Cam’ron, “Here I Am” (Originally Published April 2009)

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So you can’t get behind the scenes and fix things and come out together as a united front again?
It depends on what the situation is. And this just one of them situations where stuff got too public, to where, on my side, it can’t be fixed. Not saying I don’t love them. Not that they ain’t my friends, my brothers forever. But musicwise, we gotta move on.

What happened with the situation around Juelz’s contract with Def Jam? It’s been presented as a part of the problem between you guys—that you owned him and didn’t let him do anything.
First of all, yeah, I heard all that. I didn’t never say I owned him.

That’s the way it’s been explained. Exactly. And that’s another thing. How could you be listening to people?
If you didn’t hear it come out of my mouth, why would you listen?… I’m not gonna run to the media and say everything every time somebody say something. Your value goes down. Right now, my anticipation is up out of control. So there was never nothing for me to say until my album comes out. It doesn’t make sense to run do a cover of a magazine when there’s no music out, just because there’s controversy…But as far as Juelz, I sold the contract to Def Jam. As long as he’s on Def Jam, me and Def Jam still have a deal between us to where we worked something out.

Did you prevent him from doing collaborations?
That’s totally false. What Juelz has to realize is this: Anytime he does something, Def Jam gets paid. Me and Def Jam was partners, and me and Juelz was partners. If Juelz does a song with Sean Kingston, Def Jam calls and gets $20,000—whether Juelz knows it or not. If they our partners, then we should get $20,000. [But in these situations,] Def Jam would get paid and we wouldn’t, so I would say, “No, we’re not clearing it.” Because how come they are getting the money and me and Juelz wouldn’t be getting the money? Def Jam was starting to get frustrated with Juelz because they wanted him to put out an album. They started to lose patience. He doesn’t know I told Def Jam, “Yo, no, let him do this, let him do that.” They didn’t want to let him do anything, because they want they album. They figure, “How come he can feature on this and feature on that, and we can’t get our album?” It was plenty of times where they didn’t want to clear anything, and I told them, “No, do this. This needs to be cleared.” But then it became a tug-of-war situation with certain projects, where they would be like, “Cam, we understand what you’re saying. But, no, we can’t have this unless they gonna pay us double or extra or yada yada yada.” There was plenty of times I fought for him to be featured on people’s songs. Def Jam didn’t want him to be featured on people’s songs.

So where’s the miscommunication? Why does he blame you?
I knew him since he was 15 years old. He stayed with me for a while. Like, that was my man. That was my little dude. But he started drinking sizzurp. You understand what I’m saying? He was getting high. And we smoke enough weed. Why are we drinking Robitussin? And we’re not sick. You got to the studio, he got 100 Hawaiian Punches mixed with Robitussin, swerving. We’re not from Houston. No disrespect to anyone among that culture or nobody drinking Robitussin.

That’s not a New York thing.
It’s not a New York thing. And when you get caught up on that—and, you know, I called his mother about it. I asked her about it. She know about it. She said she was asking him to stop. I called the people that was in his circle. They’d say, “Nah, Cam, it ain’t that much. It’s just a little bit.” That’s like saying you only smoking a little bit of crack. So, at the end of the day, I stopped speaking to him… Not saying I wasn’t gonna speak to him again. And I didn’t know it would get this far. But I was basically just taking a stand, like, Look, we can’t mess with you if you gonna be drinking sizzurp. Even there was a time when Jim called me and was like, “What’s going on with you and Juelz, because he keep calling, and he don’t even usually call me like this?” So I explained to Jim like, “The boy drinking sizzurp. Not the liquor that we own, the Robitussin.” And, you know, that’s the only reason me and Juelz stopped speaking. Because I’m not gonna sit there and watch my little brother get high and not say nothing.

You’ve been described as a “paper gangster” in the past. You’re the one that copyrights everything. You’re the one that owns everything. You’re the one that owns the Diplomats.
They do own a percentage of the Diplomats. I may own the majority percentage, but everybody has a percentage in the company. Juelz never came and talked to me about this, so he just going off whatever he hears. As far as “paper gangster,” I’m just doing smart shit. Not as far as Diplomats, as far as other things. I learned that from…being paper gangsters, I guess you could say. No homo.

Where did you get your business sense?
Definitely Dame. Dame Dash. I’d sit there and watch Dame do it, man. I watched, and I learned from him.

So what do you think about Dame and Jim working together now?
I think that’s a great look. Dame and Jim and me, we all grew up in the same building. And it isn’t like Dame isn’t looking for me. Dame been tried to get in contact with me for a while. But I know Dame, and Dame is trying to, you know, get back in the music scene. And nobody was kinda listening when I was telling them that my mother’s sick. So I kinda took offense—not to Dame, just in general, to people. When I’m like, “My mother’s sick,” and they like, “Okay, cool, when’s the album coming out?” And I’m like, “Yo, my mother is paralyzed on her left side. She can’t walk.”

How do you get to the point where you pick up the phone and start talking to people again?
Who are “people”?

Dame, for example.
Oh, Dame is always my man.

But if you don’t answer the phone, how does someone not get offended?
I told you my mother’s sick. How am I not gonna get offended at you getting offended that my mother being sick? That’s how I take that—and I’m not saying that Dame did that at all.

Right, just in general.
Just in general. Next time you see Dame, ask him—whenever I get paper, I send a briefcase over to him. I send him money every time I get a big check. $50,000 in a briefcase. Because, at the end of the day, none of this would be possible without Dame. I’m talking about from when I used to hustle for him as a teenager to the point where we was at Sony in a terrible, terrible, terrible situation. He gave me the opportunity to come over to Roc-A-Fella when Roc-A-Fella was on top of the world, and I got to bring Diplomats over there. And everybody else got popping from that tree, so none of this would be possible without Dame. And I’m not one to forget that.

Do you feel like you’ve taken advantage of anybody moneywise? Or do you think you’ve been on the up-and-up, honestly?
I’ve been on the up-and-up. All the time, all the way around the board.

When you and Jim split, did the people around each of you try to get you two back together? Or did they just kind of divide with you?
I would say people just started dividing. And you can’t blame—that’s why I love the people that’s around me now. ’Cause a lot of people didn’t understand. It was like, “Ah, Cam’s not coming out.” Or, “Cam’s not doing this.” And they didn’t understand my situation. So it’s like, “We not messing with Cam,” and this and that. And they had to do what they had to do to eat, and I respect that. It’s a little confusing, though. There has to be more to the problem between you and Jim than his idea to start a fake beef.

Is there any more you can speak on?
No, not at all. If you ask Jim, he can tell you whatever he wants to tell you. But, for me, that’s what it was… ’Cause I took from that— Hey, you wanna do your own thing, you can do your own thing.

Goodbye?
Nah, it wasn’t goodbye. Like I said, I called [Jim], and then he called me and wanted me to come to the video, and I came to the video. But I’m talking about, like, as far as once we
started beefing or arguing in the public, that is. The two things that you could say it was is: The come to my house and try to start a fake beef between me and [him]. And the kinda like siding with 50 when me and him is in the dead middle of beefing or whatever.

So the 50 thing, that was something for you to get upset over and hold a grudge about, right?
No. It’s nothing to get upset over.

From a personal perspective…
But everything’s business. You can’t sit and be like, [excitedly] Oh, they did that?! You gotta be like, [calmly] Okay, they did that. Okay, this is what I’m going to do. So now I’m going to start making different moves. You can’t sit there and have an attitude. This isn’t a personal business. This isn’t a business where you can have emotions and whine about stuff. You gotta see what’s going on and strategize to make your next move.

But all those things came from a relationship, and relationships are personal. You seemed to say…
No, I said those are the two reasons why we can’t move on. Don’t—we can rewind the tape.

Let’s clarify.
Yeah, let’s make sure we straight on that. I ain’t say it upset me. I’m saying that’s the reason that we can’t move on forward. The public got this late. We been not really being on the same page anyway. So that’s why I was kinda trying to save face with the phone call, the 50 Cent phone call. ’Cause once it gets public, it is what it is.