NEW YORK Bassline Studios is to the Roc-A-Fella family what the Hall of Justice was to the Superfriends. At any given time you're bound to catch some of the camp in there working and playing. On Friday it was the meeting spot before a night of performing and partying. It was almost midnight, Dame Dash was on his way, Jay-Z was in the front lounge where "The Long Kiss Goodnight" was playing on wide-screen TV while various members of the crew, including Roc's R&B artist Rell, were going at it in pool.
Beanie Sigel was sick at home, the rest of State Property were on the road promoting their album, Memphis Bleek was in the main studio working on a song for his next project and Cam'ron was previewing his new album in another studio.
"I can't even get no tickets to Radio City," he said about fellow Aquarius Alicia Keys in between tracks. Keys, who was playing the first night of two sold-out dates at Radio City Music Hall, was going to be co-hosting a birthday party with Cam'ron (Cam turned 25 on Monday) later on in the night, where such celebrities as Shaggy were set to attend.
Although he laughs off being snubbed by his homegirl, Cam is dead serious about not getting overlooked when he drops his third LP, Come Home With Me (he originally wanted to name it Blow, like the movie, but had problems clearing the title), on April 23 (see "Cam'ron Is Set To Blow With Roc-A-Fella").
"I wanna get them sales," the Harlem native said intently. "I had a lot of hot songs on radio. It ain't like I ain't have four or five #1 songs in New York before, this ain't nothin' new. I just wanna get the sales part. Radio is not a problem in New York."
Neither is getting love in the streets. Between the mixtapes and NYC radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS, Cam is white hot, garnering buzz and heavy rotation with a cameo on the "unofficial" remix of Ja Rule's "Dial M for Murder" and his own cuts "Ambitions Az a Killa" (where he raps over Tupac's track for "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" and which features Daz), "Just Fire" (a scabrous posse cut with Beans and Bleek), "Come Home With Me" and the Just Blaze-produced "Oh Boy."
"Uptown, people be like, 'What up boy, boy?' " Cam said of the track. "But Just Blaze had the beat and it was just sitting around. [I was] like, 'What up with that beat?' The beat was sitting there like two months. We did it in 15 minutes, took it to the radio the next day. It was on CD, he ain't even lay the beat down. I just take my joints to radio, I ain't got time, if it's hot, let's go."
Cam said he's not worried about unloading too much of his arsenal before the LP drops. He said he has way more than enough hits waiting in the wings. The album we'll hear on April 23 is a combination of a record he finished while on Epic and another he made recently after getting out of his contract ("I have two albums, I just have to pick the best songs from both," he explained).
"I got more joints, it ain't nothing," he bragged. "I just put them joints out so I can get the buzz going. I ain't been out in like a year. I gotta come strong. I'm in the studio right now. I come in and do joints every day. I got 10 songs you ain't gonna hear 'cause they not gonna make the album. Ain't no room. It's only 74 minutes on a CD. I'm up to 73 minutes and 20 seconds. I don't even have space for another skit."
Come Home With Me starts off with playful words of wisdom from mixtape giant DJ Kay Slay, who's also down with Cam's all Harlem World crew, called Diplomats, with Juelz Santana and Jimmy Jones. Later Cam goes into "Daydreaming," a song where he fantasizes about escapism with his "wifey," and "Tomorrow Is Not Promised," where he talks about his deceased cousin, Bloodshed. "Losin' Weight Part 2," a sequel to his introspective narrative, "Losin' Weight," which was on his last album, is also featured.
"I put Santana on it," he said. "It's just basically the opposite of the first one. The first one is like 'I'm tired of [selling drugs].' The second one's like, 'Screw that, let's get money.' Just like both sides of the coin."