Jim Jones was one of the original rappers to do reality TV in the early days of Love & Hip-Hop, but he doesn’t have many kind words for the current state of the series he helped make a household name.
These days, it seems hard to find an artist who hasn’t at least been rumored for a reality TV series, but Jim Jones was one of the pioneers, when he and Chrissy Lampkin tackled the premiere seasons of Love & Hip-Hop. While Jones isn’t finished with reality TV, he feels the landscape has definitely changed over the past few years, and he shared his thoughts on the new crop of shows– including the latest Love & Hip-Hop– with Jenny Boom Boom.
As something of an elder statesman of the hip-hop reality show game, Jones feels many of the shows on the air today focus too much on manufactured drama and exploitation, which damages the image of the TV and music genres. “You see a lot of imitations, but it’s not the real thing,” he said of the current crop of reality shows. “Reality TV is just different. When I first started this years ago with the pilot, people thought I was crazy. Rappers thought I was crazy. They said ‘You’re doing reality TV? You’re falling off, you’re just looking for a check.’ And now everybody and their mama are doing the same thing I’ve done– literally.”
Jones is not watching the current season of Love & Hip-Hop, but that’s nothing new for the rapper. “I don’t watch my own show when it’s on TV, so I’m definitely not watching Love & Hip-Hop. I don’t know what’s going on, I read on Twitter and the blogs and stuff, and people have been asking for Chrissy to come back… that’s their thing– they’ve gotta figure that out.”
The Dipset rapper goes on to admit he’s not impressed with what has happened to Love & Hip-Hop since he left after Season Two. “The show has been giving out checks to people who are willing to put everything on the life just to bump their head on the floor, and that’s not what we’re into,” he explained. “When we started this, it wasn’t about that, it was about giving people a taste of what it is to be involved with a person like myself, not just in front of the camera but behind the camera– looking and repping life and going through what everybody else goes through.”
“What we have here is nothing but a new Flavor of Love. It’s a bunch of Flavor Flav’s on TV,” he continued. “I ain’t really into that– it’s comical, I guess, it’s good for a laugh. But I don’t like people laughing at me, I like them laughing with me.”
Jones admits that reality TV can be a wise move for an artist to get or keep their name out there, but like the music industry, artists need to be careful they don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. “We’re not pressed to do reality TV– although it is a great business move as far as marketing and promotion– but we’re not gonna compromise who we are just for a shot at the big screen,” Jones said. “These people are selling their soul for peanuts, for this kind of like black exploitation, in a way.”
–Bill Sencio, Hot 93.7/ Hartford