Jim Jones On My Way To Church

Jim Jones’ transition from Cam’ron’s hype man to MC, happened after Cam signed to Roc-a-Fella records. Jim distinguished his style with verses about police raids, drug-addicted relatives and crack sales in project building lobbies. He’s at his best when painting lyrical pictures of Harlem and the fast and hard times he had there. Rapping about the foulness of his borough seems to be effortless and therapeutic for Jim Jones. On his debut album he balances Cam’ron’s bravado and Santana’s comedy, with candid expression about Harlem blocks. The Heatmakers, who produced DipSet Anthem, give Jim two ambitious tracks on "Jamaican Joint” and "End of the Road,” which blend chopped vocal samples, organs licks, and punchy drums that fit like a glove for Jim and his guests. "Shotgun Fire” spreads plush electric horns over hard drum rolls where Jim’s narrative is about avoiding fatal gunfire, firing back, dusting himself off and getting back on the paper chase. His party songs like "Spanish Fly” and "Stretch n Bend” hurt the album because they are formulaic and stale. "Certified Gangsta” showcases how clever gangsta shit can be as Jim and Cam remake Easy E’s classic "Boyz N the Hood.” When Jim Jones is in his Harlem state of mind, he becomes a lyrical tour guide. This realism to Jones and escapism to this listener also contributes to the lack of range on On My Way To Church. (Koch)