The Diplomats, also popularly known as Dipset, are an American hip hop group founded in 1997 by Cam'ron and Jim Jones, in Harlem, New York City. The group was originally composed of members Cam'ron, Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey, all of whom grew up together in Harlem. In 1999, fellow Harlem-based rapper Juelz Santana was added to 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.
Career beginnings and success (1997-2006)
The first commercial appearance of the group was on Cam'ron's 2000 album S.D.E., released on Epic Records. During this period, various members of the original group consisting of Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Freekey Zekey, and others, were first signed together as a group to Roc-A-Fella Records from 2001 to 2004, though they are now signed to their own label, Diplomat Records. Each individual artist, however is signed to a different label, including E1 Music, Asylum, and Def Jam, among others.
The group came to further popularity in 2002 with the release of Cam'ron's third album, Come Home With Me. The lead singles were platinum hits "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma", which both featured group mate Juelz Santana. The group 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 lead single "Dipset Anthem" 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 under 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.
Artistic disagreements (2007–2009)
In mid-2007 rumors began to spread that the Diplomats have had many rifts and disagreements amongst each other, specifically 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 dispute 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 moment, Cam'ron seems to be the only obstacle, while also stating that though his contract was sold to Def Jam, he has 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 career.
In 2007, 40 Cal. started "Skeme Team", while Freekey Zekey formed the "730 Dips", started a record label of the same name, "730 Dips Records", while also joining fellow Diplomats' member Jim Jones new group, "ByrdGang".
Before 2009, those cliques started to form into real gangs. 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 (Violence and Drugs Only). The group has a debut album released in 2011, Gunz n' Butta'.
Diplomats reunion (2010–present)
In April 2010, Cam'ron and Jim Jones 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. 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 Magazineheadquarters 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 has confirmed that the group will be signing a deal with the label: "The papers are not actually signed right now [sic] but you could basically say it's going down," said Freekey in an interview withQTheQuestion.com, when prompted about the possibility of a deal with Interscope.
In February 2011, it was reported The Diplomats had signed a record deal with Interscope Records. They also revealed plans for a reunion album to be released under the label.
In January 2013 Juelz Santana indicated that the album was still coming. He would later promise a new Diplomats single would be coming 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 Diplomats reunited for a brand new single produced by Just Blaze and featuring DJ A-Trak, entitled "Dipshits". On May 30, 2014, J.R. Writer released a 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 an appearance from Jim Jones.
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 & stated that he will be hosting the mixtape along with DJ's/Producers DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz & DJ Mustard.