Growing up in Harlem, Cameron Giles got his first taste of stardom as a high school basketball star, where he, and a certain teammate named Mason Betha, garnered attention from college scouts. But Cam’s true calling was linguistics not athletics. And at the time, the seeds of a rap dynasty were growing in Harlem that would impact the style and sound of East Coast hip-hop for a decade to come. While Harlem always played a part as the social epicenter for hip hop culture…with legendary nightclubs, 125th street’s marketplace, and more….it was the place were music was played, not made.
That is until a new class of hungry young emcees from Uptown started capturing the attention of mixtape djs and hardcore fans….namely the Children of the Corn, featuring Cameron—now Killa Cam, his high school pal Mason—now Murda Mase, the late Big L (who later joined the Diggin’ in the Crates collective), producer Digga, and Cam’s cousin Bloodshed. Children of the Corn’s existence as a group was cut short when member Bloodshed was killed in a car accident, but their legend was already cemented on mixtapes and radio freestyles. Mase dropped the “Murda” and became the new prince of Sean Puffy Comb’s Bad Boy Records…meanwhile Killa Cam waited for his solo shot.
It’s this ability to speak to such different audiences that has kept Cam’ron one of hip-hop’s biggest cult favorites for over 11 years in the game. And on his 6th major release, Crime Pays, Cam’ron gives his fanatic following exactly what they want…unapologetic, gimmick-free street raps. Besides the blue-collar angst of “I Hate My Job,” Cam brings his twisted wit on songs like “Bottom of the P---y Hole,” and his cinematic street sense on “I Used to Get It In Ohio,” and “Cookin’ Up.” No features and no filler, Crime Pays is Cam’s past and present coming full circle.