Cam’ron has settled into life as a rap veteran with suitable nonchalance. You won’t catch Killa Cam chasing clout or jacking trends. His output has slowed in recent years as alternative interests have entered his viewpoint. But, as we heard over the course of his last album Purple Haze 2, Cam is still tremendous fun when he rises his head above his purple parapet.
“All I Really Wanted” is the first song to be unveiled from forthcoming album U Wasn’t There, a joint project with beatmaker A-Trak after the previously promised Federal Reserve EP was for some reason shelved in 2014. Nothing about the team-up suggests Cam being pushed out of his comfort zone—A-Trak is such an emissary of old styles that he was once recruited as a Jam Master Jay analog for Run-DMC. And so it comes to pass. The producer delivers the kind of pitched-up soul sample that Cam ran all over in his 2000s heyday. The use of the old loop is somewhat trite: the chipmunk vocal croons “All I really wanted,” to which Cam lists pretty standard fare: “Money, cars, clothes, hood respect.” It’s the verses where Killa flashes back to his prime
Cam actually spends half the first verse hitting a pretty rudimentary rhyme pattern—“swish,” “this,” “bitch,” “list,” and so on. It would almost be lazy if the writing wasn’t so vibrant. Cam casts his mind all the way back to playing basketball in high school—Cameron Giles was a pretty good baller, lest we forget—before bragging that he’d achieved all his life goals before turning 30. He completes the verse with some classic Cam diction, rhyming “lump sum” with “yum yum,” “run run,” and “slums, hun.” His penchant for the absurd comes through later, when he appears to encourage fathers in custody battles to simply kidnap their kids. “Yeah, we take it too far, but these are true bars.”
We already knew that Cam’s voice is huskier than it used to be, threatening the dexterity that helped make him one of the original rappers on the planet. And if the bar was set by Cam and A-Trak’s similar but more riveting “Humphrey,” then “All I Ever Wanted” falls short. But there’s enough here to be pleased that Cam is still rapping, still thinking loony bin thoughts that could only emanate in his brain, still unwilling to waver from his own singular path.
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