Cam’ron Continues To Impress On ‘1st Of The Month: Vol. 3′ EP
For the third installment in Cam’ron’s monthly EP series, the irreverent Harlem MC treats listeners to yet another brief, but memorable, piece of work that manages to touch on an array of subject-matter, ranging from women problems (in case you couldn’t guess, the song is “Dumb Bitch”) to in-depth, autobiographical reflections on some of his career bright spots, as well as mishaps (on “On Top.”). Despite the five-track, 20 minute-or-less formulas Cam has used for these tapes, First of The Month: Vol. 3, much like his last effort, has enough diverse records that stand out on their own, and should help give the project some decent shelf-life.
In perhaps his most head-scratching ensemble cast of the three EP’s, Volume 3 features the likes of Dipset lifer Hell Rell, his girlfriend JuJu, Estelle, and a singer who happens to go by the name Rod Rhapsy. Just like the variety of guests and subject matter touched upon on the project, the beat selection on this project is notably the least monotonous-sounding of the projects. While “Dumb Bitch” and “Devil” are dark and frenetic, those records are directly followed by “On Top,” which sounds as upbeat and cheerful like a 1990s Nintendo game’s music. Oh, and there’s also the live-instrument, improvisational-sounding, Harlem jazz club aesthetic on “Let The Show Begin.” At their best, none of these beats rise to the level of some of the better ones on his last two projects, such as “Sweetest” or “Put It In The Sky,” the variance in the types of sound throughout the project is something to appreciate.
If someone was too look for the best, or most notable, song on the EP, they should probably be directed towards the Hell Rell featured “Back on Our Bullshit.” Yet again, that old Dipset feel, that braggadocios Cam, is what manages to seep through the project as its memorable moment at the end of the day. Over a contagious guitar-picking sample, Cam’ron rattles off about a minute of the straightforward, unapologetic ignorance, matched with witty wordplay that help allow Cam to get away with still making projects like this a couple decades in. He also takes a jab at former collaborator Kanye West and criticizes his fashion choices: "Mr. West, what up? It's been a while 'Ye/Your music is tough, but them skirts is wild gay."
What at first seemed like a sloppy attempt at attracting some late-career relevancy again, these five-track tasting menus are beginning to become quite enjoyable monthly events. Suffice it to say, Cam’ron, once again knew what he was doing, and happens to deliver quite nicely on Volume 3.—David Inkeles