When I heard Cam’ron was playing in my Brooklyn neighborhood, I knew I had to go. Since he rose to fame in the 2000’s from the streets of Harlem, Cam been delivering deadly lines as part of the Diplomats. Now, he is having a resurgence, lead the hipster icon A-trak and a line of fashion capes, which is leading to a renewed interest in his epic catalog. Killa Cam brought Harlem to Brooklyn for a rare live performance of some of his biggest hits, and I was proud to witness it.
Cam’s DJ got there about 15 minutes before his actual performance, leaving the opener Austin Millz to work the crowd for the hours prior. Austin blended popular club tracks like T-Pain’s “Up Down” along with classic hip hop to appeal to a diverse crowd filled with Hood by Air sweatshirts mixed with Herschel backpacks. The venue, The Wick, is positioned in the factory strewn industrial section of Bushwick, and lends itself to interesting crowds. Having cement mixing towers and strange Chinese importing companies in the background always leads to an exciting, Fallout themed atmosphere for the show.
When Cam finally took the stage around 11:30pm in a dark floral sweatsuit he brought his crew from Harlem with him. It was a mix of random sweatshirts, chains and girls in fake Burberry. But this just added to the bizarre vibe. I can only imagine what these Harlem girls thought when they pulled into the desolated apocalyptic wasteland of Bushwick.
Cam jumped right into his early classics, firing off “Killa Season”, “Girls”, “Gangsta Music” and “Down and Out”. He glided effortlessly over every bar, at times slightly syncopating or ad-libbing the lyrics. Cam was as polished as a rapper who has been touring nonstop – perhaps more so.
Cam kept his fans in mind as he played radio hits such as “Oh Boy” a “Hey Ma” – an obvious favorite.
The way Cam rolled late, fired off bars and then bounced implies he is a professional hustler whose time is valuable. He thanked the fans briefly, but these were a level of iconic distance – even if his entourage was highly approachable. Cam doesn’t have to try. His cool is effortless, his hardest raps sound easy and his style is instantly accepted. It was surreal to see a rapper I grew up idolizing come to a barn/warehouse/venue in Brooklyn. But, as I expected, Killa Cam elevated the space and the audience. We all felt like we were part of Cam’s Harlem World that night, and that’s exactly what a great performer should do.