It’s been two complete decades since Children of the Corn spawned from the Danger Zone on 139 and Lenox. Big Lamont and Murda Mase were the initial breakout stars, but Killa Cam is the only one who remains relevant (or alive) in this dwindling era of the turn up. You don’t need another analysis about the direct influence of Cam on the latest generation of rappers. It’s in everyone from Wayne (the Southern President of the Dipset Fan Club) to any flashy street rapper fond of alliteration, lemon heads, and the finest of furs.

But what makes Cam’ron one of the Top 50 greatest rappers of all-time (maybe even Top 25) is that he’s never allowed us to subscribe to only one interpretation of him. He’s subversive in the slyest of ways while being the most flamboyant of all possible worlds. Rocking pink furs and a Camborghini, spitting preposterously funny raps about drunken Japanese jet-skiing trips, retaining the hard-boiled undercurrent of a rapper who turned to comedy out of the same dark place as the best comics.

If you watch the new video for “Sweetest,” this is readily apparent from the first minute and the final phrase: “I stay high in glitter because I miss my niggas.” It’s a quintessential Cam’ron line, but not a cliched one. It’s far more direct than the kaleidoscopic and alliterative raps he would’ve used in the middle of the last decade. It’s simple and Rip Torn-like and sad, which is a sentence that is not usually written. The start of this video is a woman mocking a sullen, depressed and sober Cam for wearing his old pink mink in the middle of July. You hear a smoke alarm beep, batteries unchanged. There are stripper poles without actual strippers. It’s almost like the Harlem version of the start of Swingers, a far cry from the JuJu fantasias of his Instagram.

Once the beat kicks in, he starts reciting a requiem for all the dead. From Bloodshed and Big Gee and Big L to more obscure names from the neighborhood. You realize that for all the jokes, this is a man who amassed fantastic wealth while simultaneously watching the members of his crew fade to dust. There’s not much music in the actual song, but there doesn’t need to be. This is Killa Cam’s version of “In Memory Of...” A few minutes to mourn the dead in that brief window between sober and stoned. It showcases both the joker and the jolted.

Over the last 18 months, The Dipset General has had a quiet resurgence. He’ll never be the young phenom of “Horse N’ Carriage” or the ascendent star of Purple Haze. This is the quietly bizarre veteran in August. It’s a brief peak inside the apartment walls. A weird self-aware commentary on the mink being frayed. Nonetheless, Cam is always gonna be Cam — and we’re better for it.

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