June 23, 2017

cam'ron

Mike Dupar has started a campaign to get a giant balloon of Cam’ron in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It’s easy to overlook Cam’s legacy as a rapper, what with the pink minks, the laffy taffy colored whips, his excellent (albeit brief) escapade into investigative journalism, and of course, his pièce de résistance on the O’Reilly Factor. But once upon a time Cam could be found posted on 139th and Lenox with Big L, spraying crack-heads with super-soakers in the dead of winter alongside Big Pun or allowing Mase to borrow his clothes.

Undeniably, Cam is a national treasure, a hip-hop scholar of the highest order and sadly, one of the last of the Harlem Mohicans living and un-incarcerated. Cam probably never wanted to be the designated survivor of Harlem’s hip-hop inner sanctum, but as such, he may be the only person qualified to conduct his own coronation, which is exactly what he does on “D.I.A.”

To debate whether Cam became his own unapologetic champion out of necessity or habitual grandiosity is inconsequential, as few things in life are as perfect as Cam’ron celebrating Cam’ron. On “D.I.A.” Harlem’s King Solomon sits atop the swaggiest of floats, disco ball adorning his wrist, gobbling chicken wings, parading down Lenox because he’s earned the right to. Cam’s done and seen it all, whether it was watching fiends chase highs like Pokémon or running a successful women’s basketball clinic, nothing can bother or surprise the ageless sage.

Like Ric Flair, Cam is still a dirt bag (maybe the dirtiest) but rather than hit you with a chair or a suplex, Cam prefers the finer things in life, like stabbing someone in their brain with their nose bone (shout out and RIP to Prodigy) or practicing dentistry with a handgun. When Cam spits his trademark metaphors about the dope game, one still gets the sense that he’s dreamt them up as a remedy to the boredom that comes with having spent too much time cooking up dope. Cam’s a survivor and he can’t stop, won’t stop, amusing himself.

It’s hard not to indulge the idea of “D.I.A.” as a sort of return to form. Cam still wields the charisma of a cult leader when waggishly reminiscing about his countless capers and his wordplay hovers closer to that of “Killa Cam” and “More Reasons” than it has in years. With the prospect of the sequel to Killa Season still on the horizon and the immediate timelessness of  “D.I.A.,” it’s impossible not to be excited. Equally a celebration of his own mythos and a reminder of his irrepressible spirit, “D.I.A.” reminds us that only Cam can make us feel like he’s back, despite being one of the few to have never left.