May 14 is a national holiday, or at least it should be.
Ten years ago today, Cam’ron laid forth to this great country a modern day masterpiece, otherwise known as Come Home With Me. The album marked the biggest turning point in Cam’s career and – what we’d later come to recognize it as – the most controversial free agent acquisition prior to some professional basketball team acquiring a semi-popular player who I’m not allowed to name for fear of the Internet spontaneously combusting.
In all seriousness, CHWM represented the opportunity in Cam’ron’s journey through Hip-Hop he had been awaiting since the mid-90’s. What happened next was an era still lauded to this day as Giles attempts to recreate the magic that was yester-decade. The album was never one of The Roc’s highest selling, but the impact spanned far behind record shelves or Billboard charts. When anyone from Dipset so graciously referred to their camp as “the only movement moving,” a large credit can be traced back to this one album.
Because of Cam’s Rocafella debut, five lessons illuminate brighter today than they actually did upon the project’s May 2002 release. Supporters of Harlem’s Don will hop aboard almost instaneously. Those who never sipped the kool-aid probably won’t now either, and that’s fine. Regardless of what’s said, it’s like Killa noted at the end of Paid In Full*, “I’m still gon’ be the king.”
1. Cam’ron was a legitimate star — Ladies loved him. Guys respected him. This is otherwise known as the unwritten rule for music industry success. “Oh Boy” started the fire as an official summer anthem where “Hey Ma” ensured the bomb exploded. Largely successful crossover singles, Cam never looked back as the results of those two records opened the door for several other collaborations. “Horse and Carriage” and “What Means The World To You” were both progressive in terms of Killa proving he could strike fire with a match. Yet with the previously mentioned singles from CHWM, the rest of the country recognized Harlem had something to say. And while it was going to be ignorant as one could possibly expect, you’d be blasting it out of your car in your favorite jersey (or jersey dress!) nonetheless.
2. Cam’ron and Jay-Z could have been something special — This isn’t to say these two could’ve been Hip-Hop’s Shaq and Kobe, but “Welcome To New York City” is a catalog defining record for both. In a lot of cases, two Alpha dog personalities on the same squad usually end up on the wrong side of history. Jay-Z and Cam’ron are no different, especially if you let the latter tell the story. It sucks, too. The music these two probably would have created had they had the same goal in mind is one of rap’s most forgotten “what if” scenarios. Remember this 2002 interview on 106 & Park? We should have known then it wasn’t going to end well.
3. CHWM was just the tip of the Dipset iceberg – In the grand scheme of things, this album (along with the Dips’ massive stranglehold on New York’s mixtape scene with 50 Cent) set off a domino effect. Fully establishing himself as a solo act, Cam then proceeded to pave the way for artists like Juelz Santana and Jim Jones mainstream wise (while J.R. Writer, 40 Cal and Hell Rell were once in-demand second tier artists on the mixtape level); if you’re not trying to split hairs, it could be comparable to what Ross has done with Wale and Meek Mill in the present day. Riding high off Cam’s pavement breaking 2002, the next year provided the classic double disc album – this is not up for debate – Diplomatic Immunity 1 and a slew of releases following. In other words, Cam and the Dips had a good run.
4. Facebook and Twitter missed out – As of last year, roughly about 500 million people have Facebook accounts with Twitter hovering somewhere around 300 million. Pulling a number out of a hat, let’s say about 200 million of them update their statuses throughout the day with random lyrics from Hip-Hop songs. This is why Drake is winning right now. His lyrics are social media friendly even if there is cursing involved. Let Come Home With Me have dropped this year or last year. Cam’s interviews and skits have become the stuff of legend, so imagine what some witty and offensive rhymes could have done on the two social media tycoons which promote such activities.
The updates would have been amazing with a hashtag falling somewhere around #CamQuotables or #CamronWisdom. My personal favorite? “Yo El (What up?), I hit (What else?) Plus dome (Say word?) And we got it on tonight…” Or this one, “Get wise kid, open your eyelids, cause that last abortion?/That was my kid, that’s right, but that I ain’t following/If she get pregnant again, it’d be from swallowing’…” Who cares if that last one was more than 140 characters.
5. Cam’ron is the GOAT swag rapper – The word “swag” has been dead for probably two years now, but there’s really no other way to label Cam. He’s not the world’s greatest lyricist and the stuff he says sometimes make no sense whatsoever, but it all boils down to confidence; the last thing Giles has ever lacked in a recording booth.
“All I do every day dog, blunt after blunt
Stunt after stunt, they all cunt after cunt
Like that I’m shiesty, look at his shoes, like my Nikes
No I got a girl, like my wifey, like that I’m rude
Come here, let me pick with your chest, dick on your breasts
All they say ‘That nigga’s a mess’…”
Friends don’t allow other friends not to listen to Cam’ron. So pending you have a friend who has never heard Come Home With Me, rescue that lost soul and scoop it off iTunes. An angel will get its wings if you do so.
* – That movie turns 10 this year as well. Let that be a warning.