By Shaheem Reid
NEW YORK — Following an alleged fight with a member of Ne-Yo's entourage, Jim Jones said Monday morning (January 5) he's fortunate to be a free man.
"I guess I got lucky," Jones said after coming out of Manhattan's 18th Precinct. "I got a DAT." Jones was issued a Desk Appearance Ticket instead of a trip behind bars for the misdemeanor assault charge.
The altercation took place at the Fifth Avenue Louis Vuitton store, where police say Jones punched and kicked someone who was traveling with Ne-Yo. Although police have yet to release the victim's name, Internet reports have widely identified him as a man named Vaughn, the brother of Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith, who works with Ne-Yo. Ty Ty is the longtime best friend and colleague of Jones' lyrical nemesis, Jay-Z.
"I don't know what this is for," Jimmy said when asked about the fight. "All I know is I was shopping. I don't know what happened.
"How my LVs [Louis Vuitton logos] look?" the Diplomat Capo, wearing a Louis V scarf, asked. "They say it was an incident at the store, but I don't know." Monday morning on Power 105.1 in New York, Jones' mother called up to speak to morning radio host Ed Lover. Mrs. Jones acknowledged the altercation and called for peace in the hip-hop community.
"I'm tired of all these rappers not doing their jobs," she vented. "They're getting into all types of crazy stuff. ... Your job is called 'rapping' for the audience, for the people. Get paid, and take your behind home."
When asked specifically what took place at the Louis Vuitton store, she said she didn't have all the information, but just the fact that an incident took place has taken its toll.
"It ain't too hot," Mrs. Jones offered. "Everybody's worried."
Jim Jones said the altercation gave him another sobering look at his life and career.
"Being a gangsta rapper or a 'hardcore' rapper, you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place," he said. "It's a thin line, because there's things I've done in my career to get where I am today, and I've benefited off it. For me to make a transition and take my career to the next level, there's some things I can't obviously do anymore. What I mean by that is, you play the tough guy and put yourself into those positions, and things can happen. You end up like this, [with] a big inconvenience.
"Sometimes the notoriety works in your favor, but I shouldn't be here at this point," he continued. "As long as no one is physically doing something to you or being that much of an aggressor, sometimes you can let these things go. I've grown to realize that, and I see it's not gonna be the same for me as far as my travels in this industry. My last few situations, it seems like I've ended up in jail and people have used that as a way to put civil suits on me. That's the new wave of getting money. They say snitching is big business."
Jones has to appear in court February 4, a little less than two weeks before his next LP, Pray for Reign, hits stores February 20. The Harlem native says he's ready to put the latest incident behind him.
"I really think I'm standing in the way of my own self," he said. "I don't believe it's nobody else but me that's gonna f--- my career up, and I don't wanna see that happen. ... I'm done with beefs this year. I'm just gonna become a rapper. I'm just like Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer. I am a rapper. Leave me alone. I am defenseless. It's to a point now if you slap me and I slap you back, you'll be able to sue me.
"I'm Vanilla Ice right now," he reiterated with a chuckle. "I'm a rapper."