Cam’ron-Purple Haze (2004)

Killa Cam, leader of the New York rap outfit The Diplomats, is probably best remembered for his hit “Oh Boy” or, by anyone under the age of 17 or so, as the “U MAD” guy. Cam has a unique yet conventional style, and on his fourth studio album, Cam displays what made him one of the most prominent rappers in New York in the early to mid 2000’s.

The beats on the album are standard Dipset fare. Production is mostly sped up soul, chopped up classic rock and some surprises, like the Hill Street Blues theme being flipped to Harlem Streets. Musically, the album is all over the place. This makes for a convoluted, yet diverse sound. Get Down is a typical Dipset banger, while Girls is a suspect Cyndi Lauper sample (pause) that falls flat. Out of all the beats on the album, only about 2 of them aren’t Cam worthy, in contrast to tracks like More Reasons, which fit perfectly with Cam’s hectic rhyme patterns.

Cam’ron is lyrically solid on this album, with some tracks bordering on amazing. The aforementioned More Reasons exhibits Cam’s penchant for internal and end rhymes, as nearly every bar is packed with multis and alliteration. The beat simmers, then builds to Cam’s verses, followed by Jaheim on the chorus. The song slows down again, and hits you with another verse.

“Connect for life is, the Tech kept us righteous
Cause yes, expect the crisis, when it’s connects and prices.
I had to hustle harder, move up my mustle marger
Seen New Jack City, cop me a couple Carters”

Another stand out track is Cam’ron’s take on the Chicago classic Adrenaline Rush. An updated version of Twista and Buk’s Chi anthem, Cam adds his own verse over the Legendary Traxster beat. Cam shouts out K-Town & Pulaski, which will bring joy to any Chicagoans heart, while hearing Cam spit double time to match Twista. Not better than the original by any means, but still a worthy addition to the album. Plus, how many times do you get to see a member of Psychodrama anymore?

The one disappointing part about the album is the skits. There is too many, and they just are not as funny as Cam seemed to think they were. They break up the album at bad times and don’t really add anything but more running time. Girls, as I mentioned before, along with Shake seem out of place on this album as well. Although the album isn’t Infamous quality grimy street shit, these crossover hits still feel out of place on an album with numerous references to coke and dumping bodies on back streets.

Besides the skits and these two songs, Cam is on point throughout the album and raps about nothing in particular, but does so in a compelling way. The constant alliteration, multis and internal rhymes are great to hear, and lead me to believe that the only reason Cam isn’t considered one of the greats is his content. But hey, Cam’s a Harlem dude. Is he supposed to rap about starving children in Indonesia? Just holla at your boy boy and ride out man. DIPSET!


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