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14 June, 2006@12:00 am

    Cam’ron has always been an artist that fascinated this writer, because he’s a perennial “should’ve been”.  He’s the rapper equivalent of L.A. Clippers swingman Corey Maggette.  Here’s a guy that, on paper, has all the tools to be great: played under a great coach in a great system, has size and quickness, he can take you off the dribble and can get to the hoop, his jumper is mechanically sound, and he can jump out the building.  Despite this, he’s always coming off the bench.  You could blame his D, but let’s face it: defense is non-existent in the NBA today, so it’s almost a moot point (Steve Nash’s D is atrocious and he’s won the MVP two years running).  But every now and then, after long stretches of nothing, he’ll rise to his potential, like this year’s NBA playoffs when he roasted the favored Denver Nuggets in Round 1, causing fans across the country to collectively scratch their heads.  Where’d that come from and where has it been the last seven years?

    Cam is just like that.  He’s obviously got skills behind the mic, but he always under-achieves.  But it’s no accident; it’s intentional.  Seems to be he could care less what people think of his lyrics, just as long as he can sell records.  To do that, he’ll say whatever the listeners want to hear (which is strange because apparently people want hear exclusively about him and his money).  More often than not, he can resort to picking a hot beat, writing a catchy, yet nonsensical, hook, and surrounding it with whatever he wants to say to kill time for the verses.  Whether the verses make a coherent point, make any sense, or have been said before, doesn’t really matter.  Millions amongst the music-buying public will still eat it up.  Business-wise, who can blame him?  This is incredibly savvy. Sell twice the units for half the effort.  Cam and the Dipset camp can milk this forever.  Artistically?  It’s flat-out unimaginative and unoriginal.  The beats are there (they always are for Dipset), but the lyrics get boring during the course of the album.  Cam has a one-track mind (i.e. he talks about himself a lot), which has allowed Juelz to pass him as the most interesting member of the crew, mostly because it’s slightly easier to listen to an album entirely about the crack game than an album entirely about some guy’s wealth and sexual exploits.  But maybe that’s just one fan’s opinion.

    Killa Season sticks to the tried-and-tested Cam formula.  A handful of clever verses here and there, some nice beat contributions, both in-house and outsourced, and a whole crap load of braggadocio.  The ghetto lullaby gone horribly wrong (“He Tried To Play Me”), the predictable and repetitive “Get Ya Gun”, and the uninspired “Girls, Cash, Cars” (you’ll never guess what the hook is) show that Cam has officially reached a “I can spit my grocery list and still go gold” mindset.  The better tracks feature other mainstream heavyweights (“Touch It Or Not” featuring Lil’ Wayne, “We Make Change” featuring Juelz Santana), if only because you get a second opinion.  The eyebrow raiser is “You Gotta Love It”, Cam’s attack on rival Jay-Z.   Nothing too spectacular here, except that he stoops to a new low and brings up Beyonce.  Whether that’s enough to stir Jay into retaliating, we’ll see.  Supposedly Cam wrote this diss prior to Jay’s “I Declare War” concert earlier this year in anticipation of being the next Summer-Jam-screen victim.  But when Jay flipped the script, instead mending riffs with Nas and completely ignoring Cam, dude was left with an unused diss.  Guess he decided to release it anyway.  Does he come off kinda desperate?  You tell me.  Either way, the track’s mediocrity is representative of the entire album. 

  Mixtape D.L.
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