Words by Jimmy Valentime
If Camp Lo were to come out today, instead of in the the 1990’s, they’d be loved by internet hipsters more than The Clipse, Ghostface, and Lupe Fiasco combined. Camp Lo had a gimmick: their music and videos were filled with 1970’s references and clothing styles. Today, they would be given a cute genre name like “8-track rap,” have Youtube videos made about them, and guest star on “That 70’s Show”.
However, as fate would have it, they came out over ten years ago right at the time when rap was changed by the Bad Boy dance machine and when underground rap lost its sense of fun. Camp Lo had been well liked by some, but mainly ignored or dismissed. In the end, they would be another forgotten group, if Uptown Saturday Night had not been so spectacular.
Uptown Saturday Night, their debut album, sounded as if they merged Cuban Links and Midnight Marauders. The lyrics are tough and aggressive but the delivery and music is smooth. The disc is one of those clean the house or drive around late at night albums. The breezy jazz style gives a good ambience. As the occasional lyric or hook will enter your conscious and grab you.
The lyrics are mainly about The Bronx (My Hood) blunts, champagne, and designer clothing The music does not sound like some V.I.P room you can never get in to, it is more like a sweaty basement party where anything can happen.
Their sound is a credit to Ski, the main producer of the album Around the time that he was working on Uptown…, he was helping craft Reasonable Doubt . A song originally intended for Camp’s album was “Feeling It,” which was subsequently rerecorded for Jay’s album. In a interview last year, Hova even admitted to wanting “Luchini” for Reasonable Doubt.
It interesting the way these two set of artist lives would play out, but Uptown Saturday Night with it mix of style, production, and lyricism is still a fun place to vist.
Rappers never die; they go to myspace .
Camp Lo Videos
Ne-Yo – Spotlight
Trey Songz – Hustla
Common – Black Maybe (prod by Kanye West)
Common – Misunderstood (prod by Devo Springsteen)
Tech N9ne – Midwest Choppers