Cam'Ron has come a long way from the miserable attempt at a concept album with an equally lame name -- Confessions of Fire -- and even weirder album cover to his now completely mastered and refined rhyming style that has spawned too many rappers who claim Killa's signature flow as their own.
While his first album was far from wack, it was sort of a hodgepodge of random wild thoughts, complete with references of incest and the devil, all set over radio-friendly production in a mostly successful attempt to gain crossover appeal.
Nowadays it seems that he is primarily interested in creating the perfect rhyme, which, to Cam’ron, consists of knowingly ignorant, misogynistic, celebratory and money-obsessed lyrics that he knows his fans love him for: "You know me, fuck a freestyle, I'd rather hit Papi on speed dial."
And on Gunz ‘N Butta he gives his loyal listeners perhaps his best rhyming and lyrical effort since Purple Haze was released seven long years ago, a sentiment that Cam seems to agree with on the song American Greed: "Vado gotta vision that’s so raw, say no more, rewind, he remind me of me in 0-4."
Which brings me to Vado, Cam's aforementioned partner in rhyme on this album, sharing emceeing duties with his mentor, who seems to have discovered the latest in a talented string of his understudies who have gone on to receive individual critical acclaim -- a badge of honor for Cam, who for years now has shown his A&R-like talent without being in a corner office of a high rise building in midtown Manhattan.
Editor's Note: You can understand why Dame Dash appointed Cam to become the Vice President of Roc-A-Fella. Likewise, knowing how Jay feels about competition (and especially about Cam), you can understand Jay’s reaction to that appointment. But I digress…
Vado is a star is his own right, coming up with innovative rhyme schemes and a dizzying array of flows, all laced with potent lyrics that keep the listeners hanging on each and every word. With his high-powered delivery, all indications are that absent of music Vado could still rock rhymes effectively, a trait of a true emcee despite much of his lyrical content covering the requisite street life (after all, his name does stand for Violence And Drugs Overall): "Black Retros, yeah, them's 60 plus/ black Expo, necks broke just to look at us/ ridiculous delivery, them bars tight/ she fell in love with my kick game like Posh Spice."
Araab's beats -- which make up the bulk of this album's production -- do more on this album to discredit his naysayers who would rather reduce him to a gimmicky producing sideshow than his actual words ever could.
Standout tracks include but are not limited to Stop It 5, Breathe and I-Luv U, which, if released as a single, is my bet to become a certified summer banger.
Here's some visual imagery in the form of music videos for songs from the album: