Release Date: Mar 24, 2009
Record label: Sony
The three years between Hustler's P. O. M.
Jim Jones has mounted a relentless campaign in recent years to get his rapping taken as seriously as his business savvy. Those efforts finally pay off, to some degree, on his fourth album, Pray IV Reign, whose lyrics are more developed than those on his nursery-rhyme-level 2006 hit, ”We Fly High.” Even so, these songs are still full of crude misogyny and tired concepts. Give Jones points for honing his craft, but he’s got a long way to go.
"Jones!" That's Harlem rapper Jim Jones's endearing (if not very creative) catchphrase, which comes up at least three times on any given song. On his heavily hyped Pray IV Reign, he might as well change it to "Fail!" [rssbreak] Jones's entertaining Twitter feed, off-Broadway play and quotable interviews prove he has a sense of humour. And his energetic verse on MGMT's Electric Feel remix, which combined mixtape racket with his club single We Fly High (Ballin'), clearly demonstrates his hit-making abilities.
Last fall, I caught a showing of Hip Hop Monologues: Inside the Life and Mind of Jim Jones, a “play” set to the music of the as then unreleased Pray IV Reign. As I sat in the audience before the curtains, watching Dame Dash and Juelz Santana cavorting in the aisles, I thought I was prepared for how terrible it was going to be. I was not. It was fucking terrible -- performances cringingly hammy, plot details groaningly clichéd, segues practically experimental in their incomprehensibility, music…well, we’ll get to that.
Jim Jones is not much of a rapper. In fact, calling him a rapper might be a bit of a misnomer. Getting famous on the frat-party staple, “We Fly High”—you know, “Ballin’!”—Jones has fashioned a career of the most-innocuous and irrelevant aspect of hip-hop, the ad lib, not even the ever-popular one-liners artists like Jadakiss have perfected.