Jim Jones Talks "Capo," Being Like Jimmy Conway In "Goodfellas," The Story Behind "Perfect Day"
Tue, 01 Mar 2011 10:14:00
Hustling is an art, and Jim Jones is it's Leonardo Da Vinci.
On April 5th, 2011, the hip hop Renaissance man will drop his latest masterpiece, Capo. Jones sparks up the songs with his inimitable, infectious inflection, adding heart to the haze of the anthemic "Blow Your Smoke." Meanwhile, "Perfect Day" is the perfect "gangsta pop" tune, allowing Jones to experiment with different tones and textures. Capo shows every side of this dynamic rap force. It's bound to be remembered as not only one of Jones's best albums but one of the best hip hop records of 2011.
Jim Jones sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about Capo. Jones delves deep into the emotions behind the songs, talks how he's like Jimmy Conway in GoodFellas, reveals his favorite movies, and so much more.
Do you feel like you're picking up where you left off on Pray IV Reign with Capo?
This record feels a little bit different than what I've been usually doing. It's a little more aggressive, but I definitely have some good music. I'm excited about this record, and I haven't really been excited about music in the past couple of years. For me to really get excited about the music I'm doing now, it feels good.
Did you want to bring people a little closer to New York with these songs? You display the city prominently in the "Blow Your Smoke" video.
You've got to showcase where you're from, especially when you come from New York. There's no other city like this in the world so that's a bonus. It's always good for the backdrop. I'm not trying to do anything too special. I'm just keeping it "New York" and doing the things we like to do.
What's the story behind "Perfect Day?" What does that song mean to you?
It's a little bit of a different type of record for myself. I was in the studio with Logic trying to do something different, and that's what I came out with. I love "Perfect Day;" it's one of my favorite records that I've done this year. It's really creative. It looks it's doing pretty well at radio right now. I'm not mad [Laughs]. It's for the "pop" culture.
Is storytelling important for you?
It's always important to put an image across with the song. People have something in their minds to look at. You try to put them in the place that you're at. That's what I try to do with my music.
What encouraged that experimentation on "Perfect Day?"
It's definitely cool. I like it. It's my music anyways. I'm a little bit more biased than anybody else [Laughs]. However, "Perfect Day" is the shit. It's one of those records that can go over like an old school "Lean On Me" record.
Did you have one vision for Capo from start to finish or did it come together song by song in the studio?
Capo actually started shaping up over the past two months. I've been recording for the past year. I've got probably almost 70 songs done for my album alone amongst everything else I've been doing. In these past two months, I've really been making some incredible music that fits my persona and my character. It makes me feel that it'll be inspirational for people to listen to and grasp and put them in a different frame of mind.
What encouraged you to get more aggressive in certain places?
Bouncing back from the recession kind of encouraged that. There's a lot of hustling going on, not just from me but from everybody. When you hustle, you have to be aggressive if you're trying to get that money.
Do you feel like directing and acting come from a different creative space than music?
It all comes from pretty much the same space, but it depends on what I'm doing to put me in that frame of mind and block everything else out. So if I'm acting, I'm straight acting; I'm trying to get there. If I'm doing music, I'm trying to think about the best things I could say and the best words and phrases I could use to describe what I want to talk about.
If you were to compare Capo to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Goodfellas! I think I would be Jimmy Conway [Laughs]. It's just the way he carried himself from the beginning of the movie to the end—he came in tipping everybody, flossing, and had great luck. Robert De Niro's a great actor. You can't take anything away from him.
What are some of your favorite movies?
300, Menace II Society, Troy, New Jack City, Boyz 'N the Hood, The Art of Seduction is a dope move. I like a lot of movies but those are some that always stay on my radar as well Scarface and Batman. There are a lot of lessons in 300 always.
It's important for any art to have a message. That's how it becomes classic.
What other projects are coming up?
Well, I've got a reality show that airs next month. You can go to FUSE on-demand and look at Jim Jones TV. I'm finishing the album, and I'm working on The Diplomats album. I'm about to teach my eight-week curriculum again. I'm about to do a workout DVD. I'm working on a hotel. There's a lot of shit [Laughs].
You are a true hip hop renaissance man.
Let's see if it all cashes in [Laughs].
Does Capo have anymore spiritual songs?
Definitely! You've always got to spirituality in your music, so you definitely that aspect. My life is about being spiritual. It's great to speak to people through music, especially when people feel like they've been in your position and they've been through what you're talking about. You give them that much more hope.
Are you excited for Capo on April 5, 2011?