Cam’Ron got shot: Riff Raff’s putting together the pieces
Now that we’ve reacted the way we should–relieved Cam’s OK, perplexed he’d risk his life for the ghini, charmed he hit on the hospital nurse–let’s start the conspiracy talk.
The Washington Post already has. Careful to call the incident an “alleged carjacking” in their original report, this morning the Post positioned a new piece that directly questions whether the “botched carjacking” was a carjacking at all. Below they quote anonymous DC police on the scene:
"If you are going to carjack a car, you don't shoot first. You try to get the driver out of the car. You also wouldn't do that in front of people."
Investigators, we can only hope after making their way through Cameron Giles’s personal history and discography, now think somebody was out for the guy’s life–not far from what some people have been saying all along. Writes Ya Heard:
That attempted robbery wasn't about making a profit off a Lambo. The car was a trophy for some props seeking stick-up kids, and Cam'ron's life would have been the ultimate prize.
Some people disagree about this last bit, of course. Check Status Ain’t Hood’s slough of comments on his Cam post, a good amount of them along the lines of “who gives a shit, Cam’s a worthless rapper.” Shit, NY Press gave Cam’Ron the award for Best Sign Hiphop is dead:
Like the Caligula of rap, Harlem's Cam'ron, the prodigal son of the once mighty Harlem World, is doing his best to lead the form straight into the dark ages. Nowhere is Cam'ron's nonsensical blathering more inane than on the inexplicably titled "Get 'Em Girls" from this year's Purple Haze.
Exhibits A, B, C, D & E:
“You acting funny nigga, come dumb, dumby nigga, killa keeps 20 blickers (I’m getting money nigga)/Y’all faking the fizzle, I’m caking for shizzle, fuck a sizzler steak, my steak stay sizzled, eight, boom, boom, my ace boon coon, shake, bake, skate, vroom, vroom (We getting money nigga)/My team is the ‘goonies,’ we seen with buffonies, toonies, best dressed, stay up in nemis and bloomies, Want to hit it from the back, she agreed that I’m loony, but proceeded to moon me (I’m getting money nigga).”
Welcome to the apocalypse, bitches.
We’re in a situation where we have a rapper people love or loathe, nothing in between. Just as quick as some have been to understand why his life would be some sick prize, others ask why bother. And amazingly, everyone, whether he knew about Cam’Ron before the shooting or not, has the same questions:
1) Who is Cam’Ron?
2) Who does Cameron Giles think Cam’Ron is?
3) Who cares that Cam’Ron was shot?
4) Who does Cameron Giles think cares that Cam’Ron was shot?
5) Why does Diplomats Records insist this was a botched carjacking?
Cam’Ron talks more coke and sex than guns and gangbanging. In the oddball rap game he’s high-profile–imagistic, deep-slanged, often impenetrable–but by no means as hard as Ghostface or as referential as Doom. In other words he’s in this weird territory where he’s too absurd and amoral to be called soft, too flamboyant off the mic to be called hard, too self-involved to have the wildly heralded significance his fans might want him to have. He’s pimp before gangsta, material before ethereal–you aren’t what you believe in, you are what you do, and you are what you have. And somehow, that’s made him more artistic than the “artistic rappers,” more business, man, than the businessmen too. “I got shot three times and my album comes out Nov. 22,” Cam said, leaving the hospital. A gun pointed at him, no, Cam’Ron wouldn’t give up his Lamborghini.
“People are foolish if they think I’m going to lose my head and give up anything to anyone just because someone threatens me… It takes more than a botched carjacking to keep me down,” he said.
But just surveying Cam’Ron’s post Purple Haze output–we’re talking “Die Tonight,” “Get Down With the Dips,” “Murda, Murda,” even bits of the otherwise syrupy rap-n-b “Something New”–perhaps Giles thinks Cam’s getting too soft–same realization that, if you ask me, pushed him past “Aiyyo, you might see Cam in designer underwear/ new reclining leather chair” to wherever he is now. Especially as Juelz gets more popular, Cam seems anxious to cut the Juelz/gunclap vs Cam/sex Dipset brand distinction made a few years ago.
And then there’s Cam’s verse on “Bird Call,” his most explicitly Jay-Z bait to date:
Same ol’ cat, get his Kangol clapped /
Brains go back, dissin Dame & Dame don’t rap
Shame on Black, the game’s so wack…Dame sent your children…
From in front of yo’ buildin, right to a hundred million
Dead pimpin, pimpin’ / Dead actin doggy /
Get ya lip off pimpin’ / If they actin froggy….
Tell em back up off me, I come down and clap a .40 /
Cal (40), that’s a better story, I’m back in my category
Mess around, Dame held Def Jam down /
Supportin’ my back, I’m dappin him, left hand pounds
Just saying, maybe signs point to Giles thinking Cam’s not hard enough, that he’s becoming too cultish and needs relevance (esp. outside NYC, though the Kanye guest spot helps there)–needs to engage the game of American hip-hop instead of dwelling in the art of it–especially as G-Unit encroaches on both pro forma thug and thug chic looks, and especially since, if he gets any more scatterbrained on the mic, he risks losing relevance/record sales/benefit of the doubt. Purple Haze sold what, 200K out the box? Amazing to an extent because we don’t expect MCs like Cam to post numbers like that, but still, those numbers seem low for perhaps how big Giles thinks Cam’Ron could be.
So who cares that Cam’Ron was shot? I do, obviously, so does Status and others. We can bicker all day about whether these are self-directed record sale bullets or hater bullets or anonymous carjacker bullets, but the fact is, bullets are bullets wherever they land, and dude could have died.
And despite Jada’s diss on 50 Cent–“Since when has it become cool to get shot and not shoot back”–the fact stands that Cam has a bigger bullet count than he did before, and I’ll readily admit how much of an impression that left on me to see him unfazed. Three bullets, anywhere–bottom line is that has an effect on listeners. Giles got shot in the arm, drove himself to the hospital, then went back to his house in Jersey; Cam’Ron took three bullets.
Which may be why Cam’s manager Big Joe Sherman insists, “It was a random act”–that this isn’t beef, just about a dude driving a Lamborghini and people trying to steal it off him. If it was random, Cam need not address his assailants, just accept the slugs as a jealousy thing, in that Jack Johnson-y, Miles Davis-y sort of way (though Cam stays away from that too, doesn’t he), and keep them as real badges of the toughness he’s cultivating on mic.
But if this is beef–rap-motivated or not–suddenly we’re not concerned about Cam’Ron, we’re concerned about Giles–the worst possible thing for any artist/audience relationship, like theatrical productions of Peter Pan when you can’t follow the plot because you’re worried Pan’s gonna fall out of his strings and fall fifty feet. In a way, Sherman’s sticking to his story for our sake–there are some things we just can’t be worrying about.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 25, 2005