Cam’ron’s ‘First Of The Month Vol. 5′ EP Brings Mixed Results
Killa Cam season has been in effect for months now. Cam'ron's been prolific as of late, returning with his fifth installment of his First Of The Month series. Throughout the series, the Dipset rapper featured a consistent range of collaborators, production being handled by the likes of AraabMuzik, and contributions from the Dipset crew and other guests. However for First Of The Month Vol. 5, Cam switches up his cast and sound. The results are hit or miss.
On the lead single "Touch the Sky," Cam'ron goes in on a poppy, acoustic guitar driven instrumental that also features rhymes from Wiz Khalifa and fellow Harlem native Smoke DZA. Cam plays his raps off of looped vocals in the beat, and then Wiz Khalifa delivers an energetic and creative flow before DZA brings things home with his clever wordplay: "I was Hitler with the pounds I got like Adolf." Cam'ron's willingness to build this EP around a light-hearted, guitar driven single is very welcoming for its originality as well as accessibility for new fans.
The next track "Wonderland" sees Cam and Hell Rell trying to turn things up over a Dipset-era beat, featuring banging drums, skittering hi-hats, and a high pitch vocal sample. The beat comes off as a little hectic though, especially to old Dipset fans comparing it to some of Just Blaze's finest, and the production quality on the track pales in comparison to the former AraabMuzik-produced joint.
After "Wonderland," comes "Sound Good To U" and "Bagging Up" (featuring Sen). On both tracks Cam tries to channel the same energy as on "Touch the Sky," but with mixed results. "Sound Good To U" is the one for the ladies, where he raps about his lavish lifestyle and how he can offer anything to women of his dreams. "YSL, CLS, I'm fly as hell/ Here baby girl, come try Chanel / Now get in the bed and try Chanel," he raps. On "Bagging Up," Cam pulls another one out of the Dipset playbook. The track is dedicated to the pitfalls of hustling in the dope game. The piano, synths, and claps that run the beat are catchy and playful, and Cam sings as well as skillfully raps over the beat. "When its over its over / I am not your life support...baby girl you're a sliding door."
First Of The Month Vol. 5 finishes with "Uh Uh Uh Oh" where Cam'ron deviates from the bubblegum aesthetic on the rest of the EP and goes in on a hard-hitting and frantic beat. Perhaps this final track is to let fans know that Cam will fundamentally always still be Killa. The latest EP definitely has its own personality, but sometimes it sounds contrived and underdeveloped compared to the rest of Cam'ron's catalog. Maybe the pressure of putting out new music frequently is getting to him? Whatever the case, we'll have to find out next month.—John Barnes