are often their A&Rs. How often does your son put you on to new music?
Oh, I mean, every time he goes into the shower is — he takes the longest showers in the world. So, he damn near plays a whole playlist and every time he goes into the shower, I kind of listen to his playlist, and every so often I make his playlist. And if I make his playlist, that means that the music that I just put out is pretty phenomenal to make his playlist. So, I gauge it like that.
How have those sessions been like connecting other artists over Zoom calls for Quarantine Studios rather than being in person and vibing out in the studio?
Well, Zoom is just one piece of the other technologies that I put together to get what I want out of it. To find that virtual recording space. Zoom can’t do it on its own, but it’s dope. And altogether it creates Quarantine Studios. And hopefully, pretty soon, I’ll have the full technology [so] I wouldn’t necessarily have to use anyone else’s platform to get my point across. But at the same time, Quarantine Studios is a service provider as a service provider. It’s an artist-to-artist platform. So we just like Uber and Amazon, no different, so, you know what I mean? I’m just here for the people. That’s it.
You’ve just dropped the deluxe of “El Chapo” but before we get into that, you dropped off “The People.” Talk to me about that record.
“The People” was a great record. I mean, in these kinds of times with everything we was going through. RIP to George Floyd, and so many others that lost their life to stupidity by the hands of police. It just felt like something that needed to be done. In the midst of everything going on at that time, I was watching everybody rioting all around the country and I wanted to do my part. And I wanted to be smart about doing my part because I know everybody can’t do the same thing, I want it to be a little bit different and still make sure that I had the same impact. And using my artistry was the best way I could do that.
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You dropped “Election,” as well and added Juelz a verse on the record. You’re talking your shit but you’re also saying some relevant things as it pertains to the future of the country. What was your take on the election? Even now, as Trump attempts to overturn the results.
Hey, man — it’s all a joke to me, man. It’s just like a toilet bowl, man. It’s all a sh*t show, ya heard? So at this point we see what happens in the next four years. I couldn’t, I couldn’t — I don’t have, I don’t have no input on it. The input I do have is things that I’ve seen from the past. People want us to not judge people on their past, but where I’m from, if a person shows you something, you should believe them. And that could go either or, so we just leave it at that.
I know one thing that’s going to happen in the next four years, I’m going to continue making my motherfuckin’ money, you heard? Because the president has never put a dollar in my pocket to make me feel good, at all. So I’mma need a little bit more you heard, especially if they try to raise these taxes. I got to get to the big bag now. Definitely.
There were a lot of polarizing takes on Kamala Harris, especially while she was running for the Democratic leader. It’s a groundbreaking moment because she is the first Black Woman and Woman Of Color of Jamaican descent and Asian descent to enter the office as VP. But I do understand why you’re hesitant based on her history. Could you elaborate a bit more on what you said?
One thing I’ve learned about in my time is to not talk about Black women so I’m going to shut the fuck up and stay out of her way, you heard? I’mma leave that alone. Let’s see what happens in the next four years. I see how it all boils down, you heard? But, you know.
[sighs] I don’t want to get into politics today, man, you dig? But I do commend her for getting a vice-president position because she’s definitely a real Black woman. I can say that, you dig? And she’s done something that has never been done before in history for all our lives. She’s broken some of the biggest barriers there are in our country, period, besides Barack Obama. She has filled that second spot that has never been filled — not only by a black person, but by a female. Got ’em all. So, you know, I gotta tip my hat off for that. Can’t take nothing away from why she seems to be an incredibly smart individual. So, she knows her sh*t. Besides that, I’m not clear about everything else, you dig? ‘Cause I know a lot of people that’s locked up, too, in hands of authority like where she was at once. So just put it like that.
It feels like you’ve really been in your bag, musically, in the past few years. You closed out 2019 with El Capo, dropped the deluxe recently. I don’t want to say you’ve made a “comeback” but it feels like you’re gaining your prominence back as an MC.
Comeback kid. Ain’t nothing wrong with a comeback. I’d rather you say I’m coming back than I fell off, ya dig? [Laughs]. It’s a big difference. It ain’t nothing wrong with coming back, man. I’ve been in his game for a minute. The music is music, but as I got older, it seemed that I’ve found a pocket that I’ve been searching for all my life. And it’s working for me. The deluxe was just — I’ve been working on music for the whole pandemic. I’ve done six albums. The deluxe, Harry Fraud, Scram Jones, Quarantine Studios album, Hitmaka album and Zaytoven album. So, all these are about to come out back to back, damn-near. Every other month. Every other week, it’s going to be a single and a video. I’ve been stockpiling all my music and now, I’m leading off with the deluxe. And we’re going to go into this Harry Fraud around the Christmas season. It’s finna be a hell of a year, starting December [Laughs].
Do you feel more creatively fulfilled doing what you’re doing now in comparison to some of the stuff you did earlier on in your career?
I definitely feel more creative. Definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely, definitely feel more creative. I had a lot more time to really sit down and dive into my art as opposed to me just using that as a hustle before. My passion that I have for music has grown tremendously in the years of me doing the music. And I wouldn’t think it would be so because I was so preoccupied with making the money off music and just using rap music as another tool for me to get another check. And that shit turned into an obsession to prove to myself that I could be just as ill as some of the illest artists to ever touch the mic and I think I’m kind of doing that right now.
With the holiday season coming up, I did want to ask you: where do you think Dipset Christmas stands in the pantheon of great holiday albums?
That sh*t sells every Christmas. Every single Christmas, that Dipset Christmas sells. That’s one of Koch’s number one jewels that we had given them that they make sure they package it up and put it out every Christmas like they do Mariah Carey Christmas Carols. So, you know, I’m a bump that this year Christmas, myself. That was a dope one. RIP Stack Bundles.
“That sh*t sells every Christmas. Every single Christmas, that Dipset Christmas sells. That’s one of Koch’s number one jewels that we had given them that they make sure they package it up and put it out every Christmas like they do Mariah Carey Christmas Carols. So, you know, I’m a bump that this year Christmas, myself. That was a dope one. RIP Stack Bundles.”
I know Mariah also mentioned you guys in her book and then you posted about, and you were like, “Yo Cam, this reminds me of the times we were in Aspen, trying to get back home for Christmas.” Can you tell me a bit about those times?
I mean, well, we had a few dope adventures with Mariah Carey during the time her and Cam were close friends. I’m not saying they’re not close friends now, but, you know. We just was fortunate enough to be in her presence in different places. From Italy, Paris to Aspen and sh*t like that. And one year we ended up in Aspen with her, like the week of Christmas and sh*t like that. And we were young, but we were trying to get back home when maybe we should’ve stayed and spent Christmas with Mariah Carey. We f*cked that up. But you know, life is life. It’s all about experiences and lessons. And we learned our lessons, but we had a great time.
Could you tell me a bit more about the Harry Fraud project? I know you said it’s coming right around Christmas time.
Harry Fraud project is f*cking r*tarded. The deluxe is something sweet. I can not lie, but man, oh man. They asked, is this going to get worse from here? From the deluxe to the Harry Fraud to the Scram Jones, it just gets worse and worse. Sh*t goin’ up and up. I swear to God, like I can’t wait. I’m excited. I’m about to shoot 20 videos back-to-back so I could have all these videos lined up. My objective is to shoot 26 videos for the year so I can put out a single and a video every other week for the whole year.
Who can we expect feature-wise on there?
I got Belly on there. I got Conway on there. I got Juelz and Cam on there. Who else is on there? I hate when people ask me questions on the spot and I start forgetting sh*t and all that. You got Drama on there. I don’t have too much of the features that I would on other projects. I kind of just going dumb on this sh*t by myself. I like the feeling that I’m giving it is a dope feeling. I’m speaking real loud too [Laughing].
In terms of features even like, do collaborations even excite you anymore? Just as an MC right now, it sounds like you have a lot of things you want to get off of your chest.
Depends on what project it is. Some projects you take more personally than others. Other projects you want to get more people involved. You want to get different sounds involved. You want to get, you know what I mean? So you get your features and you get to poppin’ and you get some of their fans and stuff like that. So, it depends on where you’re at and what you’re doing and how the songs get created. And at the end of the day, how you sequence your records and which records you pick. And sometimes you might end up just going solo on a lot of them and sh*t like that, which is nothing, nothing wrong with that at all.
Did you ever think you’d be hip hop’s Al Roker?
Haa! Nah, not at all, man. The weather just happened. Everything that happened with the weather [show] is all a coincidence. Just being in the right place at the right time, starting from when my dude Reggie, that works with me, told me, ‘Since you’re in Miami, you might as well do the weather on the storm,’ and sh*t like that. So I was like, ‘Oh sh*t, that makes sense!’ And then ended up putting it on the ‘Gram. That shit went viral and now I got a show on Revolt.
Also wanted to talk to you about Fred the Godson — a tragic loss in the community. Can you just talk to me about your relationship with him, his legacy and what he meant to you.
Sh*, I’ve known Fred for a very long time. Since he was a teenager freestyling on 145th Street. Our relationship grew from there. The people that are around us, we’ve got a bunch of mutual friends. Maybe, in the last five years, since I’ve been recording at Arsonal Studios, me and Fred’s relationship grew tremendously tight. Kind of a brotherhood we formed through the music.
Through him pushing me to continue to do music and through him pushing me to push myself to tap into the pocket that I’m into now. And I can say that wholeheartedly. Like, Fred is one of the bigger inspirations I’ve had in his past five years of transitioning to doing the music that people hear me doing now. And that goes with him just giving [me] my flowers damn-near every night we’re in the studio and things like that. Coming in being like, ‘That sh*t you did last night was dope. You gotta keep pushing, Capo.’ Or, ‘you got them n*ggas.’ Like it’s, it’s words of inspiration.
For him to be so nice. Like, Fred is extremely nice. He’s probably in the top five of people spittin’ and I cannot lie. Like, the way he puts that music down is a little bit different. And just to hear how he was intrigued with my music and sh*t like that was dope. Especially for where I was at, getting a little older in the game. And they were still in a younger generation. You know, to still be revered in his book as one of the best is dope.
You’ve previously stated rappers have the most dangerous job in the world. In the wake of Benny’s shooting and with the murders of Pop Smoke, and most recently, King Von, and MO3, can you just elaborate on those comments?
We do. I mean, it’s simple. And not to say it like that or put anybody else’s job down. You got people from the Armed Forces, like, ‘I’ve been to war and I’ve been a sniper in three tours,’ and things like that, which is cool. I understand that. But you wouldn’t understand what it is to go outside and be a target for who knows what. For what? For my jewelry, for the life I live, for the sh*t I talk? For whatever it is, you’re a target. And you don’t know who’s targeting you, ya heard? Everybody knows who you are, you don’t know who they are. You don’t know who your enemies are. You don’t know who might be mad at you. You don’t know who might be coming to the club tonight to start trouble with you instead of celebrating with you, you know?
You don’t see half of the things that half of these artists go through. And now that we have social media, all the news comes to you with a click of a button and everybody has their phone out. You are now starting to see a little bit, a fraction of the action that I’m talking about that a lot of artists go through on a daily basis. You people going off what you see on social media. And it might not be enough for you to talk about it, but you don’t see 95% of the sh*t that us as artists go through. Even just going to the f*cking 7/11 to get a pack of Backwoods, it could get nasty out of nowhere, you know what I mean? So, these are the things that people don’t have an understanding of.
And I know that a lot of the artists understand exactly what I’m talking about. Anytime you go outside, you step outside the comfort of your house, it could get interesting for you for being who you are as an artist, period. Doesn’t matter if you project aggressiveness or you project Erykah Badu-ism, you know what I mean? It’s liable to happen to you because you are a person of that stature. So, you know, you can dig deeper and people could debate on it all they want — I’m not gonna debate on it ‘cause I know what I got to go through every day.
“Anytime you go outside, you step outside the comfort of your house, it could get interesting for you for being who you are as an artist, period. Doesn’t matter if you project aggressiveness or you project Erykah Badu-ism, you know what I mean? It’s liable to happen to you because you are a person of that stature. So, you know, you can dig deeper and people could debate on it all they want — I’m not gonna debate on it ‘cause I know what I got to go through every day.”
I know you got the Backwood on deck right now. What are you smoking on currently?
Right now, this is the Saucey Triple OG that I’m smoking on currently.
OG has been a fan favorite forever. When you launched Saucey, were you adamant about having your own strain of OG?
Yeah. OG is the brand that I like, personally. O Gizzle. We make sure we find the proper OG to put it in the m*therf*cking bags and put them in the stores, that’s that.
Has your weed consumption gone up during the pandemic?
I smoke, no matter what it is, I just smoke. I’ve been smoking for years. So I don’t think it’s the pandemic that’s gonna make me smoke anymore. I mean, whether I was inside, outside, I was still going to smoke.
Are you into edibles at all?
Nah, I can’t f*ck with the edibles. Them sh*ts put me to the floor. I don’t need that type of high, I’m not that type of guy. I feel like I’m Pookie ready to jump off the building or some sh*t. That sh*t put me all the way out, ya heard? To the bottom. F*ck that, I’m cool on that. That sh*t had me down for like three days when I was a teenager. I’ve been off edibles since, since like 17, when I was in the Jamaican spot and they gave me some coconut edibles and I thought it was candy and that shit had me wounded for three days. I was like, ‘yeah, yeah, that’s something I’m never ever doing again.’
But there are people that have a tolerance for that. I mean, from my observation, people that like take a Percocets and sh*t like that, they are real good with edibles because they could take that type of high. I can’t, ya heard? I can’t feel no nauseousness or else it’s over. I’m going down. It’s over, ya dig? I don’t need to head spin, that’s not the high I’m looking for. But you know, we sell edibles though. We got gummies. I do f*ck with the Saucey sauce, which is the liquid THC that you’ve can mix with soda, water or whatever it is you would like to mix it with. I do f*ck with that. I put that in with champagne sometimes. I’ll put in a little bit, put a little bit in that champagne. I think it’s just right.
So final question, what could we expect from Jim Jones in 2021?
A lot of business. I’m trying to tap into a lot of business. A lot of Black businesses, also. I’m a fan and I’m a believer in Black and Brown businesses. I do believe we have the capabilities to do and perform as dope as any other brands in this world, you know what I mean? And I’m not saying these are the only things that — but for the most part, I have a lot of interest in exploring more Black brands this year and helping if I can, you know what I mean?