|Origin||New York City, New York, US|
The Diplomats (also known as Dipset) is an American hip hop group formed in 1997 by childhood friends Cam'ron and Jim Jones in Harlem, New York. The group was originally composed of Cam'ron, Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey, all of whom grew up together in Harlem. In 1999, fellow Harlem-based rapper Juelz Santana joined the group.
In the year 2001, following Cam'ron's signing, the group secured a recording contract with Def Jam and Brooklyn-bred rapper Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella Records. They subsequently began recording their debut album, Diplomatic Immunity, and released it under the aforementioned labels in March 2003. Following tensions and controversy between Cam'ron and Jay-Z, the group severed ties with the labels and signed to indie record label Koch Records. The group released their second album Diplomatic Immunity 2, in November 2004 under Koch. After a hiatus because of artistic differences, in 2010 the original members began recording music together again and announced a reunion album. In February 2011, it was announced they had signed with Interscope Records. However, in May 2013, Freekey Zekey revealed they were no longer signed to Interscope. The group is currently signed to E1 Music.
The first commercial appearance of the group was on Cam'ron's 2000 album S.D.E., released on Epic Records. Cam'ron eventually demanded a release from Epic, and signed with Roc-A-Fella Records, then owned by his childhood friend Damon Dash. Cam'ron released his third album, Come Home with Me through Roc-A-Fella. The album featured numerous guest appearances from Juelz Santana and Jim Jones. The lead singles were platinum hits "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma", which both featured Santana. The album served as both an introduction to The Diplomats and a stepping stone for the rest of the group to be signed to Roc-A-Fella.
The Diplomats followed Cam'ron's solo album shortly after with their debut album Diplomatic Immunity released in 2003, which featured a remix of "Hey Ma", as well as the lead single, "Dipset Anthem", produced by Heatmakerz which peaked at #64 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The double-disc album was a success and quickly became certified gold by RIAA less than two months after its release. By the time of the release of their 2004 followup, Diplomatic Immunity 2, additional members Hell Rell, 40 Cal., and J. R. Writer had joined the group. They eventually added Jay Bezel, comedian Katt Williams, and female first lady, Jha Jha. In 2006, Jim Jones created his own person skating team, called Dipskate.
In mid-2007, rumors began to circulate that the Diplomats had many rifts and disagreements with each other, specifically between Cam'ron and Jim Jones. When Jones and Juelz Santana appeared on stage at a concert with 50 Cent -- with whom Cam'ron was engaged in a feud at the time -- it seemed as if the group had split. However, in a later interview, 40 Cal. hinted that while the dynamic of the group is likely beyond repair, there may be further collaboration. Juelz Santana also spoke on a future collaboration, but stated that at the time, Cam'ron seemed to be the only obstacle, while also stating that though his contract was sold to Def Jam, he had no hard feelings towards his former boss.
In a September 2008 interview, Hell Rell stated that he no longer has a contractual obligation to Cam'ron or Jim Jones. Within the interview, Juelz also stated that he is still on speaking terms with the members of the group, and didn't feel that they were holding him back, but he did feel the "mainstream" wasn't crediting him as notably as he had hoped. In a later interview, he stated that he felt the other members of the group were not as focused as him, while also stating there was selfishness within the group. He also stated he wanted to focus more on his solo career.
Following this, almost all former members of The Diplomats formed their own groups. In 2007, 40 Cal. started "Skeme Team", while Freekey Zekey formed the "730 Dips", and started a record label of the same name, "730 Dips Records", while also joining fellow Diplomats' member Jim Jones' new group, "ByrdGang".
In 2008, Jim Jones cut ties with ByrdGang rapper and former Dipset affiliate Max B over a sequence of financial and ethical disputes. Jones and Max B became involved in a bitter feud, exchanging numerous diss tracks and constantly bad-mouthing each other on interviews.
In 2007, Jim Jones's Byrdgang member Stack Bundles was shot and killed on June 11 of that year.
In 2008, Juelz Santana started the "Skull Gang" which, when his contract was sold to Def Jam, also secured a deal that included the solo members. In 2009, Cam'ron started a new group called the U.N and Dipset West. In 2008, Hell Rell started Top Gunnas and J.R started Thundabyrdz.
In 2009, Cam'ron created the U.N. (Us Now), featuring himself and Vado. The group released one album, 2011's, Gunz n' Butta'.
In April 2010, Cam'ron and Jim Jones officially announced the end of their feud. In June 2010, the Dipset reunion began with a teaser titled "Under Construction" and a street single, "Salute", produced by AraabMuzik being released. The song features Jim Jones, Cam'ron and Juelz Santana. The remix features new Diplomat artist Vado with a verse added. In October 2010, after an interview at The Source Magazine Headquarters where Freekey Zekey insinuated that a Dipset deal with Interscope Records was possible by pointing to a magazine cover with Dr. Dre's picture (in addition to the revelation that the group has actually recorded with Dre), Freekey confirmed that the group would be signing a deal with the label: "The papers are not actually signed right now, but you could basically say it's going down," said Freekey in an interview with TheQuestion.com, when asked about the possibility of a deal with Interscope.
In January 2013, Juelz Santana indicated that the album was still coming. He would later also promise a new Diplomats single to be released "soon". The group hosted a reunion concert in New York on March 25, 2013 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Diplomatic Immunity's release.Waka Flocka Flame would also perform at the concert. In May 2013, Freekey Zekey revealed that the group was no longer signed to Interscope Records.
On March 18, 2014, J.R. Writer began his prison sentence at Ulster Correctional Facility, in New York. On May 15, 2014, the original members of The Diplomats reunited for a brand new single produced by Just Blaze and entitled "Dipshits". On May 30, 2014, J.R. Writer released a recorded phone call from the Ulster Correctional Facility, in which he is freestyling and dissing his former label-head Cam'ron, as well as Jim Jones and Dame Dash. This was theoretically in response to Cam'ron's "Dipshits" video, which had additional vocals from Dame Dash and DJ A-Trak.
On January 1, 2015 well known DJ Funkmaster Flex announced via his instagram that he had spoken to fellow Diplomat members Cam'ron, Jim Jones & Juelz Santana about an upcoming Diplomat's mixtape which included fellow member Freekey Zeekey. He also confirmed that he would be hosting the mixtape along with DJ's/Producers DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz & DJ Mustard. The following week, Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Freekey Zekey released a new track called "Have My Money". The track was released on Funkmaster Flex's show, on Hot 97.
On November 15, 2017, Jim Jones announced on his Instagram that a new Diplomats single was to be released that night, titled "Once Upon a Time", and featuring him and Cam'ron. On November 22, 2017, The Diplomats revealed on MTV's TRL that they would be releasing an EP along with a documentary in the near future. Later that night, the group performed a one night only reunion concert at the Manhattan Center, where they were joined by fellow New York group ASAP Mob.
In March 2018, Juelz Santana surrendered himself to police after fleeing a Newark Liberty International Airport when a loaded .38-caliber handgun was found in his bag. Cam'ron said on his Instagram that he, Jim Jones and Freekey Zeekey would continue touring while Santana was incarcerated, but also claimed Santana would be "home soon".
During the summer of 2018, The Diplomats went on a U.S. national tour entitled Dipset Forever. On October 8, 2018 Jim Jones confirmed Dipset would be releasing a new album titled Diplomatic Ties on November 22, 2018 (Thanksgiving Day) followed by a performance at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NY the next day.