Get out the pastel-colored clothing, square-shaped earrings, and pink cell phone. Forget Santa. The Diplomats are coming to town!
While many hip-hop aficionados may argue otherwise, Harlem’s Diplomats do not continuously go platinum on accident. The sped-up samples of the Heatmakerz production, the catchy hooks, and the street-wise jingles have garnered the Diplomats a Star Wars-like cult following – with half of hip-hop standing around in Easter colored purples and pinks waiting for the next “Dipset!” chant.
Following the immense success of last year’s double album Diplomatic Immunity, the boys-in-pink return with their second official mixtape offering, Diplomatic Immunity 2, which sees not only the starting lineup of the Dipset intact (Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, and Jim Jones), but also puts faces and voices to the names Cam shouts proudly over every Dip anthem (Hell Rell, J.R. Writer, 40 Cal, Jha Jha, S.A.S.). And while, to their credit, many of the Dip members try standing out on their merits and do not look to ride in the backseat of Cam’s pink Range Rover to success, little gets accomplished outside of a few surprises and the usual Dipset commercial attempts.
The baby of the Diplomats Juelz Santana teams up with the baby-voiced sped-up sample of the Treblemakers production team on “S.A.N.T.A.N.A.,” a track that Dip fans will surely fall in love with and Dip haters will look to as proof as the team’s downfall. And as Juelz repeatedly screams out, “I’m baaack,” it’s noticeably hard to imagine when he actually ever left in the first place.
“Everybody welcoming this, welcoming that, He wasn’t welcome in the first place, how we welcome him back?” Juelz continues on “Take ‘Em to Church,” which pairs him with Cam’ron on their ode to fellow Harlem rapper-turned-pastor Mase. None too happy with his “resurrection” back into the hip-hop game, Cam takes the time to give the reverend a freshening-up on his street knowledge and catches him up with what’s gone on in his absence.
Aside from Cam and Juelz though, Diplomatic Immunity 2 showcases the lesser-knowns of Dip fame, which succeeds on 40 Cal’s punchline-heavy “40 Cal” and J.R. Writer’s appearances but fails catastrophically elsewhere.
“Broke n----s lying still, I’ll leave ‘em lying still, You got a watch? You dead, that’s time to kill,” 40 Cal spits on his lone effort on the mixtape, adding a sped-up and hungry voice to the usually toned-down and monotonous voices of the Dip crew. And J.R. Writer’s similar lyrically-inclined efforts on tracks like “Stop-N-Go” and “Family Ties” only begs an answer to the question: Did he really just say that?
Not all is good in Harlem though, as Jim Jones and S.A.S. team up for the horribly-outdated sounds of “Dutty Clap” before S.A.S. also lowers their stock with Cam on “So Free.” Hell Rell is clearly not a full-time rapper - just check “Wouldn’t You Like To Be Gangsta Too?” And the annoyingly high-pitched femcee Jha Jha is not to Dip what Remi Martin is to the Terror Squad – not even close.
Throw in the Cam’ron and Juelz mixtape favorites’ collection (“Bigger Picture,” “Dead Mutha----ers,” and the terrible remake of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”) and Diplomatic Immunity 2 rounds outs to be about what hip-hop might expect from the Diplomats – top heavy with Cam and Juelz and a modest showing from the rest of the clique.
Whether in pink and purple, or just in simple black and white, Diplomatic Immunity 2 is hardly even comparable to the first installment of the series. And with Cam’ron’s Purple Haze in the immediate future anyway, Dip fans may be better suited in a purple fitted cap and pink T than in a walkman with Diplomatic Immunity 2 loaded into the headphones.