In case you missed it, Jim Jones and his long-suffering girlfriend Chrissy Lampkin have moved over from VH1’s Love and Hip Hop franchise to their own WEtv show Vow Or Never. Airing Thursdays at 10 p.m., the show attempts to answer the question we all have – will these two ever get hitched?
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If you remember, Jones, the linchpin in Harlem’s Dipset crew, along with Cam’ron and Juelz Santana, has been dating Lampkin for 11 plus years and the two have still not settled on a wedding date. If Jim’s mother Mama Jones has her way, that day will be in Neverary, as she, in true reality show tradition, is a meddling, enabling mother who just doesn’t have good boundaries.
We caught up with the Dipset capo recently to see what we could find out.
What can viewers look forward to this season on Vow Or Never?
It’s about me and Chrissy and my family. Same dynamic as people used to see us on television but of course you have the wedding in the midst of everything. We got a few crazy friends involved, my mama’s there, so it’s about what’s going on in our life right now.
So there is definitely going to be a wedding?
I don’t know – that’s something that you gotta watch.
You have three of the most important relationships of your life on public view – your fiancée, your mother and your best friend, Freaky Zeaky. Was that a difficult decision putting those relationships on TV for the world to see?
Nah, not really. It’s not nothing new. It’s our third show, so we’re used to cameras following us. We give the people a good chunk of whatever our reality’s like. We go through our ups and our downs but above all, we support each other and we love each other to the utmost.
A lot of people are rooting for you and Chrissy, but I’m sure you know reality shows can really mess up people’s relationships. Did you consider whether it would affect you guys in a negative way?
Nah, I wasn’t worried about the negative. When we started this, when I did Love and Hip Hop, when I put that whole show together, I understood what was at stake. Shout to everybody who made a bunch of money off me. But that’s how it is, that’s life. It’s no pressure.
You have a real relationship. This is nothing you’re faking for the cameras. You’ve been together for a while. Does it become a problem when y’all are going through something and have to do it in front of the world? Or do you have limits on what the cameras can show?
If I don’t feel like filming, I don’t feel like filming. I’m a man. For the most part, this is what you’re here for. Most of the reality shows are premeditated and scripted. They’re looking for people to jump off a roof just for a little bit of fame. This is real life that we’re living here and we do it because there’s a lot of people that’s lost in our generation, especially when it comes to Black relationships. We want to show people exactly what it is. It’s a real take on real life. Yeah, it’s added pressure when cameras are there and we might have just gotten into it like people do, but this is what we want people to get a taste of.
A lot of guys in hip-hop don’t even want people to know they’re in a relationship because it wasn’t the cool thing to do to be in love with somebody. You have guys out on the road doing whatever, and no one even knows they have a girl at home.
Cool is what you make it. Those people are insecure. I don’t know what other people do on the road, but I know that wherever I’m at in the world, my lady is on my mind. Everybody knows I have a woman. Hip-hop is so stereotypical that you might not see these people loving their women in public displays. But I do know a lot of hip-hop artists and businessmen in the hip-hop industry that do love their women and let people know that’s what’s going on. For me, the macho thing was always loving my lady.
What about having your mother on the show? Did you consider the impact of opening her up to public criticism? She’s not a TV character, this is your mom.
I mean, she’s my mom, man. I wanted my mom on a television show because I know what she brings to the table. What people have to say doesn’t really bother us. Nine times out of ten, those people wouldn’t say those things to my face, so I don’t care about that s-t.
Is the relationship between your mother and Chrissy as crazy as it seems or is it exaggerated for TV?
We don’t exaggerate. They go through what they go through and they fix it and move on.
So many people go through this in real life, though. Do you sometimes feel like you’re stuck in the middle between the two most important women in your life?
A hundred percent. But you have to find solutions and move on. You’re dealing with the lady that raised me and you’re dealing with the woman that’s helping me become a man. Two different people.
So any advice on how to handle that situation and keep both women happy?
Just smoke weed, you’ll be aight.
People know you and Chrissy are together, but people are also pretty bold when it comes to trying to get at people they find attractive, especially celebrities. Does that happen to you and Chrissy and how do you deal with it?
Nah, we don’t play that. Somebody do something like that, they’re going to get the s–t slapped out of them.
What’s going on the music front for you lately?
This summer I did a mixtape called The Kitchen, we shot a couple videos. We’re about to start recording my new album, it’s called The Ghost Of Rich Porter. (Porter is a legendary Harlem drug dealer). Still dealing with a bunch of artists trying to bring their rap games to reality.
Harlem hip-hop is showing some signs of life lately with A$AP Mob, Dave East, and Desiigner. After being on top of rap for so long, New York rap has kind of faded. What do you think of the new artists coming from the city?
No one is ever going to be able to bring Harlem back to what it used to be. That feeling is gone. They had to be there to catch that. But for the most part, these artists are bringing some new energy and great vibes to the table. Dave East reminds me of Dipset, 100%. He’s got that drive, he’s got that intelligence, he’s in the street, he got that savvy. Music revolves and evolves.
What do you think of the overall state of hip-hop after being in the game this long? Some old heads think what’s on the streets now is straight trash.
I feel like that sometimes, but I’m also a lover of music, and some of it is pretty poppin’ to me. But it seems like that’s all the kids are putting out today is that club music. But you can’t bump that all day. You can’t bump that in your car when you’re trying to think and get some peace of mind or you’re trying to get some great vibes, something for the brain, some brain work. These kids aren’t giving you that. They lack the bars and the substance that were going on in this industry. But at the same time, they also created a lane where you can get on the Internet and become a star without ever having to go on the radio. So I have to tip my hat to that.
Did you hesitate before doing reality TV because you thought it might hurt you in terms of your music career?
They were trying to get me to do a reality show for like 4, 5, years. At that time I had so much going on in my career. But it’s a lot. I’ve been in this s–t for a long time, I’m tired. You gotta reinvent yourself and come back to the table and come back to the table and keep the people loving you and keep the people intrigued. TV makes you more famous than anything.