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Rapper Cam’ron on his new album ‘Purple Haze 2’

The Harlem rapper talks music, Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL and why tennis is his new favorite sport

It’s been 15 years since Cam’ron dropped what he believes is his best album, Purple Haze. The album features production from Kanye West, the Heatmakerz and Skitzo with iconic tracks such as “Killa Cam,” “Down and Out” and “Dip-Set Forever.”

To celebrate the anniversary, the Harlem native will be releasing a sequel on Dec. 20, Purple Haze 2, which he says is a project to give back to his longtime supporters.

“I have so much music that I’ve made that I’m sitting on,” Cam’ron, 43, said. “I’m being selfish by not sharing it with my fans. It was time to put some more back out.”

The rapper talked to The Undefeated about the origin of the “Dip-Set” ad-libs, Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL, what he thinks of the New York Knicks and why tennis is his new favorite sport.

The interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

What are your top three Cam’ron albums?

I would say Purple Haze would be No. 1 for me. No. 2 would be Come Home with Me. The third would be S.D.E. because I got to do what I wanted. Not to say, I didn’t get to what I wanted when I released Confessions of Fire, but me and Un [Lance Rivera] had to compromise a lot with my music. He had experience that I didn’t have. Not saying he didn’t let me be myself, but it was a lot of things he had input on. With S.D.E., it was 100 percent Cam rebelling and doing what he wanted to do.

Where did you guys get the inspiration for all the signature “Dip-Set” ad-libs on your songs?

Before we had a record deal, me and Jim Jones were listening to Tupac’s Makaveli album and there was this one song, where he was dissing Biggie, but he was going crazy with the ad-libs. We just thought it was so dope. We would listen to the songs on that album just for the ad-libs and when we started making music we incorporated that into what we were doing.

Do you take credit for pushing the color pink into the mainstream?

I’m not afraid to take chances. I could care less what you think. If I think it’s dope, then it’s dope. I think that’s why people f— with me because I’m not big on following things. If you’re going right, then I’m going left. I don’t want to be doing what everybody else is doing. For people to notice that, I appreciate that. So, yeah, I definitely take credit for it.

You’re a longtime Knicks fan.

I have not been alive to see the Knicks win a championship. We had a great run in the ’90s with Anthony Mason, Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, John Starks and all those guys. But coming close just doesn’t cut it for me. You haven’t won a championship in like 40-something years. It gets depressing, but I’ma stick with them.

If you ran the Knicks, what would you do?

I don’t wanna say it and mess my tickets up, but it’s pretty obvious.

You provided some riveting commentary on your Instagram during a match between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff at the US Open.

I’ve become a big tennis fan over the last five years. To me, the toughest sport is boxing. You’ve got three minutes to fight, you got one minute to rest, there are no substitutions, there’s no ‘if my leg hurts, you get to bring somebody in,’ it’s a one-on-one sport. When I look at tennis, I’m saying this is also a really tough sport. They don’t have injury protocol, so if you hurt yourself, you just lose. The strategy, hitting the ball hard, hitting the ball soft, 100 mph serves. I got really intrigued when I tuned into that match. It was great to see two young up-and-comers and to watch the next generation of tennis.

What do you think about Jay-Z announcing his partnership with the NFL and all the backlash that he’s received?

As much as people may hate on that situation, there are no black owners in the NFL. To have a voice in the NFL, whether it’s Jay or anybody else black, I think that’s really dope. A lot of people were saying, ‘why did he do it,’ but I’m pretty sure at least 50 percent of the NFL players are black. So you’re going to play every Sunday as a black person but we can’t have someone in the executive office trying to dictate and make moves to make it better for minorities in the league? Just to have a black voice accepted on an executive level, I think that’s dope.

 

Alex Wong is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He writes for Yahoo Canada Sports, GQ, The New York Times, SLAM, and other places.