Jim Jones - Vampire Life III (Mixtape Review)

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"Vampire Life III" is a rehash of what we already know about Jim Jones, albeit one that has its moments where it can get your head nodding.

 

Jim Jones - Vampire Life III (Mixtape Review)  DX Consensus: “Just A Mixtape”

Like it or not, Cocaine/Hustler Rap has become one of the most popular segments in Hip Hop during the last decade. And one of the primary faces of the subgenre in the new millennium has been Harlem’s Jim Jones. Even with all of the “Love & Hip Hop” drama and previous rifts with fellow Dipset affiliates Cam’ron and Juelz Santana, Jones has kept his brand alive through the Vampire Life mixtape series and continues to do so with Vampire Life III.

Much like wildly successful mixtape series’ from the past like Gangsta Grillz, Dedication and Dreamchasers, Jones has found in the Vampire Life saga a lane that he can exploit to the fullest and is keenly aware that his core fan base will support him when no one else cares to listen. By staying fixated squarely in his lane of braggadocious, Harlem Trap Rap—focusing his energies on blowing money fast, ducking police, loyalty amongst his homies, endless groupie love and the one-eye-up life of a hustler—Jones is smart enough to know that he can’t and shouldn’t stray from the sound that got him to the position he’s in now.

The production on Vampire Life III is what melds it together as a whole project, interchanging between the sparse and the scant of 21st century Trap Music production to the more cinematic and layered tunes found in New York Hip Hop. Though not very inventive or risk-taking, it’s at least supremely tailored for the environment that Jones is trying to convey and the stories he tells. It’s rugged and dark without sounding stuck in a time warp of the “We Fly High” era. It’s menacing and threatening but still cocky and boastful enough to warrant listeners having fun with it. You can hear it all over “Go DJ”—a simplistic drum pattern with a stripped-down, a plinking melody, coupled with a repeatable, call-and-response hook. It’s a formula that’s worked to perfection for Jones in the past and will more than likely allow for him to keep releasing music in mixtape form for at least a few more years.

In the realm of lyrics and subject matter, the first couplets on “Go DJ” pretty much sum up all of Vampire Life III:

“They drinkin’ rose but they ain’t pourin’ liquor out / Let’s not forget what all my real niggas about / Make money, drink rose, piss it out / Fuck hoes, kick ‘em out, Lord knows you missin’ out…” By now, Jones has become a seasoned vet and a grand master at the dope boy flow, giving the fans exactly what they want from what his skill level will allow. Jones’ comfort zone includes accounts of run-ins with the law, clapping back at rival hustlers, cooking coke, surviving the streets and avoiding the bing for another day. Frankly, the topics of Jones’ rhymes become extremely monotonous, but only if you go into listening to Vampire Life III truly expecting more from Jones than he’s already given us on previous outings.

But there are a few tracks that set themselves apart from the horde. “Young ‘N’ Thuggin” is an aggressive, pounding therapy session where Jones and his guests Trav and Philthy Rich let loose on their absentee father issues and the dire consequences. And, for at least a moment, Jones is actually outshined on his own track by these hungry upstarts. Just two songs later, “Boyz N Da Hood” intersperses a staggering staccato drum sample with an engaging and bleakly rough backdrop. And Jim Jones fuels a certain sense of hopelessness and lost loyalty by sampling Ice Cube’s voice from the hood classic of the same name while urgently raising his voice and spitting one of the best lines on the entire mixtape, “My memories is like a cemetery / Havin’ distant memories of men I buried…”

And “Summer,” Vampire Life III’s shortest track, sees Jones flipping the word lyrically to talk about how unforgettable summer in New York can be, but also how the street life can eventually catch even the best hustler off guard. Again, nothing we haven’t heard before, but an interesting moment in an otherwise pedestrian offering from Jimmy.

As an artist, Jones’ strengths have always been his personality, his I-don’t-give-a-fuck mentality and an ability to revel in the best and most audacious of the Rap game/crack game lifestyle. Capo does all of this while conveying that message as straightforwardly and as basically as possibly on a record. These factors have always helped to trump Jones’ sometimes-limited skills as a lyricist and repetitive subject choices. That’s what made him viable and popular on previous albums like On My Way To Church, Hustler’s P.O.M.E. and with the first two Vampire Life mixtapes. He does this to the fullest throughout this offering.

At the end of it all, Vampire Life III is a rehash of what we already know about Jim Jones, albeit one that has its moments where it can get your head nodding. It’s pretty much in line with what’s to be expected from Harlem’s Capo. If Jim Jones has done nothing else with the latest in the Vampire Life series, he’s kept his name alive in his particular Trap Rap niche to the demographic that continues to support his music and has given his fans more to feast on and ride out to as they wait on his next major release.

11 Comments

  • Elias Olais Savati Jensen

    I am usually not a fan of trap musik, but Jim jones lyrics are much better than 2 chainz, lil wayne and anybody else that does the genre. he has developed a lot since his first album and the VL series are some of the best mixtapes I have heard along with Troy ave BIMBP 3, fabolous the soul tape an styles p ghost sessions. part 2 is the best so far but I like this one better than the first

  • Vincent $vc$ Cromer JR

    Yeah man, I think my iPhone Needz Jim Jones, check this out, my iPhone: 'Gets-it How-its Lives' All the more reason to get away from Country-Ass-Niggas... Why did someone tell someone else, where I am not from??? Tales of the iPhone in the Maryland Hood for Niggas Search Broadcasted by some Non-Rapping Ass-Niggas!

  • stop this

    i dont need to listen to know this sucks ..... review KEVIN GATES

  • JUICY J

    Jim (dipset) were 3 six mafia affiliated in the past(sizzurp drank). like bun b said on jims first album "Im dip-set affiliated and you can hate it or love it". thats back when they were tight with T.I. Busta rhymes loves DIP-SET and the whole huge crew extending to Busta's affiliation with cam'ron brother Freakt Zekey. You see, alot of people are down with jim and the old dips man. thy are the realest popular gangsta rap crew and most of them have done time. 50 cents mistress reported that he was concerned when he was battling cam because cam was down with real gangstas for years like his friend BiG L, you see the dips are respected by people who know the deal. oh, and Cam used to sell dust to wu-tang (true story) and you think Raekwon is a cocaine seller?? You see jim is a real dude and his albums are all on point. he's prolific, relavent and entertaining. paid his dues. everybody in the rap industry loves him like young jeezy said in 2006 -"man jim is the realest ,he like, im here man what?". Jim makes good albums with great production and his VL mixtapes are all basically solid albums.

  • SP D-Block

    I did like sum jones albums but he aint put out shit worth checking in years. One the worst studio gangsters around he reminds me type nigga talk mad shit when he got his boys round to save his ass but u catch him dolo that nigga be shook he really tries to convince people hes a real thug too

  • Kenny

    The cover looks more like one of the pixies from the Harry Potter series than a vampire.

  • Anonymous

    niggas is like 40 still trying to milk that vampire shit

  • Anonymous

    Ye like the others said not as good as the other 2. only had it in my itunes for a day and haven't listened to it since.

  • poppa large

    not ass good as the first 2 which were 4/5. this to me is a 3.5 but worth having. about 4 filler joints then 5 really dope tracks then the rest is tight but average. over all a dope album/mixtape.

  • t-money

    I heard this album and was sorely disappointed. jim, I thought you were better than this. first time I heard certified gangsters, I was in love with your music. then came balling, and since then it's been downhill from there. from your bland production to your clich hooks and subject matter, dog, I could not be more let down than this. I give this tape a 0.5/5