Cam'ron - Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 (Mixtape Review)

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Erratic production and a lack of focus keep "Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1" from being retail-worthy, but Hip Hop is a more enjoyable place when Cam'ron is involved.

 

Cam'ron“Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1” (Mixtape Review)  DX Consensus: “EP-Worthy”

Hip Hop’s Viral Age can often produce emcees with the life span of a common Fruit Fly. And while his adoption of Twitter and Instagram show Cam’ron is no stranger to Rap’s ever-changing landscape, his adaptation through several eras may serve as the best evidence. There’s the mid-to-late ‘90s edition of Cam, who appeared on Big L’s Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous, earned a co-sign from Notorious B.I.G. as a member of the ill-fated group The Commission and established himself as a soloist with Confessions Of Fire. There’s the Cam of the early aughts who reached his critical high-water mark with S.D.E. prior to a stint on Roc-A-Fella and the Diplomats’ subsequent ascension to cult status. Then there’s the semi-reclusive guy who surfaces every few years to either illicit laughs, introduce a new artist or needle Jay Z. Cam’ron might just be one of the more random talents Hip Hop has ever seen. And if you share that opinion, the fact that some thugged-out, McDonald’s-inspired artwork surfaced a few months ago for his “Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1” mixtape likely didn’t change things.

The good news is this latest set of freebies features everything Cam’ron and Dipset fans have gravitated to during the 18 years since Killa first laid vocals down over Big L’s “8 Iz Enuff.” Cam’s trademark humor is in effect from the jump as a cast of associates leaves voicemails imploring him to return and save them from the cadre of “soft ass Rap” with “more niggas wearing skirts than bitches.” And the Harlemite obliges with 19 songs mostly focused on broads, bricks and his besting his competition. Cam’ron primarily survives on his wit and the fact that he doesn’t repeatedly over-saturate the market with material. With his first project since 2011’s Boss Of All Bosses 2.8, Cam trots out both a double-time cadence and the borderline nonsensical rhymes that powered the “Computers ‘Putin’” meme on “Told You Wrong,” where he rhymes, “Ride around in a hooptie / But look, these coups done souped me / Wanna stay loopy goofy / Look at my jewels, they lookin’ doofy…”

Arguably, the best moments on “Ghetto Heaven” are when Cam’ron is borrowing from ‘90s cultural touchstones including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (“Me Killa”), Jodeci (“Come And Talk To Me”) and Mary J. Blige (“My Life”). These are accented when Cam re-enters S.D.E. mode, offering block talk punctuated with punchlines. The likes of ADM, YH Zombies, Lizzy and Araabmuzik supply the synth-heavy tracks with jabs of bass and articulated snares that challenge Cam’ron to diversify both his subject matter and cadences. There are even a few surprises in the form of “Golden Friends,” which references the late Huddy 6 and “Go Outside,” where Cam chucks his iPhone for a Boost Mobile and enters everyman mode as he did for “I Hate My Job.”

It’s not a Cam’ron affair without the general air of zaniness. “Instagram” won’t surprise those who have followed Mr. Giles’ exploits into social media. And while the talk of thirsty followers and busted chicks claiming they use “no filter” produces genuine laugh out loud moments, the five-plus minutes devoted to the subject between both the “Instagram” song and its preceding skit are a bit much. The same applies to Cam’s choice of backing tracks, as the sheer randomness is hit or miss. Granted, this is the man who successfully crafted singles from the “Monday Night Football” (“Let Me Know”) and “Magnum P.I.” (“357”) themes. While the results of Cam’s attempts to flip the “Golden Girls” theme on “Golden Friends” work, the same can’t be said for the T.I. and Yo Gotti-assisted “Jungle,” which is powered by Solomon Linda’s “Mbube”—the original inspiration for The Lion King’s “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Bouts of lackluster production and an overall lack of focus when things veer to the silly side (as on “Snapped” and “Instagram”) keep this set from being retail-worthy. Listeners can’t really penalize the notable absence of any Diplomat mainstays besides Sen City, as this was never advertised as a Dipset affair. But overall, Hip Hop is a more enjoyable, funnier place when Cam’ron is involved. And those clamoring for Killa Season to resume could do a lot worse than loading this mixtape on an iPod or USB drive and cherry picking some of the better songs for a custom playlist.

Listen to “Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1” by Cam’ron

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38 Comments

  • J.R

    Bravo simple Mf Bra-fuck-vi:do. This here masterpiece is the sensational mix tape Kill a/pulled out of his sleeve. It made! me stop listining to #mchg for crying out loud pay fucking homage, truly a great if not my greatest minutes ever lisining to a complete record.

  • Lynn

    100 stars quite frankly. A refreshing break of something different, something that doesn't sound like the same shit that is on repeat on the radio. It's hot. Admittedly not all songs are a hit but overall the album was creatively done. Cam'ron spits hot fire, you all already knew.

  • down south max

    This is what the game has been missing... this mixtape shows that cam is still able to do what he been doin for years with his flow and still finds a way to keep it current

  • Anonymous

    Sucks Cam gotta sell out to work with wack niggas like 2 Lamez to attempt to stay relevant. Who cares if the mainstream thinks your ass is relevant Cam? Make good music and the people who you actually should want as fans will listen to your shit. Why you care if these swag fag 2 Chainz generation fans buy your music?

  • stonee sheen

    Cam keeps it hood... If ur hood, then u get it...if u on some mtv shit then why even listen to Killa, ur never gonna get it

  • Pill Clinton

    Killa still top 10, even after all these years. 5 stars.

  • westcoastkilla

    This was just something to put people on word that he got 2000k of songs on deck and multi projects with Netflix he already got 3-4 green lite projects with Queen Latifah co-signing the checks. Note this is Vol 1 and im sure new cam is just waiting for next year with a full LP album coming out 2014. ya not every song is for everyone but he made things different and at least it's not the same stuff everyone is putting out. Killa has been dropping BARS for over 15 years. Do you know how many songs or feat killa has been on....it's almost endless of how much music he has on deck. Just relax and enjoy the ride wait for the bigger picture of things. check out the new webs and feat cam'ron - make a way http://www.hiphopearly.com/Webbz-ft-Camron-Make-A-Way-t20440.html

  • Anonymous

    Next to Ghostface twelve reasons to die, this is the best shit I heard all year. Killa!!!

  • Rembrandt

    It's decent but ridiculous for anyone to call it perfect. It Is a mixtape after all and the usual Cam. some stuff is unique and funny while some of the other songs are annoying and too much of the Killa Cam attitude.

  • asher1985

    I'm feeling it, just wish it had more of Cam's trademark humor

  • G money

    I'm feeling it, always liked cam since confessions of fire!!!

  • Anonymous

    Ems Relapse sold 2 million. Recovery Sold 4.5 Million. Why?, Relapse was disappointing. Interscope had a version of Relapse that could of sold easily 4 million. Check out this site to hear it. www.eminemalbum2014.com

  • Dipset

    Hot ass mixtape cant wait for Diplomatic Immunity 3

  • Jason

    disgusting!!! no class or taste!!! its like Belly had a bowel movement.

  • Anonymous

    Eh i liked it but i expected so much

  • Anonymous

    wait, what the fuck happened to that Ronald McDonald nigga? I haven't seen him in a minute...

  • Kold Breeze

    I fux with it, It ain't top notch like old Killa, but its something to fill the void and I find it better than alot of his other efforts. DipSet all Day, waitin for that Killa Season 2, where it at Flea?

  • Anonymous

    wack tape. this nigga is the most overrated nigga in rap which is funny because he aint even up there. if teis nigga got his credit he will be in the ranks of dem underground mcs trying to get a record deal. oh wait, he doesnt even have a record deal.

    • thought provokin

      purple haze??

    • Anonymous

      @ Dipset: Camron a legend? Because Biggie signed him and because he was in CoC doesnt mean he is dope. Hammer was signed at Deathrow records so Hammer is a legend? Where the fuck are all his classics??????

    • Dipset

      He overated u must not know your rap.Let me tell u the things Cam did,He was a member of Big Ls C.O.T.C,Biggie signed him in about 5 to 10 mins just for freestyling,He boddied the following Rappers:MASE,50 CENT,Kanye WEST,NAS (With just an instrumental and him talking)and he one the beef with Jay Z as soon as it started,He made the greatest hip hop movement Dipset.CAM Is very underated he is a legend so just listen to the garbage that now day rappers r spittin.

  • Anonymous

    Cam is still a beast and funny as hell with the bars

  • Joanne S. Gibson

    uptil I saw the bank draft which said $7776, I have faith that my friend was like realy bringing home money in their spare time on their computer.. there friends cousin haz done this for under eight months and as of now repayed the morgage on there villa and bourt a top of the range Lancia. my response http://www.youtube.com.watch.qr.net/k6th

  • Lol

    This nicca still doing mixtape, holding guns and saying thing is 2013...and get so excited any time he mention Jay Z whom he is no where I his rear mirror hahaha

  • mar500

    Cam is still the man. 4/5 stars for the tape. This and dreamchasers 3 in my car right now

  • go home

    This is garbage. Cam'ron never made to the top. He is good for 4 or 5 dope songs and the rest is average. Dude is rapping since 1996 and still not made 1 good album.

    • mean205

      Not 1 good album? You are holding hip-hop to a bar that few will reach then. 'Come Home With Me' and 'Purple Haze' have to at least be considered good. It could be you just don't like Cam's flow.