Cam’ron, Come Home With Me
His closest bout with rap superstardom
Cam'ron has always been a little too weird, too bored, too dissatisfied to make a concerted go at rap superstardom, but Come Home With Me is the closest he ever came. The record was his debut on Roc-A-Fella following a mostly unfruitful stint at Epic Records, and two happy developments coincided to make Come Home With Me platinum. One: Cam'ron finally figured out what kind of stylist he wanted to be. His slip-siding rap style, which see-sawed between a handful of vowel sounds and made dizzying mincemeat of sense, crystallized here, and together with his juvenile sense of humor, made him more memorable than ever. His first couplet on Come Home With Me? "I advise you to step, son/ Before I fuck ya moms, make you my stepson." Later in the same verse, he rhymes "Boca Raton" with "pokin' ya moms." Not exactly dignified. But clever, in its goofy way, and undeniably hilarious.
The other development was the peaking of Roc-A-Fella's house production team. It must be hard for rappers now to look back at 2000-04 era Roc-A-Fella; even if you were bit players like the Young Gunz, you got the benefit of people like West and Blaze as house producers, guys who could proverbially just stop in from down the hall to lace you with heat, instead of free agents with budget-crushing price tags. On Come Home With Me, Just Blaze gave Cam one of his biggest-ever radio hits — "Oh Boy," which made a maddeningly catchy loop out of a Mariah Carey song — as well as resonant album cuts like "Welcome To New York City," which, oh yeah, also featured the requisite Peak Jay-Z Cameo most of these albums got. Throw in Kanye's "Dead or Alive," which flipped a vocal loop from hippie-folk peacenik Buffy Sainte-Marie for Cam and Jim Jones to snarl death threats over, and the Tuneheadz's Commodores-sampling "Hey Ma," perhaps the most romantic song to ever feature the lyrics "Get in the car/ Don't touch nothing, sit in the car," and you have a picture of a dynasty at its peak. Cam would take this platinum success and plunge dizzyingly off the deep end with Purple Haze, his follow-up masterpiece, before throwing a fit and leaving Roc-A-Fella, burning his bridges with Jay-Z, and exiling himself to Harlem curio for the rest of his career. But for one fitful moment, Dipset and Roc-A-Fella chains hung from the same neck.