The rapper who proclaimed himself "Harlem's Greatest" is back with his first new album since 2000's "S.D.E. (Sports, Drugs and Entertainment)." He's been bouncing around the industry for a minute now on a few different labels; starting with Lance 'Un' Rivera's own Undeas/Untertainment label (the same place Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Lil' Kim got their start) and finally winding up on Roc-A-Fella Records. You heard right - Cam's running crew now includes the likes of Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z and Memphis Bleek.
Odds are this will be one of the most successful artist/label pairings of the entire year. Cam'Ron has always been a charismatic rap artist; even when he made ironic statements like "I'm a businessman, I ain't tryin to be lyrical" on the song "Let Me Know." If you sign with the Roc though you best be serious about lyrics (unless your name is Amil) so to prove his chops Cam duets with Jay-Z on "Welcome to New York City," with a stellar beat produced by Just Blaze:
"It's 'La Cosa Nostra', someone close approach ya
They'll toast ya gopher, bread loaf ya chaffeur
Hold coke, they raise up and snort
Blaze up ya forts; Jay, Puff, Shyne cases distort
Midnight pitched fights, another victim"
Music has always been Cam's biggest stumbling block. He's got a slow-flow like his former b-ball partner Ma$e, but without the impossible to decipher mush-mouthedness and lisp. Since his diction is clear and his low pitched vocal tones are likeable, he just needs good beats to bring them out. This is another advantage of Cam signing with the Roc. Besides the aforementioned Just Blaze, Cam works with the likes of Ty Fyffe, Kanye West, and D R Period for beats on this album; creating a slamming assembly of b-boy beats ranging from smooth to hard. Highlights include the first single "Oh Boy", "The ROC (Just Fire)" with Sigel and Bleek, the reminiscing slow groove "Tomorrow" and the tinkling pianos of "Daydreaming" featuring Tiffany.
It's not all great though. "Live My Life" tries to rework Tupac Shakur's "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" over the same beat, but probably should have left well enough alone. The same goes for the album's title track, whose beat you may recognize as the interlude from a Ghostface album. Even if Ghost condoned it, it still comes across as an uninspired musical choice. Cam'Ron also give a lot of shine to his homeboy Juelz Santana on this album. Love is love, but he's on almost half of the songs - this is supposed to be Killa Cam's album, not Santana's. For the beats though, and for some of Cam'Ron's best rhymes to date, "Come Home With Me" will be a summer anthem album for Harlemites and Roc-A-Fella Records ryders alike.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: May 14, 2002