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The Quiet Return of Cam’ron


If there was any doubt as to who is the true weirdo of Dipset, Cam’ron’s recent return in the form of a weird, near-Andy Kaufman-like video and two equally bizarre songs (‘Glitter’ and ‘Just Us’) should settle things. Jim Jones is hanging out with Rick Rubin and Juelz Santana is showing up on good but sorta “meh” songs like DJ Khaled’s ‘Brown Paper Bag’. Other than Hell Rell’s wonderfully retarded album cover, the obnoxious flair that made me love Dipset is gone, until now, with this recent wave of purposefully underwhelming and depressive Cam stuff.

In the aforementioned video, Cam literalizes his absence by compiling a bunch of faked “Cam sightings” videos, making himself like some kind of Rap Sasquatch or something. The videos are obviously fake and really hilarious as the cameraman in pretty much everyone of them, is like “Yo, that’s Cam!”. Be it Cam talking to a friend at like 1 in the afternoon next to a kinda crappy car or grabbing the ass of a kinda fat chick, this is obviously supposed to be funny. Later in the video, the cameraman chases Cam to a rooftop and Cam proceeds to pop-up like the goddamn Batman and shoot the guy! Perhaps the best part is towards the end, as we see Cam’ron in Halloween-style Army Fatiques (with helmet!) aimlessly wandering around a graveyard, as a chopped-up-so-he-says-bad-things audio file of the President plays and then segues into the fucking theme from the A-Team! It’s really great and it’s also fun in the way that it really plays around with Cam’s image as a fallen rap-soldier and a guy who has lately, out of embarrassment avoided the spotlight.

Cam has totally embraced the image everyone now has of him, as this wounded, in-over-his-head rapper that maybe ruined his career in un-winnable beefs, embarrassing Youtube taunts, and silly ‘60 Minutes’ interviews. God only knows what is truly in the heart of Cameron Giles but all of that stuff to me, seemed like classic Dipset pranksterism that because people took it seriously at all, got a little out of control and now, rather than fight it or try to over-explain himself, Cam’s “comeback” is in the form of playing off his damaged ego, dodgy musical output, and hints of being batshit crazy.

On that first leaked track ‘Glitter’, he’s heard ending his chorus with “I shine…” in a way that’s like Al Bundy recalling his Polk high days without totally giving in to resignation because it’s still “I shine” and not “I shined”, you know? The chorus, spoken by “a two year old in a diaper…filled with shit” who asks why he’s wearing so much jewelry is a pretty weird way of reminding listeners that he’s got a lot of diamonds: To a two-year old, diamonds and shit probably look pretty silly, so it’s sort of subtly mocking. The detail that the diaper is “filled with shit” is unnecessary but adds a reality that plays against but ultimately works along with Cam’s cartoonish persona. For the first leaked track from your mixtape, to sound so down and continually return to this image of something filled with shit all over a really great beat, that is sort of slow, almost ambient-sounding with drums that certainly sound defeated, is telling.

The track that seemed to pop-up yesterday, ‘Just Us’ sounds even more desperate, based on a sample of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. The Journey song has been forever recontextualized by the series finale of ‘The Sopranos’ and Cam is playing into that at least a little bit…this image of a getting a little older, made too many mistakes, sorta paranoid Tony Soprano would certainly resonate with Cam. At the same time, it fits right in-line with Dipset’s long history of sampling out-there, super-obvious songs. A few people made snarky jokes about how it probably wasn’t a good idea for Cam to name his first leaked track after a song that is synonymous with Mariah Carey’s initial fall from grace but again, I can’t help but think Cam’ron is aware of this and playing off of it; Cam is either in or creating the image that he’s in his ‘Glitter’ period.

On ‘Just Us’, Cam somehow reaches into that Journey song and pulls-out an appropriate amount of sadness. Jones, Juelz and whoever else is/was in Dipset can all make good or fun songs and they can do hilarious or weird but it’s really only Cam that has the talent or the awareness to throw in some really affecting stuff as well. The image of it just being “just us” contains that heart-on-the-sleeve, end-of-the-world romance that Journey lifted from Springsteen and moved it into the world of melodrama, Cam grabs onto it and takes it even further. That first verse where he describes meeting the woman “who hates a pusha” is straight out of Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’ or something and Cam’s lists of the woman’s problems are well-wrought: breast cancer, son has sickle cell, etc. The whole song is full of lines and details like this that I won’t take the time to explain (just listen to the song!) but it’s all weirdly affecting and darkly funny. The emotion and comedy is best conflated when he describes Brenda, who is 31 (is there a sadder, more-real age than 31??) and then says he “gave her a sanchez, yeah a dirty one” and like that, anything you maybe felt about the song is changed. Cam is purposefully making himself look like an ass, playing with recent pop-culture images of self-destruction, and his own mistakes and making failure a new part of his persona.

Written by Brandon

October 31st, 2007 at 7:33 pm

2 Responses to 'The Quiet Return of Cam’ron'

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  1. Brilliant, cheers, I will bookmark you later.

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    12 Jun 12 at 3:11 am

  2. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems
    as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?


    6 May 13 at 11:45 pm

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