The Notorious B.I.G. once proclaimed, Youre nobody til somebody kills you. Camron couldnt possibly subscribe to the notion, because most of his trials have involved near death experiences in varying degrees. In 2005, an unknown assailant fired on the Harlem rapper in his Lamborghini, striking him in the right arm. Then, there was the near death of his career, following a short, yet potent beef with 50. In response, Camron created a music video where he energetically leapt from a casket to symbolize his sudden resurrection.
These days, Camron is looking like the proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes of the past. But the present isnt as sweet or as simple as the public perceives. The sabbatical from the rap game was mostly self-imposed due to real family issues. His crew, The Diplomats, is the UFC of crew infighting with several conflicts running concurrently. Still Cam lives on. In 2009, he plans to release three albums (Crime Pays on May 5), a pair of movies (including Killa Season 2) and handle a whole bunch of other business like Dipset and 50 Cent if necessary. There truly is life after death.
AllHipHop.com: First of all, can explain your time away? We know some things, but a lot of people are assuming as well.
Camron: My Mom had a stroke, she had three strokes in one day, three minor strokes. Shes paralyzed on the left side of her body. I took her to a specialist in Miami. It's about 11 months rehabilitation, transferred her back up here for about 6 months rehabilitation here, made sure she was back on her feet. You know, during that time everybody was like, Wheres Cam, wheres Cam, wheres Cam? People who was close to me kind of knew what was going on already, but then after a while I was like Im in the process of doing this album. It doesnt really make sense to come out and say anything without the music coming out so Im like Ill take advantage of the Wheres Cam situation for another six, seven, eights months. And I then come surface when it's time to put the music out, but it didnt make sense for me to come out and be like Aye , Wheres Cam? and we didnt have any music to put out. Then, Ill just be wasting time. When it's time to put music out, we might as well talk about everything at one time
AllHipHop.com: Right right, hows your Moms? I met her in one of our earlier interviews.
Camron: Shes about 75%, 80% you know. Shes driving again, walking again, running around being the hoodlum that she is. You know what Im saying? My mom is real street. Shes from Harlem. She wont ever leave. I done bought her houses, condos. I gotta force her to go stay there, but shes in love with Harlem though. Shes good. Shes doing much better. Shes not 100%. Shes walking with a cane, but shes alright. Appreciate that though.
AllHipHop.com: Would you regard this album as a comeback album?
Camron: I wouldnt, but everybody else is kinda is making like Cam is coming back, Cams this and Cams that. But at the same time, I dont think Ive had that long of a lay off, but I view it as this is just what Ive been doing. Ive never stopped recording anyway. You know I have my own studio. When I was in Miami, I was in the studio [after I].made sure my mom was good I go to the studio, but Ive always been recording the whole time now also. Maybe thats why I dont look at it as a comeback album but I would say about 90% of the public eye, people are looking at it as a comeback album.AllHipHop.com: We saw pictures of you at Six Flags or something like that.
Camron: Thats old footage thats about three years old. I seen that footage too and I was like I havent been to Great Adventures since 2006. I looked at one of the watches and I havent had that watch in years. Thats like a 3-year-old picture. People are pulling stuff out of their closets like, Oh theres Cam - .yada yada yadaAllHipHop.com: Let's talk a little bit about whats going on with Dipset. Whats your assessment of things right now as far as the crew? Is it a crew?
Camron: I mean at the end of the day, being Dipset is like being a Smith or a Williams or Johnson. Once youre Dipset, thats your name. You in Dipset. You know our communication ... a lot of stuff surfaced in '07. We were distanced from each other two or three years before that. It just wasnt publicized. We all kind of wasnt talking. Maybe from time to time, maybe two or three times a year for the last two years before that. So everything kind of was like behind the scenes falling apart. It got in the public maybe 2007, but everybodys still Dipset. Everybody got a piece of the company so it is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: So you dont talk to Juelz or Jim or anymore?
Camron: I havent spoke to Juelz in I dont know the last time I spoke to him maybe Christmas 07. I seen him outside of the bank and spoke I let him out his contract in June. I called Zeke phone [the] day before yesterday. I always speak to Zeke.
AllHipHop.com: So it doesnt sound like real beef but more like people growing apart.
Camron: Yeah, I would say that time...I was just explaining that to people once you dont speak to somebody for two, three or four months, you get your own schedule and you kinda go in your own lane. Especially if youre doing alright and it's just like time kinda breaks people up. But it's no beef like that.
AllHipHop.com: What about the whole selling Juelz back to Def Jam?
Camron: He took that out of context. I said I sold his contract to Def Jam, which I did. You know? I wouldnt say I sold him. I didnt call him a slave or yada yada yada. I sold his contract to Def Jam he wanted to get out of his deal and I let him out.
AllHipHop.com: What about Jim Jones? I just heard he had to pay you $10 million to have the use of his rap name?
Camron: No, thats not the case at all. I never even heard that at all.
AllHipHop.com: Oh nothing like that?
Camron: No, thats not true at all, nothing at all.
AllHipHop.com: So a lot of people respect and believe in the Dipset movement that you all built through the years. Is it possible well get a reunion or another group album or anything like that?
Camron: If the money is right, Im willing to talk about anything, man. Business is business. If the money is right, we can definitely sit down and talk.
AllHipHop.com: It wont be like people sleeping in the studio together or anything like that though?
Camron: I doubt it, you know? You know, you never know what happens when you get around people you grew up with and love and have that reunion. But. to be honest, if the money is not right, it doesnt make sense to do it.
AllHipHop.com: But the money probably would be right. I mean look everybodys looking forward to this day a Dipset reunion.
Camron: My price is different, man. You know what Im saying? My price I dont really want to throw numbers out there. But I dont know what the right money is for some people, but I know what the right money is for me. And I dont know if they willing to give that up.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so do you regret saying that Juelz was doing syrup (Sizzurp)?
Camron: No, regret it for what? No, thats the truth. Im not going to sit and lie. What happened is, everybody had their side of the story. Eventually Im going to tell my side of the story. Not just with Juelz, [but] people in general. Basically, the only reason I havent been talking yet, because it doesnt make sense to talk and no music is coming out. Second of all, Im not going to get up and blog just to be blogging. If you gonna do it, it's got to make sense about doing it.
I dont regret it, because its the truth and really what happened severed our relationship. I never said that I wasnt his friend. I never said Im not messing with him. It's like if your little brother is doing something you dont approve of. He took it how he wanted to take it and went whatever way he wanted to go with it, but I dont regret it cause its the truth. And Im not gonna be fake and not say nothing about it. People who dont say anything about it - those are the people thats fake. And those are the people that are yes men and not gonna say anything.
AllHipHop.com: Do you still consider Dipset friends, family?
Camron: Definitely, you know at the end of the day like with Jim, I known Jim since I was like 4 or 5 years old. I met Juelz when he was 15 or 16 years old so I knew Jim a little longer. But Juelz I still consider him family, whether hes mad or he dont wanna be my family or he dont wanna be my friend. I still consider him like my little man. Well hes not little no more, but but I consider him like my man.
In part 2, Camron discusses 50 Cent and Jim Jones, as well as the future of the Dipset movement.