Cam’ron emerges from a three-year hiatus with a quality album that seems custom-made for the current economic times. Clocking in at way over an hour and 23 tracks, including a few that have been leaked, “Crime Pays” is a bargain for consumers, and with no famous guest MC’s, no big-name producers, minimal marketing and promotion and being released on the independent Asylum Records, if this album sells, Killa Cam may have found the new blueprint for success in the record business. While it remains to be seen whether or not he’s cracked the code of the “New” music industry, what is clear is that Cam can still create original material that will engage listeners.
After one listen to “Crime Pays” it is clear that not much has changed for Cam’ron since 2006’s “Killa Season,” he’s still connected to the drug game (“Cookin Up” and “Homicide”), he’s still incredibly vulgar when dealing with females (“You Know What’s Up” and “Spend The Night”) and he’s still capable of making fun party songs that will resonate with everyone from thugs to hipsters (“Silky (No Homo)” and “Cookies-N-Apple Juice”). The one major change in Cam’s life, his estrangement from his Dipset crew, is evident by the lack of Dipset guest appearances, but disappointingly never addressed. And while most of the material that falls into the “Same Old Cam” category is solid, it is when he branches out to tackle new subject matter like the plight of the working class (“My Job”), his efforts to expand his empire beyond Harlem (“Get It In Ohio”) and motivating his fans to achieve success (“Get It Get It”) that the album really shines and distances itself from the rest of Cam’s formidable catalog.
“Crime Pays” is probably not the album to “bring New York back,” but it is a solid effort from one of the most unique MC’s in the game and should hold fans over until Dipset either reunites or starts the typical war of words that ensues when a crews break up.