Words By Jesse H.
2006 was a big year for Jim Jones. Dipset was just peaking in popularity, and Jones’ signature “We Fly High” had as many spins as that year’s box office had sequels.
But, for those of you who went into hibernation between then and now, here’s a list of Jones’ notable contributions to Hip Hop since then:
What’s an artist to do to ratchet his buzz back up to a fever pitch? A slew of mixtapes? Been there, done that. A new dumb-out single? Sorry, the lacrosse team that lives down the hall can play it as many times as they want, I’m not buying “Pop Champagne” as a “We Fly High Part II” for multiple reasons, chiefly because it sounds exactly like “Arab Money” to me. Yawn. So, being the creative genius that he is, Jim Jones decided on…. what else? An off-Broadway play.
Yes, you read that correctly. From the minds of Jim Jones and…(gasp) Damon Dash, the world was bequeathed with “Hip-Hop Monologues: Inside the Life & Mind of Jim Jones,” a precursor to his upcoming Pray IV Reign, which drops January 2009 on Columbia. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with this project?
I’d like to mention that I am by no means an expert on theater. I was given an opportunity to attend (much thanks to Devin Chanda, who does some great work with TSS as well as other publications) and I feel qualified enough to give a few notes on the performance:
— “Hip-Hop Monologues” contained no monologues whatsoever. It was instead a (and I use this term loosely) “musical.” One things for sure, “Sound of Music” this was not.
— Going through the mind of Jim Jones was an 86-minute journey. Would you like to know what is not inside the mind of Jim Jones? A clue on how to create any sort of rational plot construction.
— Sound engineering for the event was apparently done by a crew who are so technologically clueless, that they make phone calls through a Campbell’s soup can.
— A male actor stood upper stage right shuddering and twitching from thirty minutes before the show opened, until five minutes after the bows. It is unknown whether this was an actor posing as a crackhead, a lost junkie, or an unfortunate soul who viewed the performance the previous evening.
The basic premise of the show was Jim Jones being backed into a corner by the law after a shooting at a dice game and being forced to make up for his past ills. His missions for redemption included speaking to the kids (he performed a song for them that was as far away from “I Can” as one can get), apologizing to women (He performed a song for them that was called “Thank You Bithces,” or something; I’m guessing the irony was unintentional) and some other inane mission that I can’t recall, as the shortcomings of the script were the theatrical equivalent of a frontal lobotomy. Mixed in between these missions was Jim Jones yelling ad-libs, Jim Jones doing push ups, and videos of Jim Jones doing pushups while yelling ad-libs (mercifully, he only yelled “Ballin” once). As I’m sure you can imagine, the play was rife with miscues, misguided ideas and songs that fell flat. At least the girls on stage were beautiful.
Devin and I got a chance to interview both Dame and Jim following the show. Poor, poor Dame. The show premiered right around the time that the story broke about Dame being, well… broke. I felt sorry for Dame. He looked down at his iPhone the whole time, hoping that it might somehow have an application that swapped his and Jay’s career. He was gracious to answer our questions, though he forgot the name of the movie him and Jim were planning. I offered him a “keep your head up Dame” on my way out, and he responded with the least convincing raised fist I’ve ever seen. Jim on the other hand, answered our one question with something to the effect of “it’s inside the mind of Jim Jones, ya heard?” accompanied by an amused laugh at his own cleverness, before walking off (peep the video).
I’m not even mad at Jim for snubbing us. After seeing what’s inside his (and I use this term loosely) “mind,” I don’t think he’s all that capable of rational conversation.