NEW YORK Man, those sights of summer. The sun beaming down on the pavement, a lovely lady in a tank top licking an icy to beat the heat, frenzied children running around Harlem's Battleground Park oblivious to the 100-degree temperature and the Taliban out in full force, acting even more rambunctious than the kiddies. (Click for photos from the shoot.)
"140 Lennox/ You know they bout it, bout it/ Taliban, and up top/ You know they rowdy, rowdy" Master P yelled into the camera, with Cam'ron, the Diplomats and members of Harlem's 145 Street Taliban bouncing around him.
P made the trek from New Orleans to New York on Tuesday to appear in the video for the Diplomats' remake of his 1996 classic, "Bout It, Bout It." It's the first single from their upcoming release, Ground Zero, due October 15.
"Killa was listening to 'Bout It, Bout It' and was like, 'This is hot, we gotta do this over,' " said Diplomat Capo Jimmy Jones, who is the co-director of the video along with Marc Klasfeld. "He hooked up with P and put it together. We did our own flavor of 'Bout It, Bout It,' show them how Harlem is. Summertime, lovely video, no theme behind it, it's just a great performance. It's a blessing to have P up here in the city and we gonna thug it out."
"I always liked the song, its hot," Cam, who recently publicly apologized to Nas for mentioning his daughter in a dis freestyle, confirmed a few minutes later. "I seen Master P on the airplane, we pollied it, he was with it. I decided it was time to bring it back."
P, who says the track's chorus and rhymes a few bars as well, said working on the song conjured up old memories.
"It definitely brought some stuff back," P said with a smile. "I'm definitely feeling Cam'ron and I think we got good chemistry together. It's been fun to be here in an environment where kids want to see it. It's gonna be something good for the kids and something good for the streets, showing the different communities hooking up."
And disconnecting the playback machine. Although the people from the neighborhood lined up along the fences, making it difficult to see everything going on in the park, the NYPD could hear the music, which is a no no: The City of New York does not allow music to be played during the filming of videos.
A few minutes before, a police officer came through and told the crew that the playback machine couldn't be utilized or else filming would have to stop. Trying to adhere to the officer's demands, they did a couple of takes of the song with music piped into the mini earpieces of the song's performers, Cam, Jim Jones and M.P.
Giving you the feeling of watching a 3-D video on mute, the Dip Set, Taliban ("They feel like they've been at war on the streets," Cam explained of his affiliates' nefarious name) and M.P. bounced around, but due to faulty wiring, Jones and M.P. couldn't hear the song and were messing up their syncing.
A compromise was made and the song was played at low levels. Fortunately the cops were gone and the scene made its way into the can.
Jones, who also called shots on "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma," said he's improving as a video helmer.
"This is like my third video I directed. Previously, I wrote all the treatments for Cam's other videos," he said. "It's coming out good for a dream of mine. I'm working hard, it's not as easy as you think. Every time I do get on the set, I learn something different and it makes me better for the next set."
The next two sets the Dip Set which also features Juelz Santana and Freakey Zeakey will be on are going to be for films. They have parts in Damon Dash's spoof of the music industry, "Death of a Dynasty," and are planning to shoot their own flick soon.
"We're doing a movie called 'Come Home With Me,' which I'm directing," Jones revealed. "We're supposed to film the movie before the summer's over. It's about our crew, me and Cam and the Dips and our immediate family. It's just depicting a story of how we came up in the 'hood doing regular sh-- like hustling and we made a transition from that to the music. It's similar to 'Bout It, Bout It' and 'Streets Is Watching,' but it's more focused."
The Dips' album features beats by up-and-coming production team the Heat Makers, as well as Just Blaze and Kanye West.
"It's called Ground Zero, a little dedication to our city," Jones said of the LP. "We started the whole album around [September 11, 2001]. It just played so much of how we came about. We've been on top before but it never panned out. They knocked our buildings down and they already built them back up. But the album is on fire."
After the new version of "Bout It, Bout It" has its run, the crew plans to put out a remake of Starship's 1985 #1 hit "We Built This City."
"Jimmy always wanted to do that song, Just Blaze heard him talk about it and he did the beat," Cam explained. "It turned out good."