Those who spent this summer listening to a certain New Orleans-based rapper’s “A Milli” crank out of NYC car stereos could be excused for feeling a bit cheated. It was not so long ago that we had our own indigenous ways of making hybrids thump—years after rap crews from Wu-Tang to Roc-a-Fella fell, New York still had the Diplomats. Cam’ron, the leader, prone to pink chinchilla coats and rhymes of dazzling internal intricacy; Juelz Santana, the young heartthrob; Jim Jones, the braying capo. They were flamboyant, and their records ruled New York.
Until, that is, Cam’ron appeared to lose his mind. (In retrospect, Killa Season, the blood-soaked, underacted Dipset movie, was an early warning). Feuds with two of the world’s richer and more talented rappers ensued; then came the blustering YouTube videos, the public dissolution of the clique as Cam’ron went M.I.A. down in Florida last summer, and, going on over a year now, total silence, excepting the blip of last year’s decent Public Enemy No. 1.
But, now, breaking news! Cam’ron, the elusive, possibly impoverished rapper who recently prompted an XXL headline to the tune of “Where the Fuck is Cam’ron?”, has surfaced. He is, according to Nah Right, in Switzerland, buying watches: “I only buy my watches from Switzerland, so I flew here to get a couple watches.” Where to begin with this? Is there a tax problem behind all this drama? Was this phone call in fact made from New Jersey? More the point, shouldn’t he be returning with new material rather than, say, a new watch for his man?