Cam'ron - Crime Pays

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Just as he made every rapper consider going independent five years ago, Killa Cam returns to show his followers how to be independent and still make competitive, good music that has both street and club appeal, paid in full

Although his hiatus from the game has been a little different from Marshall Mathers, another late '90s Hip Hop classmate, Cam'ron [click to read] has returned to Rap in a major way, with perhaps more issues to speak on. Killa Cam's brand, The Diplomats [click to read], have arguably mutinied their president, in favor of their capo. When Hip Hop last heard from Cam'ron, 50 Cent [click to read] did more of the talking, in a battle that never really found a resolution, or a proper rebuttal, just months after a similar word-scuffle with Jay-Z [click to read]. More overtly, Cam'ron, a once-platinum-selling bidder for T.O.N.Y. status, needs to explain his absence - caused largely due to his mother's health and a disinterest from Rap. Crime Pays, makes up for Killa Season's [click to read] ill preparation three years ago, and shows that like his fans for authentic music, Cam is once again hungry.

Over an hour long, 23 tracks deep, Crime Pays leaves little on the table. When the reintroduction began, "(I Hate) My Job" [click to listen] may have showed it best. Rather than focus on himself, Cam'ron tells stories - of just the kind of people he reaches best: working-class folks, disenchanted by the monotony of life in mediocrity. If Cam does indeed still hate his, the audience can't really tell. "Cookies & Apple Juice" [click to listen] is that other side of Cam, the silly side. This raunchy sex anthem falls in line with "Hey Ma" and "Oh Boy," as signature cadence and rhyme-patterns return quickly, "I won't kiss her, maybe hug her, but I don't even like her / I'ma get it, hit it, maybe split it, but never wife her / Rowdy--Roddy Pipe-her." The clever wordplay, Jay-Z allusions and rhyme timing sell Cam's talents best. The mysogynist club song employs a goofy Uptown chorus that sounds completely fun, and unlike many teen-rap contemporaries, appeals to multiple generations and both sexes in the club. "Silky (No Homo)" [click to listen] from title alone, is the same sort of party. On a pepped-up loop of King Floyd's 1973 Funk-Soul classic "Groove Me," Cam talk about the same sort of other-man's-woman-hounding that Willie D [click to read] has been championing since "Clean Up Man." It's not the wheel reinvented, nor is it terribly artful, but as Killa makes fun of ol' boy complaining about "the gas price," claiming he's not the type to buy a lady soft drinks, "just mad ice." He's not using this lyricism anymore to compare his wardrobe to Fred Rodgers or recall throwing dudes off of high-rises, but the wordplay is sharp as it ever was, and Cam seems to be having more fun than he was five years ago, at the height of his stardom.

The crime, as the album title suggests, does bleed in. Self-explanatory tracks like "Homicide," "Cookin' Up"

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