Tag Archives: Killa Cam

Mixtape Review-The Program by Cam’ron

Mixtape Review-The Program by Cam’ron

by Dan-O

I may have been more excited for this mixtape than I have been for any all year. While people can consider Cam out of the spotlight, past his prime, whatever way you want to say rap has “passed him by” I disagree.  1. Rap hasn’t passed him it has embraced him. The new generation of eccentrically dressed weirdo rappers are very very Dipset. 2. Cam has been laying incredible guest verses for a while now:  see S.D.E. by Dave East featuring Cam, see Moving Weight Pt. 1 by Pete Rock & Smoke Dza. 3. What an artist does when the spotlight has passed is a very critical part of their career. It clarifies how much of what you loved about them was authentically present within or just came out when all the eyes did.

Given that Cam had been sharpening his sword and watching the game I figured he was ready to talk crazy again. The Program delivers! On the first song (It’s Killa) he tells the story of Ma$e calling him to bail him out of a tough spot in some ugly projects and Cam saving him by showing up strapped and making it known. Once the trouble passes Ma$e offers Cam a $100 and Cam feels insulted being a very profitable drug supplier. The song Coleslaw starts with “Kanye got on stage what he do? Play Jay-z out. What he do next? Check into the crazy house. F*&^ that you made a living talkin’ greasy, besides that man you Yeezy with the Yeezy’s! Be yourself you ain’t gotta go AWOL and F@*$ that Ye I been this way since Ye tall. If you regret it than dead it  but if you said you said it you meant what you said can’t tell me forget it, FORGET IT. I’m different I’m from a different type of hunger N_.” The immediate internet response probably views this as a washed up artist looking to trend but that ain’t Cam.

The Program reveals Cam’ron as the 1992 Charles Barkley of rap. That special kind of artist who gets to say exactly what he wants and survive it; laugh in the face of 50 Cent and Bill O’Reilly. He’s goofy enough to make Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time into Dime After Dime and absurd enough to use a fantastic Jus Blaze beat to make a song about kissing the mirror (Kiss Myself) but even the jokes let sincerity shine through. I love the first verse of Lean. He uses Bill Withers Lean On Me to floss drug tales but his beating heart is behind these stories.

“(Lean) They couldn’t understand me, now I find it ironic

I grew up with Big L, all I knew was ebonics

Jealousy, crack, greed, homicide and chronic

Where niggas catch a body, changed their name like the Sonics

It was hot like Phoenix

I used to look up at the Lennox Ave sign hand on my heart and pledge allegiance

Drama 15 years straight, nothing recent

But I’ma call the state for back pay, they owe me grievance

And you can’t knock that, block the block with the top back

Open up that Fanta, I got that”

If you listen to the 15 songs and shake your head because Cam is too much: Remember Game is too petty or the Curve skit is odd… you have a fair first reaction. Listen to it again and try to hear how sincere he is on U Wasn’t There. Keep in mind you might not ever find a new Cam.  Ask yourself honestly if you miss this kind of big anthemic NY hip hop production with sharp lyrical humor over it. By the third listen the questions will fade and you’ll just be grooving.

stream or download The Program below:



#Bandcampgold-Packs by Your Old Droog

Bandcampgold-Packs by Your Old Droog

by Dan-O

The most important thing to note when you hit play on Your Old Droog’s new album Packs is that this is not a freak occurrence. As special as the album is and as gifted as Droog’s flow is…New York has been bubbling for a while and now it is to be reckoned with.

Droog is clearly a part of the new three dimensional NY goon rap scene; stylistically a mixture of Ruff Ryder Anthem toughness and Purple Haze era Killa Cam. Roc Marciano is an example of this with his winding wordplay and unflappable screw face.  Westside Gunn has a voice and content horrifyingly & intensely engaging (doesn’t release bad songs EVER).

Droog is actually way less crazy than some of the other names mentioned. He’s a Ukranian-American kid from Brooklyn who loves hip hop more than anything. He sounds like early early Nas, in love with storytelling (see My Girl is a Boy) with a flow so smooth that Packs might be the most listenable rap album of 2017.

Most artists want their full length debut to act as a call to arms for their audience but if you press play on the last song, Winston Red, it gives you a road map to the kind of album this is. Droog doesn’t even feel he should have to do that. He imagines his audience as intelligent with pre-existing high standards. On Winston Red Droog casually tosses off “…won’t put it out till it’s some sh_t we really want to hear.” Even when he trips down memories of poverty and declares he “went from welfare to wealth everywhere” he does it in pocket, voice locked in like early Nasir. Not a hint of desperation. He is the kind of MC that doesn’t reach for lines he just goes and feels like he could keep blowing as long as you need him too.

The element of Droog’s music I find most relevant is the complete lack of sarcasm or irony. Packs is one of the few albums you’ll hear a 3rd Bass namecheck next to a Nas namecheck and not as a mean joke. Droog really lives the art.  Hip hop is full of too much wink wink nudge nudge faux gangsta imagery closer to Riff Raff than G Rap. Droog never says anything that isn’t in pursuit of the best verse for his street music. He jokes and namechecks but he’s not playing you.  Listen to Grandma’s Hips and you’ll understand the earnestness, and witness one of the only times Danny Brown didn’t murder someone on their track. Rapman is another highlight with a great beat by 88 Keys. I would love to ask him about referring to Lyor Cohen in the song as Lex Lyor, this no doubt has to do with Lyor’s creation of the 360 deal.  The production throughout is as smooth and jagged as the orator and Droog has his hands in the mix.

Droog seems like one important feature verse on a superstar track away from being everyone’s new favorite rapper.

Bandcamp link below:


Mixtape Review-Ghetto Heaven by Cam’ron

Mixtape Review-Ghetto Heaven by Cam’ron

by Dan-O

Every year a mixtape comes out that defines head scratching fascination, full of the kind of mind numbing juxtaposition you’d never expect. Last year it was Shyne with a paranoid illuminati laden mob mixtape(https://freemusicempire.com/2012/10/30/shyne-gangland-mixtape-review/) delivered in cracked out Muppet voice. It was just as weird as that description made it sound and Ghetto Heaven is even weirder.

It’s less surprising coming from the world of Cam’ron. He’s still the only rapper I can name who has done a heartfelt track about Irritable Bowel Syndrome (great song). On Ghetto Heaven he surprises by turning the Golden Girls theme song into a knocking song and following the looped up line “thank you for being a friend” with “I wanna say thank you…to the cocaina…” Kinsmuv is the producer who made it but really…who else would take that and rap over it? Who would rap over it and call the track Golden Friends so everyone knew he knew? Cam is the answer. So many moments on Ghetto Heaven scream ONLY CAM. Only Cam would make a song where he deals with being Catfished by an Instagram chick, the song is actually called Instagram(Catfish), for reasons no one knows its smooth slimy and R.Kelly feeling.

The most surprised I was came on a freestyle over a Jodeci song (Come and Talk to Me) when he responds to Jay’s catastrophically terrible Pound Cake verse (where he started just saying cake over and over like he ran out of words). The Cam’ron I remember was laughing at Jay for wearing open toed sandals and socks but this one is a little more reflective “She said Jay made you a millionaire and looked me in the eyes/Said cake, cake, cake, got that from the pies / We made each other millions, that was my reply / But had a mill before I met him, baby, that ain’t no lie/See he named some Harlem cats and homie from the Chi/but my thing is he ain’t name nobody from the Stuy” In a lot of ways Ghetto Heaven is the anti-Magna Carta Holy Grail since 2013 Jay is trying to prove how much he’s progressed and changed while Killa Cam proves over and over again that he’s still very much connected. Not just to Harlem and the people he came up with but to poverty and misfortune “My car F#$% up accelerator choked I ain’t got time to tell you haters jokes, on a stoop they try and sell a player coke now I walk inside my lobby and the elevator broke…DAMN! (Outside)” He references women in beauty parlors squabbling, has a song about telling women they need love and that he isn’t the one to give it (Think You Need Love). The song is all piano no drums and tons of Biz Markie feeling crazy talk.

Aside from the smash Jungle featuring TI and Yo Gotti on Ghetto Heaven the allure is getting inside Cam’s elusive mind. This is a man who was once perched at the top of the game with the hottest album (Come Home with Me) and the hottest crew(Dipset) and where is he now? He feels like the elder statesman of juveniles, the twenty one year old high school sophomore who knows how to skip class and not get caught. At nineteen tracks it’s a lot of music and some of it is useless, on Let Me Work he grabs three Harlem battle rappers and just lets them rap after his introduction, but most of the tape is classically and fantastically odd. Just the way you’d want your Cam’ron to be.

stream or download Ghetto Heaven below: