New York, NY – As a member of the Diplomats, Jim Jones became a household name in the early 2000s. He carved out a successful solo career following Dipset’s reign at the top but took some time to grow his business ventures, including Vampire Life clothing line, his CAPO-Saucey Farm and Extracts collaboration and his ownership of the Richmond Roughriders, a football team in the American Arena League.
Jones was always known as the livewire, hype man of Dipset in his younger days. He was loud, brash and fiercely loyal to the crew, but he also found himself in situations detrimental to his career. There were several run-ins with the law and the “We Fly High” rapper found himself having issues with other lyricists and their crews.
These days, Jones is 43 years old and no longer the aggressive, ticking time bomb he was 20 years ago. He’s assumed the role of the seasoned veteran who’s entering a new chapter in his career, one that involves revitalizing his rap career and establishing a business that sets him up as one of the promising entrepreneurs in Hip Hop.
With that, he has to be wiser in his decisions and won’t make a move without consulting his day-to-day team. HipHopDX got the chance to observe this new side of Capo as he made his way to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to celebrate the late A$AP Yams at Yams Day 2020.
A typical night of work for Capo and his team starts at one of their meet-up spots in Harlem, where members of the crew arrive before the rapper to make sure everything is going as planned. Jones’ road manager Pone is getting on several phone calls to lock in rides from Harlem to Brooklyn, while other team members such as Jones’ security Dud and photographer Flee gear up for the night of work ahead of them.
As soon as Capo’s car pulls up, everyone gets into a vehicle and heads to the destination. Upon their arrival, Jones shares a word with A$AP Rocky while his team snaps into action making sure everything is still running smoothly. His team moves like a well-oiled machine amidst the chaos with other artists and their entourages checking in with security. “This is every day, this is regular to us,” Jones tells DX as he walks through the Barclays corridors.
Inside his green room, Jones is talking to members of his crew along with his son Pudy and nephew Antoine, who are soaking up all the game that’s being dished around them. As other rappers walk in searching for their rooms, Jones emerges from his room to chop it up with some of his friends in the industry.
He shares a brief conversation with 2 Chainz and Young M.A then hands them a few of his CAPO pre-rolled joints before posing for pictures. As he walks around the common area, Jones links up with other rappers such as Sheck Wes and Casanova while marketing his CAPO brand to his peers.
Years ago, Jones would have been the loudest in the room, letting everyone know Dipset was in the house but these days, he’d rather build and connect with the new generation of Hip Hop artists.
Once it’s time for Jones to perform, the veteran artist goes into a zone where he says a quick prayer and focuses on his upcoming set. The backstage area is a madhouse with artists and entourages scrambling to make their way through the tight walkway, but Jones is sitting quietly on a crate with his team standing close by waiting to take the stage.
As the opening hi-hats of his 2006 single “Certified Gangstas” ring through the speakers, Jones emerges from the curtain and 17,000 fans scream at the top of their lungs.
Due to the number of artists performing, Jones performed only two more songs (“We Fly High” and “Salute”) while also giving tribute to the A$AP Mob and their fallen soldier. Once his set is over, Capo reverts to his cool and collected self and walks with his team out of the Barclays as if they had a good day at the office.
The night ends with a family-style dinner at Brooklyn Chophouse where Jones and his team take a breather from the hectic schedule. Even though it’s supposed to be a time of leisure, Jones is still having talks with members of his team about the agenda for the rest of the night. The only thing left for Jones to do is trek to the studio and log in the hours for his upcoming album.
Since his sixth studio album Wasted Talent dropped in 2018, Jones has been showing his doubters there’s more to him than just the rowdy firecracker they were used to in the past. “I refuse to be told I can’t do something,” Jones says before taking a long deep pull of his joint.
DX spoke with Jones following the dinner about the secret to his success and longevity, stepping deeper into the business world, Dipset’s impact, connecting with the new generation, his upcoming album and more.
HipHopDX: You’ve revived your music career and grown your business ventures from the ground up. What is the secret to you still being a force within the Hip Hop community?
Jim Jones: Hard work. Being determined and being dedicated. Not taking no for an answer. I refuse to be told I can’t do something. Every time I had an opportunity, I grabbed it with both hands. I tried to be smart and make calculated moves. There’s a lot to it. Pray, luck, being at the right place at the right time. Being able to know the right people and being aggressive at times. Being humble at times.
HipHopDX: You have over 20 years under your belt. What does longevity mean to you?
Jim Jones: Longevity is being able to persevere and reinvent yourself. Staying relevant in a time where the music is changing. It seems to be getting younger and the sound of it is changing from what we have known in the past era and things like that. I’m keeping up with the times and to still be known in this younger generation is great. It’s a testament of all the hard work I’ve been putting in and seeds I’ve been planting.
HipHopDX: You’ve achieved and lost a lot in these 20 years. What else is there for you to do or prove?
Jim Jones: At this point, I’ve been told my music is aging like fine wine. I guess it’s time to open up a couple of bottles and see what the wine tastes like. It’s not over. Let’s have a wine tasting test. But you know, music is a passion of mine. I’ve been doing it for so long and I’ve been getting kind of good at it lately [laughs].
HipHopDX: Is that what you’re doing with this upcoming album? Giving your listeners that fine wine?
Jim Jones: That’s the funny thing. I’ve been doing music and I’ve got a bunch of dope records. I don’t think the direction that I’m looking for has come yet, but the records are dope.
HipHopDX: You were telling some dark stories on El Capo. What are you talking about on this new project?
Jim Jones: Every album is a different experience. There’s a thin line that I always kind of tiptoe on but for the most part I give every album a different experience and I just go through them. As a different theme, different feel, time of my life, what I’ve been through the last few years. You got to live to do music. My music is about real life, my past up to my future and what’s going on in my present and things like that. That’s what reflects in my music. Right now I have just been running around living and enjoying life and it’s starting to reflect in my music. I’m starting to feel good about the direction I’m going in.
HipHopDX: One thing we notice about you living your life is the reinforced bond you have with your Dipset brothers. What’s that relationship like these days? People remember you guys being at odds.
Jim Jones: Everything is lovely, man. Free Juelz Santana. He’s away at school right now, you know, working on himself. He’ll be back out stronger and smarter. We can’t wait for him to touch down. It’s going to be a party. Shout outs to Cam’ron and Freekey Zeekey. It’s a brotherhood. If you had any brothers, you know brothers go through ups and downs. But for the most part, we’re all brothers. I love my niggas to death and we’re on the same page. It’s good and it feels good.
HipHopDX: People have been talking about a Dipset biopic for some time now. Who do you think should play you in the film?
Jim Jones: I don’t know. I would probably pick the dude that played in the Central Park Five Netflix movie. The Spanish dude.
HipHopDX: You mean Jherrel Jerome?
Jim Jones: Yeah, I would pick him.
HipHopDX: Speaking of reinforced bonds, are you open to fixing your fractured relationship with Max B? Cam gave him a verse on his EP and Max returned the favor for Purple Haze 2.
Jim Jones: Everybody is their own man. What Cam does doesn’t affect what I do. I don’t see that happening right now, you know?
HipHopDX: Rappers and their crews are becoming more business-orientated these days. One person that was business savvy was A$AP Yams. What was your relationship like with him?
Jim Jones: Yams was my intern. I put Yams in the music industry [laughs]. I used to do a lot of crazy things to Yams — like tie him up, kidnap him and things like that [laughs]. But Yams was smart. He understood the game at a young age. It was just him putting that work in from being an intern to studying what the younger generation needed to creating one of the best groups of individuals that are pushing the culture right now, which is A$AP Mob.
HipHopDX: When you see how well-respected Yams’ business acumen was and how legendary he is for what he did. Do you want to see the same for yourself in your business ventures?
Jim Jones: It’s all about the business for me. There wasn’t anything left but the business. It’s 90 percent business and 10 percent talent. That’s what they told me so I try to make sure that I stay on top of my business for the most part. You can’t be stupid in this game. If you be stupid you ain’t going to last and I been here for a minute doing this.
HipHopDX: Looking with how involved you are with your businesses, were there any lessons that you learned first coming into this rap game that you carry to this day in the business world?
Jim Jones: You get what you negotiate and not what you deserve. This game is all about black and white. You have to know your business. If you don’t have it down on paper, no matter how talented you are or how great you are at what you’re doing, if you don’t negotiate your right price then you won’t get what you deserve.
HipHopDX: Why’d you decide to go back on Love & Hip Hop: New York as a guest?
Jim Jones: It was a lot of things behind that but mostly business. A lot of things but time changes everything. It’s a dope platform to do business on and there is no bigger form of advertisement than them being on the screen. There’s a lot of reasons why I did it. I have my own ulterior motives and shit like that. But for the most part, the business stands in front of everything and my wife wanted to, well she didn’t want to, they called her, and it made a lot of sense. A lot, a lot of sense [laughs].
HipHopDX: With you being a veteran and OG in this game is there any advice you would give the younger generations of artists. Or, is there something you would tell them that you wish someone would’ve told you when you first started?
Jim Jones: There are so many things I wish somebody would have told me like paying my taxes [laughs]. Yeah, I wish they would have told me that when I first started. I would have had a lot of fewer headaches.
HipHopDX: You and Dipset have influenced a lot of artists, especially in New York. Is there anyone, or group, you see yourself in?
Jim Jones: I wouldn’t say any particular group but there are a lot of individuals that I see remnants of myself and the Dipset. It’s dope to see that we made that much of an impact on this culture that even the new generation takes bits and pieces of our page and puts it with their little mix and things like that you know? We’ve done so much and just to watch it is so dope.
But you know there’s a lot of people and we all see it. But it’s dope though. As I’m getting older and seeing that I’m still leaving a mark and an impact that’s present right now that’s still running and kids still love and shit like that, come on. I was able to go do Yams Day bro and those are all young kids in there. They knew my fucking music, they knew what was popping. You got to love New York and shit like that. Dipset has been putting on for a long time and the city has been putting on for us and it’s even-steven. I love my city.
HipHopDX: Do you have any fears with connecting with the younger generation?
Jim Jones: No, I don’t worry about connecting with the younger generation because I love the younger generation. If you know anything about me that’s one of the things I love doing is to help the younger generation. You can’t have a good future without guidance and we all need guidance one way or another. They think I’m pretty drippy [laughs]. It’s like I’m a cool dad and I understand them.
HipHopDX: When it comes to your lasting impact and the last thing you want people to remember you for, what do you want that to be?
Jim Jones: That I gave more than I took. You heard? I give more than I take. It’s simple, you know? I got a big heart. If you know me or you know any of my loved ones around me or even sometimes strangers, they get to witness that big heart a lot and I like to give. I’ve got so much in life and I’ve been to so many places and I’ve been so blessed and so fortunate. The only thing left for me to do is give and make sure my family is good and make sure my son doesn’t have to worry about anything you know?
Catch Jim Jones over on his Instagram @jimjonescapo and check out his most recent offering El Capo down below.