Even though he now lays his head in a plush suburban neighborhood, tucked safely across the water from his old stomping grounds on the uptown blocks of New York City’s Harlem, Jim Jones is still in tune with the pulse of the street. Jones has a new mixtape made especially for the hustlers and go-getters ready to be released, “It’s coming on 3/23, ‘The Ghost of Rich Porter.’ I got all original production on there; Byrd Gang is on there, Shawty Lo, Gucci Mane. I just felt the need to make recession music, you know records that’ll motivate you to want go out there and make money,” Jimmy tells The BoomBox from his private studio located indiscreetly near Manhattan’s garment district.
After running nearly an hour late, Jones has finally arrived to his last minute listening session and a group of anxious journalists are already several tracks into his latest creation. The mixtape pays homage to the infamous Harlem Drug Kingpin, but the essence of the music is much deeper than one man, “Rich Porter sent the precedent for the life that we wanted to live. He made Harlem look good and people look up to the whole borough. That’s what we do as rappers, even when Mase had his run. Everybody was forced to look at Harlem,” says Jimmy between puffs off a freshly rolled blunt. Jones recalls that through his early childhood days, adolescents, and even now he constantly hears and sees reminders of the impact that Rich Porter had on his neighborhood. It was the big jewelry, fast cash, shiny cars and allure of the good life that made Jim pay close attention at such a young age.
“I really felt like I was hustlin’ again when we recorded ‘The Ghost of Rich Porter.’ It really just brought me back to that time in my life,” Jones tells The BoomBox. There’s a mysterious grin that takes over the rapper’s face as he reminisces about his wild days running around the streets of Harlem doing whatever he could to make ends meat. Though it’s been quite sometime since Jim was searching for fortune on the street corner, the hustler inside him seems to have remained unscathed throughout the trials and tribulations of one Joseph Guillermo Jones II. Street life may be a thing of the past for Jimmy, but it’s clear that the streets will always be a part of him.