What Millennials Should Know About… Cam’ron’s ‘Purple Haze’

VIBE spotlights music’s most essential timepieces for Gen Y. You gon’ learn today

Cam’ron Purple Haze (2004) Selling point: After releasing his certified platinum Roc-A-Fella debut Come Home With Me in 2002 and his collective Dipset effort Diplomatic Immunity in 2003, Cam’ron’s charisma, ridiculous lyrics and cocksure attitude cemented his place among hip-hop heavyweights on 2004’s Purple Haze. Singles: “Get’ Em Girls,” “Down And Out,” “Killa Cam”

Most Slept-On Tracks: “Family Ties,” “Shake,” “Bubble Music,” “More Reasons” Peak Moment: The Kanye West-produced “Down And Out,” featuring Mr. West and Syleena Johnson. Over ‘Ye’s soulful brass, Killa pens irreverent yet witty lines like “I treat bitches straight up like Simon Says/Open vagina/Put ya’ legs behind ya head/Cop me Air One’s, hon/Lime and red/You got pets?/Me too, mines are dead/Fox, minks, gators that’s necessary/My closet’s Pet Cemetery.” But he didn’t let up there. He continued, “Harlem shake? Nah, I’m in Harlem shaking awake/Shaking to bake/Shaking the jakes/Kill you/Shoot your funeral up then Harlem shake at your wake/Just your picture though/You still taped in a lake.” Cam is at his best when he’s rapping about money, drugs and chicks, whom he constantly put on blast on true-to-life comedy skits. Peak Moment (Pt. 2): Killa Cam gave zero fucks on “Get’ Em Girls,” rapping, “Want to hit from the back, she agreed that I’m loony/But proceeded to moon me/Get him a Maury flow/From the Maury show/Fuck around y’all gon’ be up on the Maury Show/He in bootcamp/You on food-stamps/Welfare/No healthcare, a true tramp.” To top it off, Mizzle, the addict who narrates his and Cam’s relationship throughout the Purple Haze, quits using drugs. Mizzle even claims that Cam would bust his ass if he relapses. No homo.
You probably didn’t know: Cam’ron was offered the Vice President post at Roc-A-Fella Records by Dame Dash in 2002. This didn’t sit well with Jay Z, who reportedly cut his vacation in Europe short to set things straight at ROC HQ. Purple Haze was initially slated for a November 2003 release—that’s why fans got “Get ‘Em Girls” a good 365 prior to the album dropping—but it was pushed back several times. In 2006, Cam came for Hovito, alleging that he blocked him from assuming VP and that he stole Kanye West from Dame on “You Got To Love It.” There’s even a shot at Beyoncé.
Synopsis: Long before Cam’ron was rocking capes and Ebola-ready masks, he was Harlem World’s Rapper-In-Chief. His 2004 effort Purple Haze showed 50 shades of Cam and then some. Wrapped in baby pink furs, the vulgar spitter born Cameron Giles skipped the fluff and only spit bars that were downright nasty but still bliss to the streets’ ears. On the follow-up to 2003’s Diplomatic Immunity, JuJu’s favorite rapper waved the Diplomat flag, pioneering a lifestyle whose campaign slogan was probably “Get Fly or Die Tryin’.” See the neighborhood rumblings on “Harlem Streets” and the hood drama on “Soap Opera.” Ten years later, he still got computers ‘puting and is a certified Vine star but Purple Haze clearly remains a rap canon.