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Why I Love Dipset.

So, Dipset are at it again. If you haven’t read, according to Nah Right, someone Dipset-ized Tru Life’s Myspace. Among the changes, the main image is (was) a reversal of that lame Tru Life mixtape cover and the top four friends are (were) listed as Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, J.R Writer, and Duke Da God. The most hilarious change is Tru Life’s ‘About Me’ section. I copied the text from the screenshots on Nahright, so all weird grammar, spelling, punctuation etc. is kept intact.

“I want to apologize for disrespecting The Whole Dipset especially Jim “capo” Jones. I’m just a tad upset with my situation at rocafella, Jay Z spends all his money on beyonce, and doesn’t leave much for any of his broke Rocafella artist Like me Young Gunners, Memphis Bleek and Peedi Crakk; especially for his dust smoking habits.. I’m driving around the lower eastside in my 96 Windstar Caravan with my broke friends not really doing much. I don’t know when my album gonna drop, I’m still living off Jewelry I stole from Mobb deep and I’m down to my last dollars. I really want to say thank you to Geno, end of the day I know he is my muscle, and the only reason niggas aint swerve on me yet”

96 Windstar Caravan? Spends all his money on Beyonce? This is why I love these guys! This whole hacking thing is presumably a response to the Tru Life mixtape that shows Jones’ head photo-shopped onto Borat-in-a-wrestling-singlet and Cam’ron photo-shopped onto a woman’s body. While we’re at it, the woman’s body with Cam’ron’s head looks disturbingly close to Jamie Foxx’s Wanda character from ‘In Living Color’…anyways, this whole Dipset/Jay-Z beef was absurd from the beginning and as many others have said, it’s only become more ridiculous because Jay-Z has given it the time of day and worse, seems to be taking it seriously.

What makes Dipset so great is how they will do the most juvenile shit ever, fully aware that it makes them look stupider than it does the intended target and not give a shit at all. The entire career of Dipset has been about actually not giving a fuck. Just start with their clothing, their complete embrace of fur and pink and purple is an affront, a challenge to laugh at them. I’d also argue that for fans like me, it’s almost a challenge to take them seriously. I really have to work hard to find what I consider some really interesting realities that they address. Although I love their over-the-top production, many have a problem with it and I can’t really argue. Those nutso strings and cackling sped-up little kid voices on ‘S.A.N.T.A.N.A’ entertain me but I can see why a lot of people have trouble taking the Dips seriously. This bombastic production, coupled with their apparent ability to rap on anything from super-obvious samples (‘Push It’, ‘Roxanne’, Zapp, Cindy Lauper, ‘Between the Sheets’) to television themes (‘Monday Night Football’, ‘Magnum P.I’, ‘Hillstreet Blues’) to fucking Rick Wakeman samples makes them bona fide weirdos. Even their actual threats are filtered through some weird, genius form of Dipset comedy wherein they are the butt of their own jokes, as when Jim Jones threatens some guy with a wedgie. And yeah, I really mean genius here, these guys are funny in this weird subtle comedy way that’s only seen on like, early Albert Brooks films or ‘The Larry Sanders Show’. Those “Mizzle” skits on Cam’ron’s ‘Purple Haze’ are legitimately clever: “Get some weight on you like that fat bitch Della Reese-Yo, I still don’t know what that means.” A pitch-perfect parody of a Woon, the hanger-on, repeating what his favorite rappers say, without any understanding. Or the genius of ‘Chicken Head’:

Chicken Head: I’m a chicken, so I’m a act like a chicken, quack quack!
Cam: That’s a DUCK.

The extra-weird thing about that skit is by the end of it, Cam has clearly lost the argument. As much as the Dips are about pumping themselves up, they spend a lot of time making themselves look like jerkoffs. The much-hated ‘Killa Season’ is the best movie that came out last year. No joke. It is Cassavetes-like in its improvisatory style and what people used-to Hollywood movies call “the worst acting ever” is actually so realistic that it makes you uncomfortable, so you call it “bad”. I have a feeling that when people actually freak-out because their niece has been shot they look a little embarrassing too. A musician hasn’t made a vanity project that makes them look this real since ‘Gimme Shelter’.

Now that Dipset are huge because of ‘We Fly High’, one might think they’d tone it down, but as this hacking escapade proves they couldn’t care less. When ‘We Fly High’ was first released it seemed like typical Dipset hilarity: Jim Jones doing push-ups with a video chick on his back, that hilariously bad on-purpose bluescreen effect with Jones, Cam, and Juelz doing choreographed dancing. Then, Ballin!-mania hit and the inevitable remix was released and the video is even goofier. Jones ups the retardation level by now, bench-pressing a video chick. The video really is a parody of the baller-ific Puffy era. The video takes place on white floors, in front of white walls, leaving the only thing to focus upon to be the rappers, girls, and cars. Rap video cliches are reduced even further. Money is handled in a way that suggests contempt, they objectify woman and money; Diddy poorly juggling wads of $1 bills, Jones drops-back like a QB and throws a wad of bills like a football, Juelz wears the bills in his bandana like an Indian feather, and Birdman angrily punts a stack of cash. When Juelz brags “money ain’t a thing” I sort of believe him. And, let’s not forget the part where the to-be-bench-pressed video girl climbs out of the hood of one of the cars, exposing the car as, literally, a prop…and Juelz has some weird little piece of shit dog on his lap. Is that cool by anyone’s standards?

At the same time, Cam drops a shaky video of him riding mountain bikes with his friends through Harlem. I think there’s some truth in all of their actions. The fun and even stupidity of Dipset is there to be entertaining but it’s also there for us to cut-through to get to the substance. They couch their big ideas and their emotions in jokes. They, like the best artists of any medium, in any era, have a compulsive need to tell the truth. Take a song like ‘Harlem Streets’ from ‘Purple Haze’, a very affecting song, that contains the line “I told my mother I hustle and she said ‘Be Careful” which pretty much defines, in the sparest of words, a mother’s unconditional love for her son. Of course, ‘Harlem Streets’ is backed by a TV theme sample which arguably, downplays the song’s seriousness, as does a line like “…climb behind vagina/then I hymen grind her”. This precarious balance of emotional lyrics, goofy production, and rampant misogyny, contains itself because all of it sort-of fits together in a real-world-is-contradictory way. Jim Jones’ ‘Summer Wit’ Miami’ (wasn’t this the real beginning of the beef with Jay? Everyone seems to have forgotten this…) does not contain a single quality line but the overall feeling of the song is a lot like what it feels like to reflect back on summer. If you actually listen to it, it’s hardly a party song, more of a morning-after-the-party song. Those ‘Purple Haze’ skits are funny but they are also incredibly well-done and realistic. They didn’t have to be recorded so shittily, as to reflect a bad phone-line, the Jamaican on ‘Rude Boy’ could have a slightly less impenetrable accent, and as I said, Cam doesn’t have to get totally schooled in his argument with his girlfriend. The world of Dipset is incredibly well-observed and well-wrought, but there’s also room for wedgie jokes and bad CGI.

Written by Brandon

January 15th, 2007 at 4:44 am