Cam’ron and Vado take “Harlem Heat” to mainstream

Harlem brings the heat

After the disbandment of platinum-selling group “The Diplomats,” Cameron Giles was thought to be a mercurial, but forgotten rapper. The disappointing release of 2006’s “Killa Season” combined with other private issues, caused a three-year hiatus from the music industry for Cam’ron.

Enter Vado. A vibrant, young emcee with punchlines and bravado for days. At least twice the lyrical emcee that Juelz Santana ever was, Vado seems to have inspired Cam. Along with new favorite producer AraabMuzik, the duo(known collectively as the U.N.) has gained critical acclaim for their “Boss of all Bosses” mixtape series with DJ Drama. Now they try their hand at a retail release “Gunz and Butta” with mostly favorable results.

The album opens with the hard-hitting “Killa.” The song is exactly what you would expect from a U.N. track: guns, ladies and power over the heavy-hitting beats that AraabMuzik provides. If you’re a fan of their recent work, the song is exactly what you’re wanting to hear to start off the album. There are other standout tracks, in particular “I Luv U” and “Monster Muzik,” the latter of which previously appeared on DJ Kay Slay’s 2010 album “More Than Just a DJ.” These tracks showcase the catchy but tough-talking rhymes that Cam & Vado spit on the regular. “You see why I’m feeling myself, the market done changed and ya’ll rappers still on the shelf, quick to go for the eagles like I’m from Philadelph, I feel for ya health, if I pull ya ice grill will get melt!” Vado spits on “Monster Muzik.”

Other notables include the disco-influenced “Lights, Camera, Action,” 2010 smash “Speakin’ in Tungs” and the high-bouncing crew track “We all up in here.” Tracks such as “F*ck a Freestyle” show Cam’ron and Vado rapping at a more relaxed pace and showcasing witty punchlines guaranteed to get a laugh out of even the driest of personalities. “The government, crib still buggin it, getting big M’s, uh-huh I’m loving it,” Cam casually spits.

Although many of these tracks you’ve already heard thanks to the mixtapes, the songs do not feel out of place as they were placed there for newer fans to check out. The only real issue is as far as cohesiveness goes, the album. Although the songs deal with the same subject matter, some may view this album as more of a glorified mixtape. It seems more like a collection of good songs rather than a full release. Is it the old tracks that cause this problem? Maybe, but it seems more like laziness is also a factor.

Regardless, the U.N. seems to have come through with a respectable, hard-hitting retail release. “Gunz and Butta” features hard-hitting tracks that are enough to keep subwoofers knocking and parties rocking for the summer. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of the Dipset general and his newest protégé.


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