Who Dat Rapper? 09-24-2016
Watts, CA representer Kam is one of those socially conscious MC’s along the same lines as Chuck D, Paris, or Scarface. Both he and his mentor, Ice Cube, share much in common. He often vents his frustrations over the inequalities that plague the planet. Kam does his teaching over a smorgasbord of west coast producers who’ve laced him with some great music that rivals anything in the 90’s.
Kam first showcased his powerful rhymes on “Every Single Weekend” which landed on 1991’s classic Boyz In The Hood Soundtrack. Then a few months later, Kam found himself on something special. The Almighty himself must have hand picked these 7 west coast MC’s and put them together on “Color Blind”. This piece of dynamite was on Ice Cube’s deadly Death Certificate and discussed LA’s gang problems. Kam shows us he is more than just a rapper talking about sex, money and murder. He rhymes:
I’m fresh outta county on bail
And no sooner do I get out, seems like I’m right back in jail
For some gang related activity
‘Cause everyday, different fools try to get with me
For no more than a color, or territory
Can’t rehabilitate ’em, that’s the sheriff’s story
So what’s left, the judge goes deaf
When you try to tell your side
And you ain’t blue eyed
Boy you better duck ’cause the book is comin’
And just hand your car keys over to your woman
Because it ain’t no sunshine where you headed
And the shit’ll drive you crazy if you let it
But now, I got time to think
Because they hit me with everything but the kitchen sink
And I ain’t even shed a tear
‘Cause believe it or not, they got more love for me here
The rest of the crew drop jewels that reflect their surroundings. (Courtesy of The Meters) the butter smooth sample is something straight from the heavens and the angelic croons throughout are enough to make me shed a tear. In fact, this song is preventing me from writing any further this evening.
Ice Cube “Color Blind” (feat. Threat, J Dee, Kam, King Tee, WC, Coolio)
Kam “Neva Again” (1993)
Shortly thereafter Kam started on his debut Neva Again, executive produced by Ice Cube. He recruited a team of producers including DJ Pooh. They created a masterpiece that undoubtedly had a West Coast vibe chock full of familiar samples. This was a perfect match to Kam’s lyrics laced with so much substance he was labeled a socially conscious rapper.
The first single “Peace Treaty,” discussed the truce between the Bloods and Crips after the Rodney King riots. “Aint that a Bitch” criticizes the school system and how the government treats its veterans. “Holiday Madness” has Kam questioning the validity of holidays. Ice Cube joins Kam on “Watts Riot,” and both get militant by discussing injustices in the community. Cube even threatens to start another Watts Riot.
The album’s magnum opus is his second single, “Still Got Love 4 Um”. Listening to the smooth laid back sample courtesy of The Moments is necessary while we listen to Kam reminisce about his childhood relationships. There was even a vocal sample in here from “Color Blind.”
Kam “Still Got Love 4 Um”
Kam “Made In America” (1995)
Two years later, Kam dropped his sophomore album Made In America and took a bit of a different direction. This time, his producers were a who’s who of West Coast producers, including DJ Battlecat, DJ Quik, Warren G, EA Ski and Cold 187um. Kam also decides not to preach too much this time around and spends this album telling the listener what it’s like to live in Watts in the 90’s.
Warren G laces us with the smooth ride and Kam speaks on how to “Keep Tha Peace”. Battlecat hooks up “Way of Life” and “Trust Nobody” that has Kam telling his stories. MC Ren and Dresta show up on “Down Fa Mine” and emphasize they aren’t to be effed with. I wish Kam and Ren would have done more together. They both have strong voices that are able to get their point across…crystal clear. “Pull Yo Hoe Card” was the beginning of issues Kam would have with Ice Cube.
Kam – Keep Tha Peace
DJ Pooh feat. Kam – Whoop Whoop
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Kam next appeared on the Bulworth Soundtrack in 1998, you know the one, with Mya and Pras’ “Ghetto Superstar”. The song that’s more annoying than this years presidential election. That single was in no way indicative of the rest of the soundtrack. Kam jumped on a track with east coast vets, Method Man, Prodigy and the one and only KRS-One. He got extra political and dropped a rather vicious verse toward the government on the title track, “Bulworth”
Method Man x Prodigy x Kam x Krs-One “Bulworth”
Kam “Kamnesia” (2001)
2001 was a new millennium and was the release of Kam’s 3rd album, Kamnesia. He took yet another direction this time around. Kam’s sound evolved from the classic west coast sounds of his 90’s albums. The two tracks “Giddie Up” and “Bounce Trick” have a more pop bouncy beat, and even features Kam rhyming a bit faster than we were used to. “Kamnesia” is the obligatory song where a rapper with tenure lets the younger generation know his resume. A militant Kam is featured, as he gets prepared for battle, on the track “Wardance”. The war chants on the hook and the sounds of fighting in the background make you feel like Kam and a bunch of Native Americans are on horseback on the way to DC to take over the oval office.
Kam – Wardance
Kam most recently dropped Mutual Respect in May of 2016 and features a whole slew of West Coast veterans.
WHO DAT RAPPER? is a weekly column featuring oft-forgotten and slept on Hip-Hop artists. Do you have a suggestion? Comment below.
Who Dat Rapper? 09-24-2016