One of the biggest questions we will have to face in our life is how do we age with time. In hip hop, this question is becoming more important every day as our favorite rappers move farther and farther away from their hay day. Some artists evolve gracefully, while most fail to recapture what their fans fell in love with them for in the first place. For legendary Harlem mc Cam’ron, he discovers how to move with the times while also acknowledging his past successes on his new project, U Wasn’t There.
Through nine tracks that span across 27 minutes, Cam’ron creates his most magical effort in a long time through his personally driven writing and one-of-a-kind charm. While the charisma that we fell in love with Cam’ron through is fading away at this point in his career, the way the aging mc goes about this entire album makes this feel natural and hardly a bad thing.
This entire album is centered around the idea of remembering where you came from but being able to move past your nostalgic-filled memories. Senn immediately on the intro track “,This Is My City,” Cam’ron talks about how he loved his neighborhood growing up but would never want to relive what he experienced there. Whether Cam is thinking about his teenage years or when he was a superstar rapper in the early 2000s, he brings the same level of maturity to each shard of the past he faces.
Just as much as Cam looks back on this record, he makes it a priority to also look at the future. This is most strongly seen on the track “Dame Skit,” which features Dame Dash talking about his and Cam’s relationship and how their goals have evolved over the years. Dame says how they used to go back and forth talking about how they were going to take over the rap game, and now they go back and forth talking about such things as family. While I wish Cam went more into detail about this idea as opposed to such things like the former women he slept with, having Dash acknowledge and pave out this part of the concept adds a lot to the entire listening experience.
Speaking of Dame Dash, he is not the only one from Cam’ron’s past who we see here as both Juelz Santana and Jim Jones make appearances. Hearing these Diplomat members link together is truly exciting, and it makes you wish they would release another project together. In addition to these features, Styles P adds a great feature on the track “Think Boy,” and Conway The Machine delivers a solid hook on “Ghetto Prophets.” The nicest touch in terms of collaborating came from the Just Blaze production on the star-studded outro track.
All in all, while Cam’ron’s signature presence and lyrical complexity are fading, his display of maturity as an artist and man is a powerful thing to see. The way he looks at the past in an unromanticized view while also looking to his future with excitement is an important message that not just rappers need to hear, but many people in general. Bringing this entire record together, A-Trak delivers a masterful score filled with sped-up soul sample loops and some tight drum patterns for Cam to carry out this vision over. The chemistry between this rapper-producer duo feels so natural, and if there’s one thing this almost half an hour record leaves me with, it’s wanting more material from this newfound duo.
- What You Do
- All I Really Wanted
- Think Boy
- This is My City
- Dipset Acrylics
- Ghetto Prophets
- Dame Skit
Written By: Mr. Fantastic