For Cam'ron and Jim Jones, their reunion has mirrored their falling-out: It's been a slow and deliberate process. The two Harlem rappers and onetime Dipset allies continued their reconciliation over the weekend — inching ever closer to a return to their flamboyant ways — when they joined forces at the Converse Band of Ballers event in Atlanta, taking the championship at the celebrity basketball tournament.
It's been a long road for Cam and Jones. Here, MTV News recounts the duo's path from breakup to makeup.
» In 2005, the duo were poised to take over the rap game when Cam'ron inked a deal with Asylum Records; Jones served in an executive role at Warner Music Group, of which Asylum was a subsidiary.
"We playing both sides of the fence," Jones told MTV News at the time. "We got the executive chairs, so we could be executives for the rest of our lives, but we still making good music right now. We getting the game popping."
» A year later, rumors about the pair's fracturing friendship were spreading so quickly, Jones addressed the topic, albeit begrudgingly: The pair appeared together (along with Juelz Santana), in a show of solidarity, for Jones' "We Fly High" video.
"I tend to be on the defensive side, so you got to pardon my demeanor when you see me, but I'm a happy, loving dude," Jones said about the rift. "I was tired of people asking me that dumb sh--. Like, leave me alone with that."
» By 2007, Cam'ron had grown reclusive, furthering talk of discord between him and Jones. What most fans didn't know at the time, however, was that Cam'ron was tending to his ailing mother. His decreased visibility only stirred up 50 Cent, who was embroiled in a feud with the MC.
"He's doing more damage to his crew than I could ever do," 50 told MTV News about Cam. "He's put them in a real awkward situation with his choices. When they had momentum, they had Jimmy [Jones] out there doing records, Juelz was out there, they was doing good. Then they let this guy out there, and look what happened."
» Soon, Jones, emboldened by his own rising stardom, began speaking publicly about his "feud" with Cam'ron, whom he said was "on punishment" during a Hot 97 interview. Jones not-so-subtly hinted at the root of their problems in an interview with MTV News.
"Shouts to Cameron," Jones, using the rapper's full name, told Sway in July 2007. "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," he continued. "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."
» Cam'ron emerged from his self-imposed hiatus, and in an interview with Miss Info in November 2007, the usually outspoken rapper turned reserved when asked about Jones. Cam denied he had any issues with his Dipset partner — or his friend's newfound stardom.
"I still haven't spoken to Jim," Cam explained. "Everybody thinks I'm mad at Jim. Why am I mad? I told people for years that Jimmy was gonna be a star, so it's better on my résumé. I wish him the best."
» Lost amid Cam'ron and Jim Jones' falling-out was Juelz Santana, who was tight-lipped as bad blood simmered between the two stars. But Santana broke his silence to MTV News in 2008, revealing he, too, was estranged from Cam. Later, he told Miss Info he was no longer signed to Diplomats Records, Cam'ron's imprint. Santana told MTV News that he could no longer work with his former mentor.
"I have no hard feelings towards Cam," he said. "I tell people I couldn't do business with him. But I will say he gave me the biggest chance I needed. I'm a dude from the 'hood, so the chance he gave me is a chance I needed to never turn back. I'm good. My artistry, my talent, my career was never built on controversy. So I would never come out and say a whole bunch of things that could be said. All I can say is, I'm sorry he can't be here to be a part of what's about to happen, because we're about to tear 'em up."
» Cam'ron and Juelz were soon chirping back and forth in the press: Cam accused Santana of a cough-medicine dependency in an XXL interview, a charge Juelz Santana emphatically denied, attributing Cam's claim to nothing more than a cheap marketing ploy for his album. (As of press time, it was still unclear whether Cam'ron and Santana have repaired their relationship.)
"For him to say he stop messing with me because I was drinking syrup — that's like Baby saying he doesn't mess with Wayne because he was drinking syrup," Santana told MTV News in February 2009. "He just wanted to say something, and that was probably the only way he could say something and keep his character up. I was never addicted to syrup. I used to drink it on occasion. I don't know where that came from.
"[His comments] were a shocker to me, like, 'Damn, you would stoop low like that?' With his stomach situation, he was doing Percocet. It's not for me to say, 'Because he was using Percocet, I stopped speaking to Cam.' You'll say, 'I do Percocet because of my stomach.' But I've seen you do Percocet when your stomach is not bothering you. So that's besides the point."
» Last year, Cam'ron seemed to soften his stance, revealing in an MTV News interview that he and Jones talked to each other for the first time in three years; Jones, though, denied such a phone call had ever happened.
"It was cordial. He knew it was me," Cam said of Jones. "He said we was gonna holla — maybe we'll put something together. But in the immediate future, I'm just doing Cam. But you never know what can happen down the line. I called Zeke's phone, and I guess Zeke gave Jim the phone to pick up. We just talked, asked about each other's family. He said he's on a promo tour. He'd be back soon. That was that."
"I don't know what that's about," Jones countered to Sirius XM radio host Angela Yee. "Everyone's been telling me about that. I'm the only one who doesn't know about it. I don't know what he's talking about."
» Any hopes for a Dipset reunion were dashed when Cam'ron declared the once-mighty crew was "a wrap." Juelz also confirmed the crew's official split in April last year. "Basically, to be honest — it's a wrap," Cam told MTV News. "I called Jim. Everybody has not been speaking for the past three, four years. It just got in the public. Once the problems get in the public, to me, it can't be fixed."
"It kind of makes me feel good, 'cause it lets the people know you don't have to ask me that [reunion] question," Santana fired back in an interview with MTV News. "He's telling y'all, 'No matter what the fans want, I'm not doing it.' It takes a load off my back. Cam gave y'all the answer. He's the boss. He's always been the boss. I never tried to take that [away] from him. It is what it is. I'm moving forward. We all got kids. I got family, my peoples got families. We're moving forward."
» Then, two weeks ago, Cam'ron and Jim Jones shocked the hip-hop world when they phoned Hot 97's Miss Info, together, telling her they were "getting back on track." Cam confirmed the news but explained later that business details needed to be ironed out before the Diplomats could reunite on wax.
"It's 2010, and this is something I gotta get off my chest," Jones told Miss Info. "You've known us from back when we didn't have what we have now, so you remember that, above all, me and Cam, we still brothers. And we're building on getting back on track, but first, I apologize for being a rude brother, for saying things publicly without first trying to handle them privately. I apologize for not leading by example, because what I didn't realize at the time, I was venting, but it wasn't all about me. There were other people whose dreams were also part of this movement."
"Me and Jim are speaking. I don't want people to think me and Jim aren't speaking," Cam said. "We speak a few times a week. Right now, we talking out the business. The deal is on the table. But until the business gets situated, it's [Cam's group] the U.N.; me and [protégé] Vado. We not about to stop. All the bosses meet at the roundtable.
"To be honest, we missed out on a lot of money on the Diplomat thing the first time," he added. "I'm not moving on nothing Diplomat until the business gets done. But it's close to getting done. Right now, I don't want to mislead nobody and say it's not U.N. right now."
Are you optimistic about the chances for a Dipset reunion album? Let us know in the comments!