[5 February 2009]
I feel like I make this proclamation every three months or so, but I’ll say it again: This new Cam’ron song shows promise. Though I say this quarterly, Cam’ron rarely follows up. The pattern I’ve noticed is that a single is released, it’s weird but promising, it gets no radio play, then Cam fades away and releases another single with the same results.
I’ve found Cam’ron really confusing since his post-Purple Haze drop-off five years ago. There was his weakish follow-up, Killa Season, and the accompanying movie that he starred in, wrote, directed, and produced (and it’s glaringly obvious on all accounts); there were the beefs with Jay-Z, and 50 Cent; there were a bunch of weird singles, a promising double mixtape, and a general absence from any sort of hip hop media (and one bizarre video as explanation) and his embarrassing appearance on 60 minutes following his shooting.
With this as a brief overview, it’s safe to say that in the past five years Cam’ron has become one of the strangest and more mysterious characters in hip hop.
Still, I’m always caught off guard by Cam’ron’s newest songs; perhaps it’ll be one head-scratching line, or a view-point that makes no sense. Whenever a new Cam’ron song comes out I can rest assured that it’ll be half-way entertaining and even if it’s not very good, Cam’ron always steps it up with at least one WTF moment.
The latest release, “I Hate My Job”, does away with much of the braggadocio, confusion, and messiness, giving a well-made, thought out, relevant and catchy Cam’ron song – something that hasn’t been seen in quite a while. This is his only release since a spate of ‘almost good’ songs in the autumn of 2008 – which included the exercise in practiced stupidity that was “Bottom of her Pussy Hole”. This song begins with Cam’ron’s atypical hip hop role playing: a woman working a dead-end job.
On “I Hate My Job”, Cam’ron at first seems to be role-playing as any working person, he discusses: hating his boss, work wasting his time, time-wasting commute, the shitty wage, getting high before work, dealing with annoying co-workers, bills, etc. When he switches to something about not having money to buy new shoes or purses, you realize that he’s been role-playing as an “everyday working woman”. Whether as a working man or woman, it’s nice to see someone like Cam’ron do the anti-bling thing; putting himself in an unglamorous position like Young Jeezy tried to do on The Recession.
The big difference between Cam and Jeezy is that Cam touches on much more pedestrian problems like: poor wages, dead-end jobs, job availability, not having the skills/experience to be hired; while Jeezy is more about the dramatic Recession (capital R) with Jeezy as hero: “It’s the recession; everybody broke / So I just came back to give everybody hope.”
For Cam’ron, it’s more personal and banal. In this song he’s going over the position of an average low-level working couple during the recession; first chronicling the struggles of the woman, and then of the man. When he goes into the male’s perspective, he doesn’t ever mention “the recession”, instead giving a day in the life of an average joe: “I’m looking for a job / Ain’t nobody hiring…Shoulda been a fireman / Learned to do wiring / Then you get retirement / I blame my environment.”
After giving his goal, there’s a somewhat comical interlude showing Cam’ron in job interviews. At first it’s hard to say if he’s trying to make a joke or a serious point about the lack of preparation supplied by the schools/community. When he goes on to say “Locked up? Felonies? Now the dude quizzing me / We working on my future, why you need to know my history…Those goddamn felonies will haunt me and taunt me,” it’s safe to say that he was trying to make a sincere and insightful argument.
The song progresses to show how the lack of jobs/job preparation affects people on a personal level. There’s no larger scale in this song, and Cam’ron stays remarkably focused on the theme. The production itself is a great blend of synth-piano lines, and a catchy refrain, making this song Cam’s strongest in years. He nails the delivery and lyrics while staying on a relevant topic, and he raps over a decent beat. Though I say this every three months or so: I think Cam’ron is poised for a come-back and this newest song is proof.