The cool thing for my age group to do nowadays is praise The Diplomats without actually acknowledging their musical greatness. Every Fourth of July, the picture of Juelz Santana in his infamous red, white and blue outfit from the “Dipset Anthem/ I Really Mean It” video resurfaces on Twitter. Dipset’s stylistic approach to the rap game was so convenient due to the lack of originality ongoing in that moment, just ask your favorite rapper who was wearing a throwback basketball jersey in their music video. That said, their musical approach is even more intriguing due to the simple fact that “the best rapper alive” popularized a carbon copy of their flow in 2006 and 2007. Cam’ron’s Come Home with Me album is one of the most influential albums and while it’s not recognized as a classic by casual rap fans, it certainly is, as well as Diplomatic Immunity. The Diplomats, in my opinion, created some of the greatest moments in hip-hop history.
Cam’ron may have became a breakout star due to his “Oh Boy” and “Hey Ma” singles, but Killa Cam was releasing quality music since his debut album, Confessions of Fire. Cam signed to Roc-A-Fella Records in 2001 which was the perfect platform to showcase to the masses how talented he was. Cam’ron has a knack for adapting his unorthodox flow to murder beats so seamlessly that your favorite rapper would’ve struggled with and his debut on Roc-A-Fella, Come Home with Me, couldn’t have been a better display of the Harlem rapper’s ability. Come Home with Me most notably houses Cam’s smash singles, “Hey Ma” and “Oh Boy,” which peaked at number three and four on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. Both singles launched the Paid in Full actor into super-stardom as well as introduced the radio listeners to his “lil’ homie,” Juelz Santana.
Of the 15 tracks featured on Come Home with Me, Juelz is credited for appearing on six of them. He essentially played a smaller Ghostface Killah role to Cam’s Raekwon on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…. Cam’ron also is one of the few artists that arguably out-rapped the G.O.A.T., Jay Z while he was in his prime. “Welcome to New York City” is where listeners can hear Killa use his routinely slick-as-freshly-mopped-floors wordplay to his advantage as opposed to Hov’s upfront, reality-based bars which still hit as hard as Floyd did in round 10 of his fight with McGregor. The Diplomats were flying high due to Cam’ron’s commercially successful third studio album and that was seemingly only the beginning.
The Diplomats released their first collective album, Diplomatic Immunity, in 2003 which was another commercial win for Roc-A-Fella as a whole. More importantly, though, Diplomatic Immunity further certified that Cam wasn’t the only talent of the brand. Juelz Santana’s stock would rise even more thanks to him often stealing the show and Jim Jones even had occasional standout verses. Solidifying the group as a loyal unit, Dipset even placed their then-incarcerated member, Hell Rell, on the project.
Juelz and Cam both certainly shined on their solo tracks like “Who I Am” and “I Really Mean It,” but the highest points on the album are the collaborative tracks such as “Dipset Anthem” and “I’m Ready,” a testimony to the crew’s chemistry. Officially seen as rap’s next superstar, Juelz released his debut studio album, From Me to U in 2003. The album was relatively successful commercially, but listeners and critics alike found it disappointing in the same manner of Drake’s Thank Me Later. Luckily for us, though, “Dipset (Santana’s Town)” was created and we have the pleasure of hearing it fourteen years later.
Cam’ron released his fourth studio album, Purple Haze on Roc-A-Fella records in 2004, another win for anybody else, but Cam wasn’t satisfied. Upset with the promotion of Purple Haze as well as the passive-aggressive tension ongoing with Jay Z, The Diplomats’ head honcho requested their release from Roc-A-Fella. Despite no longer being signed to a major label as a whole, Dipset still found great success. Jim Jones released the annoying, but catchy single, “We Fly High” under Koch Records. The single became a mainstay in mainstream entertainment, often being referenced in sports such as touchdown celebrations. Jones’ breakout single peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 along with Juelz Santana’s “There It Go (The Whistle Song)” peaking at number six a year prior, The Diplomats were still flying high as ever.
Over the recent years, Dipset have had their fair share of inner problems. Most recently, Jim and Cam’s public dispute on Funk Flex’s show on Hot 97 and Instagram, but even still, the super-group managed to entertain fans. Creating new flows for rappers to adopt, becoming successful in the mainstream as well as the streets along with beefing with Jay Z and 50 Cent, then living to tell about it- Dipset is the epitome of being a movement. Make sure to thank The Diplomats for giving our country a real anthem to salute and blessing our eyes and ears with their iconic Rap City: Tha Basement freestyle.