The Pink Overlord from Harlem’s New York finest housing projects stretching from Lenox Avenue to 126th; Cam’ron is a New York superhero. From the flashy diamond rings, the Bentley Coupe, or the pink overcoats, Kill Cam had it all with a level of respect in both his musical style and his personality. He is a walking embodiment of hip-hop on a street power level; and his 2004 project Purple Hazeis a direct insight on the Harlem resident’s outer view on the surrounding area of New York and beyond.
Reaching into the deep rich history that both Harlem and Cam’ron share would take years as most of his life would be impossible to even record throughout. With over “2000 unreleased songs”, it is apparent from Cam’ron that he is one of the hardest working artists in music along side the help of a young Kanye West, Jim Jones, Juels Santana, and hundreds of collaborations that would eventually come later in his career. Purple Haze benefits from these features and is able to produce this New York sound of the sunny days in Harlem stretching on Madison Avenue, but also the busy streets of the inner city where the subway cars are in a constant capacity and momentum.
With Cam’ron rolling out the rug on his first track cleverly named “Intro” which then leads into “More Gangsta Music” that can instantly get the crowd moving and shouting along to the easy-to-follow chorus. Cam’ron holds this classiness supporting his vision that is approachable from a hip-hop fan, but also as a sense to study the music and the way that it can be built and produced in a pop style that can connect to nearly anyone. Even as Killa Cam describes “I’m on the south side of Chicago looking for a real hoe, I don’t see a touchdown; arms up field goal… I ain’t dissin’ you dog, I’m dismissing you. Get the R. Kelly tape and see how we piss on you.” There is some magic factor behind Cam’ron’s bravado and command on the microphone that illustrates just how charismatic he was.
Rhyming through the sudden swarm of 808 bass drums and the church-esque choirs on “Get Down” where Chad Hamilton handled the production. Cam’ron again handles the microphones and is able to seriously create a classic almost as soon as the first drum beat starts to flourish and stretch. “No one supposed to know, but she lay me up like the prime minister. Thousand grams of dope, smelling like Heinz Vinegar” Cam’ron explains as the clicking hi-hat acts as a burner to the stove of the production that delivers this sense of depth to the sound.
Especially with an album as well produced and as everlasting as Purple Haze, there is going to be the continuous flow of skits and tracks that invoke that grasp of smile-invoking power. “Killa Cam” is a track that comes into mind that feels like a drive through the dark nights of New York where the fluorescents are the primary source of light. “Killa Cam” has the emotional attachment to feeling unstoppable and being able to take anything right to the chin. Almost like a verbal bulletproof vest, “Killa Cam” swoops in and speeds off into the night with only a trail of taillights behind.
Then featuring the famous Kanye West featured “Down And Out”, Purple Haze continues to deliver and represent the iconic team-ups that Cam’ron would have through his career. As the 24-total tracks are finally laid out on the table, Cam’ron opens up and shows one of the best hip-hop releases in musical history. His wordplay, his production selection, and his raw ability is just inspiring and it made him a staple of New York as the Harlem Hero from the streets to Manhattan high rises.