Why Cam'ron's 'Purple Haze' Album Is One Of His Best Sounding Albums

Ten years ago yesterday (December 7), Cam'ron released his fourth album, Purple Haze, and looking back on the project, one of the less-discussed aspects of it was the production, which seemed to typify the momentous highs and lows of putting together an ambitious LP during the early aughts. By then, Cam’ron and the Diplomats were nearly three years into an era of cultural dominance that started with a handful of street corner-distributed mixtapes and had graduated to full on album releases through various record label imprints on Roc-A-Fella and Koch Records, respectively. This is all to say that the album came after Cam had finally achieved significant levels of fame and success, and the beats are reflective of that.

At the time, Cam’ron was a bigger star than Kanye West, who had already released his critically-acclaimed solo debut, The College Dropout, earlier that year, but was still nominally producing cuts for artists linked to Roc-A-Fella. The album’s lead single, “Down and Out,” co-produced by Brian “Allday” Miller, featured ‘Ye on the song’s chorus, and is full of the deep bass and rich layers of soulfulness that propped up most most of the Chicago rapper’s beats at the time. But though West and Just Blaze were largely responsible for popularizing Roc-A-Fella’s chipmunk soul sound -- accomplished by speeding up soul samples -- Purple Haze showcased how other producers were able to expand on that trend. To that end, there is the wistful namesake chant The Heatmakerz contribute to “Killa Cam,” and then there is also “Soap Opera,” crafted by producers Pop & Versatile, who provide Cam with a syrupy arrangement built around a melancholic guitar loop. Elsewhere, Chad Hamilton grabs some celebratory cheer culled from a portion of Marvin Gaye’s “Life’s Opera” and throws double time drums under it for “Get Down.”

But where that formula for a classic Dip Set track -- half-time, skittering drum programming, burbling heavy-handed and bottom heavy over a classic soul sample -- had by then become vaguely-predictable, Purple Haze also saw Cam embrace a more synthesizer-infused sound as well. He looked for radio play, perhaps failingly, by rapping over Charlemagne’s propulsive beat for “Girls,” which is built around a chord progression that attempts to mimic elements of Cyndi Lauper’s 1982 “Girls Just Want To Have Fun.” While that effort fell flat, Cam achieved his goal instead by spitting over Self Service’s frenetic violin stabs on the JR Writer-assisted “Shake.” Nasty Beatmakers also check in with a sweeping cinematic backing track on “Leave Me Alone Pt. 2,” and there is the aggressive precursor to the Worldstar-inspired twerk era anthems we see now daily, “Get ‘Em Girls,” produced by Skitzo.

Purple Haze is not the best Cam’ron album, but it’s certainly his last truly memorable one. As Cam moved on in his career and his fame dissipated, his workman-like approach was commendable, if not remarkable. Due to its enduring popularity, the Dip Set/Roc-A-Fella sound got co-opted by every rapper with a mixtape, and Cam often filled his subsequent album and mixtape releases with beats that featured big chunky drums over brash, sparse melodies (think: AraabMuzik), their chief intent seemingly to lunge out and grab you after hearing them passingly on a mixtape or on the internet. Unfortunately, this signature move became the Harlem rapper’s achilles heel, whereby many of his songs proved momentarily enjoyable, but not terribly well-orchestrated or thought out. Thankfully, we have Purple Haze, a lasting relic to remind us what Cam is truly capable of.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Vivien Killilea

Romeo May Have Landed A Role In 'Bad Boys For Life'

Bad Boys 3 is officially going down, and there's going to be a lot of new changes. The biggest change seems to be major additions to the film's cast. In fact, Romeo Miller recently hopped on social media on Tuesday (Dec. 11), suggesting that he could be the newest addition to the Bad Boys team.

Romeo shared a photo of an email for a callback to the Bad Boys set on his Instagram Stories on Dec. 11. "When you get callbacks and opportunity to work alongside your idols, @martinlawrence and @willsmith, you go study and go ghost," the rapper-turned-actor said, mentioning stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith.

Romeo isn't the only hip-hop star to possibly land a role in the forthcoming movie. Nicky Jam also suggested he was going out for a part during an interview with TMZ in Nov. 2018. "I actually came her because I'm doing a casting for a movie," he said at the time.

As previously reported Will Smith and Martin Lawrence announced that the third installment of the Bad Boys franchise is finally happening after years of negotiating. The upcoming film, entitled, Bad Boys For Life, is expected to premiere in Jan. 2020.

Check out Romeo's post below.


View this post on Instagram


Looks like #Romeo May be joining the #BadBoys3 crew! Are y’all here for it, #Roomies!?

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Dec 11, 2018 at 10:13am PST

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Safaree Says He's Over His Beef With Meek Mill: "He Ain't On No B.S"

Safaree is ready to leave the ill feelings in 2018. In a forthcoming episode of BET's Rants, Safaree dished about his previously beef with Meek Mill, insisting that he was way over the drama.

During the episode, Safaree addressed Meek's new attitude and maturity level. "As far as Meek—and I can see in Meek and everything he does now—he's way more mature than he was even a year ago," Safaree said. "From what he's been through, I can tell he ain't on no B.S. because when I hosted the BET Pre-Awards and all that, [Rick] Ross was there. Me and Ross, we spoke, we chopped it up and Meek was right there."

He also stated that he's moving on and focusing his energy elsewhere. "It was what it was. The s**t happened. Ain't nobody die. I'm over that."

As previously reported, Safaree and Meek's beef started in 2017, over what seemed to be the common denominator: Nicki Minaj. Meek started dating the rapper after her 10-year long romance with the Love & Hip Hop star.

Things escalated after Safaree accused Meek and his crew of jumping him during the 2017 BET Awards weekend in Los Angeles. Footage taken during the incident shows Safaree talking to some people at the same time that Meek hops out of his vehicle a couple of feet away. Soon after, someone is seen throwing a punch at Safaree. At the time, Safaree called Meek the "biggest pu**y on the planet, but he clearly has a change of heart now.

It's unclear if Meek and Safaree have officially made up, but this wouldn't be the first reconciliation that happened involving the CHAMPIONSHIPS artist. He previously made up with Drake in Sept. 2018.

Safaree's episode of Rants airs on BET on Dec. 11.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

'Selena: The Series' Is Headed To Netflix

It's been more than 20 years since Selena Quintanilla's senseless death, but the singer's fans and family have done their part to keep her memory and legacy alive. With the hope of introducing the Grammy-award winner to a new generation, Netflix has ordered a Selena series to live on the streaming platform.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Quintanilla family will produce what is being described as a coming of age story for the model, actress and fashion designer. It's unclear how many episodes will be in the series and if it'll be 30 minutes or an hour.

"Selena will always have a lasting place in music history and we feel great responsibility to do justice to her memory. With this series, viewers will finally get the full history of Selena, our family, and the impact she has had on all of our lives, Selena's sister Suzette Quintanilla said in a statement. "We are excited to partner with Campanario and Netflix to give fans a never-before-seen glimpse at our story and highlight why Selena will remain a legend for generations to come."

Selena began her musical career in the 1980s often performing at festivals in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. She quickly rose to fame and earned a Grammy in 1994 for best Mexican/American album, becoming the first female Tejano singer to do so.

In 1995, Selena was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar who managed her fan club after it had been discovered she was embezzling money. Saldivar was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. The singer's life then made it to the big screen in 1997, with Jennifer Lopez starring in the principal role.

READ MORE: Her Living Legacy And What It Still Means Today

Continue Reading

Top Stories