Rakim cleared the air early in his career, that he was not a joke. While the comparisons between Rakim Allah and Mike Jones might end before they start, the Houston rapper most certainly is deserving of more than his peers and critics give him.

Mike Jones ain’t no joke either, just ask him about his grandmother’s love, his rise to stardom, or being one of the only multi-platinum artists you’ll meet, who sat unwillingly on label shelves, while A&R’s arguably picked apart an album, that albeit dusty, has still made significant radio rotations over a year before release.

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On a cold New York day, Mike Jones puts his lunch to the side to talk to HipHopDX in a busy Atlantic Records studio. He talks about weight loss, about his compromised image at last year’s Ozone Awards, and about the influence of his grandmother on his life. Although a minor delay prevented the Ice Age CEO from his then-intent of releasing The Voice on April 14, the anniversary of her death, Mike Jones has a lot more than re-introducing himself in mind with this album.

A little over 20 years ago, some Rap fans had trouble taking Biz Markie seriously too. But “The Vapors” will get you.

HipHopDX: With its rags-to-riches tones and theme of going from undesired to in demand, do you ever compare 2005