NEW YORK — When Jim Jones reached out to Hot 97 radio personality Miss Info back in May and went on the record about the Diplomats putting crew head Cam'ron "on punishment," as Jones put it then, he stunned fans and music industry insiders alike.
The two had long been rumored to be at odds — either over money or Jones' growing stardom, according to the whisperings — but it was the first time anyone inside the camp had said anything publicly about the incident (see "Mixtape Monday: Beanie's Staying With Jay-Z; Cam'ron Vs. Jim Jones In Dipset Bust-Up?").
In the weeks since, though, Jones and the rest of the Diplomats, including Cam, have been quiet in addressing what exactly was the source of the rift between the two and why it was put on blast. Dipset members bypassed the incident in interviews as just a minor ruffle among the top ranks of the group.
But Jim Jones recently sat down with MTV News and confirmed he and Cam'ron are still at odds. However, Jones did emphasize that he and Cam share too much history for them simply to turn their backs on each other.
"Shouts to Cameron," Jones said Tuesday — using the MC's full name — from the set of Yung Berg's "Sexy Lady" remix video. "We going through our little differences and things like that. When you come up in this game, loyal to a [fault], you look to certain people to always take care of you above and beyond, because you'd do the same thing for them. And, of course, there's a lot of money at stake here. And no matter what anyone tells you, when money comes into play, people do change in certain ways and things like that. Because we didn't grow up with this type of money we playing with now, so it's only [normal] that you're gonna change in some aspect. But for us, loyalty is everything, and when you break that code of honor a little bit, it tends to make the water rough.
"I opted to go back to the dock and start building my own boat," Jones continued. "So I could go out and fish for myself, you know what I mean? There's still a fleet of Diplomat boats and when the time comes we'll all get on it and we'll go out and fish again. But right now, I'm my own fisherman."
It's true Jones has been repping his company Byrd Gang Records and flaunting his own artists more, with the exception of Juelz Santana, than any Diplomat projects. But in Jones' clip for "We Fly High," he, Juelz and Cam appeared in the video together. At the time, Jones told MTV News the concept of the video was to squash any rumors that he and Cam had a problem with each other (see "Jim Jones Snags T.I., Diddy For 'Fly' Remix, Calls Himself 'The Mean Nice Guy' "). But on the accompanying album by Jones, last year's Hustler's P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment), Cam only appears on one song; same for the Diplomats' recent compilation, More Than Music, Vol. 2.
"There was a little disruption going on in there, but it's still Diplomats by all means," Jones said.
"That's what that's all about, it ain't got to do with nothing else," he continued. "It's about two brothers feuding, and brothers do feud, you can't take that [away]. I know brothers that go through it tremendously, even scrap. You know the media always look for something to pick on. The Diplomats been running for a hell of a long time. We going on 11 years right now, and yes, I know if you seen me and Cam, wherever you seen Cam, you seen Jim Jones and things like that. But like I said, everybody gets older and sometimes best friends do grow apart as the time goes on, but you never know what could happen. We might just pop up together and slap fire out of one of you. So don't ever forget that. What I can do, what me and Cam could do, toward each other, you punks can't do. So if one of you punks get out of line, I'm still gonna handle you. You understand me? Don't get the family business twisted. You will get handled, hardbody."
It's been a tough '07 for Jones so far, with his beefing with Cam and the passing of his artist Stack Bundles (see "Jim Jones Associate Stack Bundles Killed"), but he's largely keeping positive. He said he'd be open to working with 50 Cent and onetime foe Nas. However, the bridge between him and Jay-Z looks like it's still burned.
"I would love to do a song with Fif," Jones revealed. "I told people I'm a businessman. At the end of the day, you never say never because you don't make your decisions, God does. I know there's a lot of grudges, I know there's a lot of gripes out there.
"There's probably one person I wouldn't do a song with, and that's probably Jay[-Z]. I really ain't got no taste for that right there. That's not my side of the fence and that's not my speed.
... [However, if you other MCs] want to lock it, holler at me. We could lock in together, we could do a song dissing each other, we could do a song that's getting money, we could do whatever. I'm with it. You can bring your crew, I can bring my crew, we'll lock in the studio. That goes for 50, that goes for Nas, that goes for anybody."