There are few rap collectives that inspire the level of devotion displayed by fans of The Diplomats aka Dipset. It’s that something about the combination of Cam, Juelz, Jimmy and Freeky Zeeky that perfectly captures a timeless moment in New York Hip Hop, history. The era of the pink coats, American flag bandannas, and oversized everything may have passed, but the lyrical skills and the Harlem-bred comradery of Dipset will live forever.
Of course, the problems with combining multiple talented, cocky street savvy guys are easily predicted and inevitable. Solo careers for Cam’ron, Juelz and Jimmy each took off, leaving many Dipset fans wondering if they would ever see the whole squad rock together ever again.
Funkmaster Flex was the uniting force behind the recent Dipset Reunion at BB Kings, which makes sense given his NYC clout. Tickets were $50 a pop, and despite the hefty price tag the show still sold out. By the time I arrived, the place was packed, and the squad was just being introduced by Flex, complete with bomb drops to herald their appearance.
There were probably 100 dudes on stage behind the crew as they performed two newer Dipset songs “Have My Money” and “Do Something,” with Cam in the lead:
Then, they brought Harlem World to Midtown for classic cuts off Diplomatic Immunity, starting with “I’m Ready”. Juelz was noticeably energetic while Cam seems to radiate laid back cool with Jim Jones looking a little stoned off to the side. Freeky was there, holding to down as always. Each of the three proceeded to perform key songs, with Jimmy starting things out by performing “Ballin”, followed by “Pop Champagne,” and “Certified Gangstaz.” He rounded it out with “Harlem”, which set the crowd off.
Santana was up next, and he was ready with the fire pop songs that brought everyone back to summer bbq dance parties: “Oh Yes,” “Mic Check,” “The Whistle Song,” – all of which got the ladies dancing. For the more hardcore fans, he performed “Murda Murda” surrounded by both the Dipset crew and an assortment of DJ’s, gangastas and general Uptown celebrities. By the end of his set, there was barely room for Juelz to manoeuvre amongst the crowd onstage – which was only a small reflection of the massive sold out crowd now rocking along to Dipset.
Like a true ringleader, Cam stepped into the spotlight and demanded people move back. “Gimme space, gimme space” as he motioned to his giant mob. Everyone but Jimmy, Juelz and Freeky Zeeky were left surrounding him as he broke into some of his biggest hits. The whole crowd – both onstage and off – were rapping every word to “Wet Wipes,” “Get Em’ Girl,” and the classic “Touch It Or Not”. The crowd really went insane “Down & Out”, nearly turning into a mosh pit. A final special moment was when Hell Rell joined Cam onstage for “Get Em’ Daddy (Remix)”.
Although the power of Cam’ron was palpable, it was when Dipset joined forces that things took on legendary status. It was hit after hit, rocking signature hits like Cam’ron’s “Hey Ma,” and “Oh Boy,” – plus a super turned up rendition of “I Really Mean It”. The show could only end one way, and that was with “Dipset Anthem”. This is when it truly felt transcendent, and they played back the song multiple times. With Santana starting off the song with his “Killa! Jones! Freaky”, and Cam delivering his famous “Two arms up! Touchdown” line as everyone rapped along, this was the pinnacle moment for Dipset fans.
But it wasn’t just the ending of the show that displayed the power of the group. The fact that each rapper got a moment to shine with their solo work was essential – and it helps that they all have monster hits. No matter how dope each rapper can be on their own, it was Dipset who sold out BB Kings. Cam’ron, Juelz, Jimmy and Freeky and certainly more than the sum of their parts, which is what truly makes a rap group a legend.