In much of the way ATCQ never really saw serious "financial appreciation" for their jazzy/abstract sound. DJ Cam can be seen as going down that same "fruitless path". But of course, we can't truly measure the street fame that ATCQ received over the years because of their pioneering sound, either --we can only hope the same will be bestowed upon the funky Frenchman. Thus, Cam has come to bless the masses with The French Connection. A combination of Hip-Hop, Jazz, and a Ambiance, all fused together by the genius unleashed from DJ Cam's turntables. The selections on this release come from the Paris-based label, Artefact.
While this compilation does not (and is not supposed to, either!) play like your regular mix and remixed throwdown from a label, it does put your headnoddin" into a special groove. "We We," and all that good stuff! After stumbling upon Mad Blunted Jazz a couple of years ago, I knew that there was another side to the Hip-Hop massive, if you will, that I had not been let in on. Not only is there a different vibe flowing threw the artist overseas, but there has got to be a different agenda as well. Samples aren't blatant rapes of another artist's work, different tempos within the same song are present, and not everyone wants to bling-bling with a rented female, car, boat, house, pool, clothing line, set, dog... et cetera, etc.
The music that was spliced, molded and Techniced (you feel me!) for this session flows like a perfectly placed score. Not some choppy soundtrack jams, but a score providing you with mood and emotion. From the opening track where the bells actually toll and Gang Starr's Guru informs you as to what time it really is. Emphasized by the soultry vocals in the Mighty Bop remix of "Garance." Doctor. L's "Underwater Rhymes" and "Life of Fortune & Fame" supply the traditional Hip-Hop approach to lyrics by a DJ via nifty samples served up by the DJ on duty for the hour. Dialogue snippets from Daddy Rich a.k.a. Richard Pryor (Car Wash), to classic lines from Digital Underground's Humpty Hump supply you with a simple narrative of where the money should go... "Right here in my pocket!"
The end of Connection actually plays as a good-bye of sort. "One of These Days" comes out like the build-up just before the really good part is abut to take place. Where the jazzy vocals just carry you along, and into the bass laden "Latitudes." Again, jazzy vocals, but different in that the music is not traveling across the ocean like the preceding. This one here is a battle of the bands half-time show during Circle City Classic (If only I could get a translation for this one, cause the French is lovely).
When looking at a DJ Cam project, know that you are not getting your usual generic dosage of everyday Hip-Hop. You will be receiving something special. As you have been told before..."Free your turntable and your scratch will follow."
Music Vibes: 10 of 10 Artist Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10
Originally posted: April 10, 2000