By Paul Cantor
Rumors abound that the Diplomats may be signing to Interscope Records any day now. The Harlem crew released two volumes of Diplomatic Immunity (Vol 1 on Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam in ‘03 and Vol. 2 on Koch Records in ‘04) before an assortment of differences amongst the bunch lead to their demise around 2007. They’ve since kissed and made up, and are currently riding high off the success of the Araab Muzik-produced single “Salute,” from Jim Jones forthcoming LP. It's a teaser of sorts, which is why labels are courting them for their reunion LP. But if they do in fact sign with the house that Iovine built, here’s a list of things they stand to gain from the move.
1) Cam’ron can gloat- In the midst of warring with 50 Cent back in 2007, Mr. Giles mother fell ill, and Killa had to take time off to care for her. Despite the actual factual, to the streets it looked like Cam took an L. At the time, 50 and G-Unit were the darlings of Interscope, and Cam was merely signed to an indie (Koch). But now that G-Unit as a group is no longer housed at the label, The Diplomats will be rap kings du jour. Killa Season, indeed.
2) Beats by Dr. Dre- No silly, not the headphones. Dip Set’s achilles’ heel has always been the beats it chooses to rhyme on. Because while they sound awesome on mixtapes, they sound less so on pop radio, which is where rap needs to go in order to sell anything these days. Dre hasn’t had a hit in awhile, but maybe some fresh blood will get him going. At the very least it’ll help him delay Detox another few years. Hey, what’s the hurry?
3) Collabos with MIA- the Dips were the original hipster darlings. MIA was merely the second coming. The Sri Lankan Brit’s rap/singing career has semi-stalled, due to the failure of her latest LP, Maya, to set the music world ablaze. That said, a collaboration between the two would easily put them back on the radar of the Pitchfork snarkorati crowd, who seem to have moved on.
4) More Diplomats-branded products- Admit it, you miss your Sizzurp. The fruity alcoholic beverage was one of the Diplomats first forays into selling things besides music. Jim Jones later had a clothing line called Nostic. But that was years ago. Interscope is now in the business of selling artist-branded HP computers, headphones and all sorts of goodies. The Diplomats could get into that line of branding, because their Harlem swag was totally built for selling high-priced premium electronics to the baaaaallin crowd.
5) Lady Gaga on the hook- What, you thought the pop radio spins alluded to above were just going to fall out of the sky? Hell no. And Ms. Germanotta is totally cool with the rap crowd already. To wit, see her pairing with Wale (“Chillin”) and being signed to Interscope through Akon’s Kon Live music label. You’ve heard “Poker Face,” so you know she can totally belt out a few notes about whether she’ll “Suck It Or Not.”