Jim Jones Reflects On Stealing "Ballin!" Ad-Lib From Tupac
Following the release of his excellent El Capo project, Jim Jones sat down with Brian Miller and Elliott Wilson for an episode of Tidal's "Rap Radar" podcast. Given the extensive runtime of each conversation, there tends to be plenty to unpack in a given installment. Case in point, Jones' reflection on facilitating the Jay-Z and Cam'ron reunion at Webster Hall made for an interesting standalone tale. Yet there's more where that came from. Not long after speaking on that, Jones lamented the inherent dangers of the rap game, emphasizing the pitfalls of flagrant spending.
"That ballin' habit is a fucked up habit," says a stone-faced Jones. "It's worse than doing crack cocaine, spending money." Jim Jones and Miller point out that Will Smith ran through his first million, after shutting it down in the Gucci store. "I know how it is, cause I was doing the same thing," admits Jones. Miller proceeds to pose an interesting question. "Do you feel responsible for a little bit of that culture?" he asks. "Cause you created 'Ballin!'" For those who don't know, "Ballin" is one of Jones' most famous ad-libs, as first introduced on 2006's Hustler's P.O.M.E.
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"I didn't create 'ballin,'" corrects Jones. "I stole that ad-lib from Tupac." He shrugs. "Let's talk about it. If the people really know hip-hop and hip-hop history, they would know the ballin' ad-lib is a Tupac ad-lib. He been sayin' 'ballin'. On numerous records. But I'm an avid Tupac fan." When Miller points out that Jones popularized it in a modern era, Jones laughs. "Shit, Tupac popularized it when he was poppin!" he says. "He was going four times platinum! I never went four times platinum records! I wanted everything Tupac had. I guess that's the way the ball bounces."
Jones proceeds to break down the science of influence, explaining that a student of the game takes bits and pieces from everywhere. "Slick Rick [said] that ad-libbing is one of the most important parts of doing a record," he says. "Tupac also." Clearly, Jim Jones has only sharpened his practice in time, as evidenced by some of his recent El Capo ad-libs: "SPOOKY!!!!!"
Check out the full episode below.