Cam'ron recently survived an attempt on his life, and is fresh-off a media frenzy surrounding his release of a diss track aimed at Jay-Z. Now Cam'ron is back, and his new album Killa Season is being billed as a Dipset masterpiece. If ever there was an anticipated album, Killa Season is it. But does it live up to the hype?
The production (Heatmakers, Frank Nitti, Alchemist and others)
is pretty decent. The stops and hooks are certainly on point, and Cam's swag has never been better. Some of the album
simply doesn't make sense (which is classic Dipset), but the
creative audio imagery is enough to keep even the most determined hater
One of the big plusses of this album is that you need not know a lot about Cam or his Dipset affiliates to enjoy this record. He doesn't devote a lot of time or energy to telling his personal story or coming at rivals. As an industry veteran, Cam deserves a lot of credit for not using his album to address petty squabbles or provide some pseudo-intellectual autobiography. And, Killa Season shows growth (apologies for the cliché), in that he clearly has developed an understanding of his niche in New York Hip Hop: Cam is that dude that people love to hate.
And while we're on the topic of New York
hip-hop, I should also mention that Cam'ron makes a
transparent effort to keep this album as New
York as possible. In an era of almost total
southern domination of the industry by southern artists in terms of radio/
video airplay, Cam largely sticks
to the Dipset script. Killa Season features guest
appearances by Juelz Santana, Mo'Money, Hell Rell, 40 Cal, J.R Writer, and Jim
Jones. You'd think that with so many cameos, the album would sound
more like a mixtape, but it doesn't. Instead, Cam'ron shines
through as the undisputed boss of all things diplomatic. "We Make Change"
(feat. Juelz) is vintage Cam'ron: lots of
curious but catchy lingo strung together between a rhythmic hook. "War" (Feat. Hell
Rell) showcases the confusing together-yet-independent
mentality that characterizes the Dipset "movement".
Hell Rell: "Yes, yes the G I am,/Holla if you need some
grams/I'm popping off by myself I don't need no Cam/I don't need you Jim, Juelz
..." Cam: "I don't
need you Rell,/Nor Duke Da God/No 40 and J.R., I go stupid hard."
(There's some WTF material Dre...)
The strength of this album is definitely in its arrangement (there are no
potential classics). However, there are a couple of standouts. Cam'ron
supports Lil Wayne's campaign for Hip Hop artist of the year
with a well-placed feature on "Touch It or Not." The track is a clever balance of hard,
menacing production and clever overtures, all celebrating fellatio. "Love My Life"
features Nicole Wray on a piano based hood serenade about
Harlem life growing up on 140th and Lennox. "White
Girls" is also entertaining, with an old-school Jackson 5
Gotta Love It" is also included on the album (surprise), and fires
at Jay-Z...even insinuating that Cam
had relations with Beyonce.
"East Coast, west Coast yo cap get peeled,/ down in Houston ask B, I'm a
mack for real/Hecky tell me respect better dwell me/ Beyonce's fiancé? Check my
2nd LP I might bring it back/ That's your girl, that's your world I had the
thin fucker singin bout slanging crack....Still got her acapellas, but I will
You get the picture. Tracks like "Wet Wipes," "Girls," "Cash," "Cars" and the
"Do Ya Thing
(along with a couple of voicemail interludes) are all skippable, but for the
most part this album holds water. Time will tell if Killa Season can
convert anyone to Dipset-ism, but its materialism, misogyny,
and mayhem are sure to keep faithful followers happy.