Jim Jones introduces Byrd Gang

New album set for release Tuesday

NEW YORK -- Rapper and Diplomat Records CEO Jim Jones is introducing his new rap group, Byrd Gang, through the debut album, "M.O.B.," due Tuesday via Asylum. The MC also is prepping his as-yet-untitled Columbia debut album, slated for September.

Byrd Gang comprises Jones along with MCs Mel Matrix, NOE, Freekey Zekey, Sandman, Oshy and producer Chink Santana. First single "S.p.l.a.s.h." features fellow Diplomats member Juelz Sanatana. Consumers who purchase "M.O.B." via iTunes will receive six bonus tracks. Jones also said a second single is on the way in the next few weeks.

"There's a record called "Byrd Gang Money' that I never serviced but it's playing in clubs up and down the East Coast," Jones said. "I'm going to shoot that video along with the 'Mr. Good Stuff' video, which is the first single off my Columbia album, and release them together."

For his Columbia debut, Jones has already hit the studio with Rick Rubin, Chink Santana, No ID, Supa Dave, Ron Brownz and Chris Styles. The MC was previously signed to Koch before landing at Columbia last year, where he's shaping up to be their star artist. Jones said he's taking the new attention and responsibility in stride.

"Nothing really makes me nervous but God and the dentist," Jones said. "It's just a different and better hustle for me. There's more opportunity. Lil Wayne came out two weeks ago and I don't see anybody in my way at all."

Jones added that contemporary MCs wouldn't struggle with record sales if they just gave consumers interesting all-inclusive packages, from distinctive music to personality.

"You've got Wayne selling 1 million units and that shows that people are ready to spend money on good music," Jones said. "If you're not special, they won't be impressed to go into the store and buy into your lifestyle. That's why they don't have your record in their house and they pull that sh*t off the Internet."

While Diplomats member Cam'ron, who has been absent from the hip-hop scene in the past year, isn't on the album, Santana will definitely make an appearance. "No, there won't be any Cam, which is a shame," Jones said. "But you know, we've got to keep it moving."

Jones' sophomore solo album, "Hustler's P.O.M.E.," has moved 434,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.