Best Fall from Local Rap Grace: The Diplomats


Those who spent this summer listening to New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” crank out of car stereos from Harlem to Brooklyn could be excused for feeling a bit sad. It wasn’t so long ago that we had our own indigenous ways of making SUVs (er, hybrids) thump—years after D-Block and Wu-Tang and Roc-a-Fella fell, New York still had the Diplomats: Cam’ron, the leader, prone to pink chinchilla coats and rhymes of dazzling internal intricacy; Juelz Santana, the young heartthrob, whose casual delivery and tendency toward rhyming a word with the same word, over and over again, was itself a feat of charisma; Jim Jones, the braying capo with a stunning knack for catchphrases. They were flamboyant, and their records—the mixtape series Diplomatic Immunity; Cam’ron’s 2004 classic, Purple Haze—ruled New York. Until, that is, Cam’ron lost his mind. Feuds with two of the world’s richer and more talented rappers, Jay-Z and 50 Cent, ensued; then came the embarrassing, blustering YouTube videos, the public dissolution of the clique as Cam’ron went M.I.A. down in Florida last summer, and, going on over a year now, total silence. Cam, guys—what happened?

More from the Voice‘s Best of NYC 2008 here.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 17, 2008

Archive Highlights