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Cam vs. Fifty: And The Winner Is…

I am gonna assume that we have all heard the diss tracks from these dudes and seen the corresponding videos. If you haven’t, get a late pass from Elliot Wilson before you come back to class. Speaking of the bossman, he makes an important point about the value of video content in today’s rap game. The time that a music video was complementary to the music tracks has come and gone. If your album doesn’t have several videos accompanying it then you didn’t release an album, you dropped a mixtape.

So after reviewing all the evidence from the first round of this rap heavyweight battle I am ready to render a verdict as to who won and why. As a matter of fact, I think I will call myself the Larry Merchant of the Hip-Hop journalism game, or maybe the Jim Lampley of the game even though I haven’t been arrested for beating my broad, yet. How about the Harold Ledeman of the XXL online staff? I should prah’lee just call myself the Ferdie Pacheco of this shit (quick references for all the XXL boxing fans) and get it over with.

Anyhoo, let’s go to the tale of the tape to see who technically won this one. Music videos are a far more sophisticated production than some of you pedestrian fans might think. The best music videos require massive coordination, staff and money to be produced and there’s usually hours of reel footage for an end result that takes four minutes of real time. Here are the categories that I think we should rate music videos by…

Original Concept – Both of these videos use somewhat formulaic concepts albeit slightly altered to convey their overall messages. Fifty’s video which takes place (theoretically) in one of the many houses that he owns features bandana clad bandits sitting on ATV’s throughout the house, or maybe it was in the garage. There were also bikini clad ladies and fancy guns. If Fifty Cent wanted to freak this scenario he would have had one of the girls put a gun in her mouth and pull the trigger. Then he would have had the goons have sex with the corpse and after that they could have thrown the corpse into the backyard pool filled with other dead corpses. That would have been a hardbody video.

Cam’Ron’s video had a more man on the street feel as his budget under Koch allowed for only one hand held digital camera. Cam’Ron used local New York City locations to shoot like in front of an East Harlem housing project as well as inside the building’s stairwell and even inside the arab spot that the Dips use to play C-low and hide from their probation officers. Cam also used low resolution jpeg images to keep the home movie YouTube feel fresh. I give Cam’Ron props for organizing the ghetto revival. Who needs the white rapper show when Cam’Ron is still the best trickster in the game. He uses his flow and ad libs to bring some truth to rap. “You ain’t Fifty Cent, Fifty Cent from B.K.”

Production Quality – There’s no question here who’s video had the better production quality. Interscope has an actual video department, while Koch records president Bob Frank also does the video editing for the label on weekends after he’s smoked an ounce of weed. If the folks at Interscope hadn’t rushed the Fifty Cent video out to the public it would have been some shit with helicopters, explosions and extinct dinosaurs all up in it. Interscope has SONY’s checkbook and we all know SONY has more money than God.

The ‘X’ Factor – The internets represents the X factor for whether or not a viral campaign will be successful. Both Fifty and Cam’Ron have dedicated legions of adoring adolescents that troll the internets all day long in the hopes of typing phrases like “Dip Set all day bitch” and “G-G-G-G-G-G-G-Unit” wherever and whenever they can and always using all capital letters. In this category it’s clearly a draw, but I do see the Dips advancing as an internets presence. They certainly have a lock on MySpace for whatever that’s worth.

At the end of the day both Fifty Cent and Cam’Ron entertained us with their posturing and rhetoric. I can’t imagine these two attention whores would let this weekend go by without someone saying something sideways. Let’s convene here next week to see who’s still standing at the top of the heap.

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