Tag Archives: NY Goon Rap

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:



Song Review-Gone Girl by Vado produced by Deelockit313 & Mandalae Didd

Song Review-Gone Girl by Vado produced by Deelockit313 & Mandalae Didd

by Dan-O

I’ve always thought it was strange that the NY goon rappers of old would wear Godfather persona’s and lecture (or sometimes just shout) about respect and honor and loyalty, then snicker at how dirty they were doing the women they were dating. Vado is one of the rare dudes who have talked about monogamy seriously in his music and interviews. He seems like an unlikely candidate since Wikipedia says his name is an acronym for violence and drugs only but Vado is all about honor.

He never breaks out of his fiery delivery, even for a break up song like this. The 8 song mixtape this comes off of, V-Day Ep II, has some great relationship talk. None of it gets anywhere close to Drake emotional. Over a smooth knocking beat that sounds like it belongs on Common’s Like Water For Chocolate Vado tells his break up tale about two people who loved and respected one another a great deal and even as the song ends and they block each other on social media (the modern goodbye) he never disrespects her or shouts her down.

This isn’t to say Vado is some sort of feminist hero. He’s just found a way to close the circle. If you want to be a man of respect in your crime raps you can’t be cry shouting about everyone in your personal life, without people starting to snicker a bit. What’s the use of being someone who lives by loyalty if you can’t make that work with the woman you love most? In Gone Girl Vado gives it the most honest try and no one catches anyone red handed doing anything tragic. Two proud people just drift apart, and that’s what makes this song feel so damn grounded.

EP review-Sinatra by Vado

EP review-Sinatra by Vado

by Dan-O

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling recently and getting deep into the mixtapes of the year. Some stand up as glorious and possibly even better than when they came out. Others lose their polish. Sinatra came out earlier in the year and while it was great, everything Vado does is great so I didn’t write about it.

Since Sinatra it’s been a turbulent year for mixtapes. People you count on for good work put out duds. Characters known for exuberance and experimentation barked themselves sore. All the while Sinatra has that fresh money smell.

One of the most satisfying things about any Vado project is how serious he takes every single second. He’s rapping like these bars go into a time capsule. You won’t find a more serious Intro in the business than a Vado Intro. On Sinatra the intro is urgent hard hitting and thoughtful not just laced with mob references but laments about how everyone’s spotlight is dimming.

Sinatra is different because its not just NY goon rap its NY goon rap made for stadiums. These songs are huge. It’s a tight eight track journey that manages to have Rick Ross, French Montana, and Ace Hood guest features (along with production from Cool and Dre). He re-imagines Black Rob’s Whoa so far out of its original form the new variation, Be Like, feels completely his own. It’s a homerun sailing over the wall just like Pimpin’ which utilizes the toughest Jay part of Big Pimpin for the chorus. B Wirks puts together the perfect Vadoization of the original beat; holding onto the big screen quality but slimier.

As cool and vibrant as the music is Sinatra has great old man moments. He gets Rick Ross and French Montana together for Look Me in My Eyes and Vado opens with the line “You never know a man till you play cards with him.” Vado seems to exist floating in some space between now, The Rat Pack, and Bumpy Johnson. His references are never current or hip and he couldn’t care less. The beats on his mixtapes require not just bass but the most strangled emotive soul samples (see: I Need). How strange is it to think that my first reaction to Sinatra was like it represented the outcome of some thousand year old mathematical theory; dope? Sure its dope it’s Vado.

Stream or Download Sinatra below: