Cam’ron & Vado, Boss of All Bosses 3
Let’s face it—the so-called Diplomat “reunion” hasn’t exactly turned out the way fans might have wanted. The hope of a Dipset second coming now seems like little more than a dream, with the Dips dispersed across the landscape of the New York hip-hop scene. Jim Jones has been tied up with his own ventures (solo projects, a clothing line, becoming a reality TV personality), and the complete and utter disappearance of Juelz Santana warrants the filing of a missing persons report. This has left Cam’ron working primarily with his contemporary protégé, Vado. The Harlem upstart has played a mean number two to Killa’s unparalleled gangster silliness, much like Juelz did circa 2003. The two have paired up for a string of impressive projects, and with Boss of All Bosses 3, they’ve added another one to the catalog.
The tape sounds very similar to their previous endeavors, which isn’t necessarily a negative—they’ve found a cohesive sound and they execute it well. Known for his unrelenting attacks on the MPC, Araabmuzik deserves credit for his pivotal role in the formation of the Cam/Vado dynamic. His signature beats of frenzied precision have been a staple of the BOAB series and the collaborative retail offering Gunz n’ Butta. On this project, other contributing producers show up, too, doing their best to keep up with Araab’s chaotic pace. From the eerie church organs on “From the Bottom,” to the glitchy, bombastic “Livin’ Our Life,” it’s a strong collection of high voltage production.
Per usual, the project is rife with classic Cam moments. Lines like, “We ain’t workin’ out now but in great shape/I don’t even fuck with Kelloggs, I hate flakes!” or, “It’s a wrap bitch, I got a lake, and it’s filled up with Catfish,” exemplify Cam’s persona as the ruler of absurd, gaudy, over the top, gangsterism. Vado responds with his own ravenous flow, tearing through the frenetic backdrops with ease.
While Cam’s glory days of chinchilla furs, pink luxury SUVs, and Bill O’Reilly showdowns may be behind him, his latest work still holds its own. Vado’s proven himself a more than capable partner in crime, and between the two of them, they’ve started to revive a career that just a few years ago, appeared to be on the way out. This bodes well for the Harlem veteran, who recently announced plans to release a solo album in the spring of 2012. —Neil Martinez-Belkin @Neil_MB