By Paul Cantor
The Diplomats’ latest attack on Hov comes over the instrumental for Kanye’s latest single “Runaway,” which he debuted on the VMAs this past Sunday. In the freestyle Cam’ron spits, “And Kanye, you a sucka n—-/ Dissed Dame, so my attitude is fuck the n—-/ Stuck to Jigga, how you gon’ live with that?/ Took the beat, now come get it back.”
Will this beef ever go away? Probably not. The Dip Set crew have been baiting Jiggaman for a battle since the mid-aughts, largely to no avail barring Jay’s Kingdom Come LP but we’ll get to that. Despite the looming hatchet, Cam and Jimmy actually have quite a bit of history with Jay. Check out the troublesome trio’s timeline to learn just how well they know one another.
1995: Both Jay-Z and Cam’ron appear on Big L’s Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous LP, albeit on different songs (Jay on “Da Graveyard” and Cam on “8 iz Enuff,” respectively).
1996: Jay-Z forms Roc-A-Fella Records with partners Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke, both of whom Jim and Cam reportedly grew up with in Harlem.
1997: Cam’ron signs to Sony/Epic through Lance “Un” Rivera’s Undeas Entertainment. Another artist signed to Undeas, Charli Baltimore, is in a short-lived supergroup with Jay-Z and the late Notorious B.I.G. called The Commission.
1999: Jay-Z reportedly stabs Lance “Un” Rivera in a nightclub over charges that he’s bootlegging Jay’s fourth LP, In My Lifetime Vol. 3. Jay maintained his innocence early on but later plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
2000: Cam’ron releases his second LP S.D.E. which features a cameo from Destiny’s Child (read: Beyoncé) on the song “Do It Again.” It also includes the song “Let Me Know,” which includes numerous subliminal shots (“you rap about money, man, who are you anyway?” and “When the f— we start bouncin’?”) at Jay-Z.
2001: Cam’ron demands a release from Sony/Epic and is courted by his childhood friend Damon Dash. He signs with Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam later that year and brings his Diplomats crew and boutique record label with him.
2002: Come Home With Me, the third album from Cam’ron. Buoyed by the Just Blaze-produced single “Oh Boy,” the album goes platinum. Jay-Z joins Cam on “Welcome To New York City,” a street single from the LP that cements their partnership.
2002: While Jay-Z is away on vacation, Jim Jones announces that Cam’ron has been made a Vice President at Roc-A-Fella. Jay doesn’t agree with the move and friction between the two begins to surface.
2003: In the midst of the Jay-Z/Nas feud, Nas disses Cam’ron on New York’s Power105. Cam’ron subsequently joins the beef against Nas and releases “Show You How,” a freestyle dis to the instrumental of the original Jay-Z song.
2004: Jay-Z, Dame and Biggs sell their 50% interest in Roc-A-Fella to Def Jam. Jay-Z is made President of Def Jam and thus takes control of the label. Dame and Biggs create the Dame Dash Music Group. Cam’ron and Dip Set side with their childhood homies.
2006: Cam’ron releases “You Got To Love It,” a dis track aimed at Jay-Z, alleging that Hov blocked him from taking the VP job at Roc-A-Fella. He also claims that a gunman who shot him in Washington, DC one year earlier in a botched carjacking threw up the ROC’s diamond hand signal. He also says Jay stole Kanye West, Roc-A-Fella Records and the Roc-A-Wear clothing brand from Dame Dash. Jay-Z doesn’t respond.
2006: Amidst the hype of Jay-Z’s Kingdom Come album, Jim Jones and Dame Dash release a dis song, “Kingdom Done.” Jay-Z replies with “Brooklyn High,” wherein he initially coins the phrase, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
2006: After ignoring Dip Set’s taunts, Jay finally replies publicly on his LP Kingdom Come. “N—-s are like why don’t you get at old boy/Why kill the puppet it leaves Gapeto alive/Why not wait to catch them all together this way you dig one big hole one time,” Hov rhymes on “Dig A Hole.” “It’s like the disciples dissing Jesus becoming his rivals the one thing that they owe they life to,” he continues.
2007: Tru Life, an artist signed to Roc-A-Fella subsidiary Roc-La-Familia, takes up for his label boss and begins trading insults on mixtape cuts with Dip Set. He winds up punching Cam’ron in the face outside of New York’s club Stereo.
2008: In a joint interview with Complex Magazine, Jones and Damon Dash say Kanye doesn’t really like Jay-Z. They also indicate that their problems with Hov date back to 2001, when Jay-Z allegedly bought the Kanye West-produced track “H To The Izzo” after hearing him play it in a studio session for Cam.
2008: Ron Browz and the Jim Jones/Juelz Santana-featured remix to the single “Pop Champagne” climbs the charts. The autotuned track becomes the lead single for Jones’ 2009 LP, Pray IV Reign.
2009: Jay-Z releases “Death of Autotune,” putting the kibosh on Jones’ success. The single sets up his Blueprint 3 album, where on the very first cut “What We Talkin Bout,” he puts the beef to bed saying “I ain’t talkin’ ’bout Jimmy, I ain’t talkin’ bout Dame.”
2010: Jim Jones and Cam’ron release their “Toast Freestyle” over Kanye’s “Runaway” and the beat goes on.