As a guy from California, it is surprising that I’m a fan of Dipset. Not that many people out here are fans, at least it seems. It’s rare that you find someone that wasn’t just a fan of the hit radio singles.
However, on the east coast, Dipset was a monster. For a period, they were running New York. Shit, they were New York. It wasn’t just the core members (Cam’ron, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones) making noise, the secondary members, J.R. Writer, 40 Cal, Hell Rell, were making noise on the streets and e-streets.
Dipset was hot!
Meanwhile, the West was familiar with Cam’ron, maybe some knew Juelz but that’s it. I know I could be wrong but it feels that way.
Everyone is familiar with Cam.
Whether you heard his music or you heard of him as the rapper that made rocking pink tolerable, you’ve heard of him. His third album Come Home With Me was a big album. It launched him into the mainstream. And this was where I began listening to him. This wasn’t my introduction to him. I had previously heard “What Means The World To You.” I didn’t put one and one together until later. His verse and flow on that there were different than what I heard on CHWM.
It was also my introduction to Juelz.
That exposure plus my early activity on hip-hop message boards in the mid-2000s peaked my interest in Dipset. Their fan base was very present on those message boards that a spin-off forum was created that attracted a large quantity of Dipset fans.
Slowly I started become a fan.
The buzz online for Cam’ron’s Purple Haze was insane! It felt like it was the second coming. When it finally came out in late 2004, that message board felt that it was one of the greatest things in the world.
I, on the other hand, thought the album was: eh! It did give me two great, dope records in “More Gangsta Music” and “Down and Out.” The latter had a banging beat from Kanye West and a bunch of memorable lines/quotables (razor tag).
“Crunk Muzik,” a song found on Jim Jones’ debut album was on DI2. It was on of my early favorite records from them. The song was hot as was the beat. Plus, Juelz delivered one of the greatest lines ever: his spectacular bar. Funny thing about this record, I remember I somehow came across the music video for this on one of a website. I found a backdoor to their directory. I attempted to leak it. I believe I succeeded. Sorry, there’s no proof to it.
I would soon hear “I Really Mean It.” I was blown away. Just Blaze gave Cam one of his greatest beats ever. Cam’s simple yet complex rhymes made the song. With a solid beat in the background, Cam’s rhymes were amplified because of it. Plus, the simplicity of the rhymes made it an easy song to rap along with. Cam delivered a plate full of catchy lines and quotables.
It wasn’t until years later that I finally heard the rest of Diplomatic Immunity and realized how much a dope album it was.
From “Real N—-s” to “More Than Music” to “My Love” to “Bout It Bout It…Part III” to “I’m Ready” to “Who Am I” to “I Love You” the album was fire. I now can understand why many consider this album a classic or near-classic. Dipset was a movement, and this album proved it. Listen to “Dipset Anthem,” the song is appropriately named “anthem.” It’s a monster of a record.
One of the earliest records I really enjoyed was “Crown Me.” That record was hard! T.I. joined Juelz and Cam and delivered one of my favorites records ever. T.I. was a masterful with his slow, smooth flow. Juelz was extra tough but it was Cam who had the show stealing verse. A very fun song to rap along with, shit, who else would brag about spending half a million on a lawyer, or compare a woman to a Suzuki?
Throughout the years, Dipset continued to churn out a bunch of material, some that I enjoyed but a lot that I didn’t.
Juelz would pursue his solo career and a failed collaborative project with pre-best rapper alive Lil’ Wayne.
I finally liked some records for Jim Jones. He ended up linking with Max B and Stack Bundles, which resulted in some good music.
As you can see, I was a fan of Dipset more than the average person on the West Coast. They didn’t receive their admiration over here as much as in New York and the surrounding states did. But good music is good music. One way or another it finds a way to reach many different people from different regions. Shit, I don’t fit the part of Dipset’s core fan base but that’s the beauty of rap, it can reach everyone and anyone regardless of background.
(Photo Credit: Juelz’s Instagram)