May 14th 2002. Always an easy day for me to remember, because it’s 24 hours before my birthday. On the date in question I was 24 hours from turning 21 years old and Cam’ron was about to change the mindset and culture of hip-hop forever.
I’d been a Cam’ron fan since Confessions of Fire. “Shanghai” was my favorite song on that album. Also had Sports Drugs and Entertainment which I also thought was dope. Although SDE is the true birth of the Diplomats, the culture doesn’t become impacted by the movement until 2 years after that album drops. The impact starts with Cam’ron’s 3rd solo album titled Come Home With Me.
I have to say Come Home With Me was probably the 2nd time I seen a cult following literally grow at an unbelievable rate. First cult would have definitely been Roc-A-Fella after the Dynasty album and first State Property movie. When Come Home With Me dropped the style, language and energy of hip-hop changed. Young men were fascinated by the images Cam’ron was throwing out to the people along with Jimmy, Juelz and Freeky. It was truly like nothing I’d ever seen before. The hit records made the impact undeniable.
“Oh Boy” and “Hey Ma” both featuring Juelz Santana were the definition of Summer Anthems. Whether it was the car or the club you heard these songs. You could go to a cookout or dorm or house party and you heard these joints and the party elevated. You couldn’t get away from them. Their influence was setting in with just two songs. Two songs that you can now say are two of the biggest hits in hip-hop history. Even the story of Cam erasing Jay Z’s “Oh Boy” remix version of the song is legendary.
After the “Hey Ma” video dropped, the big story in hip-hop was “Cam’ron was wearing a pink bandana. Cam’ron be wearing pink.” And of course at that time the “Is Cam’ron gay?” questions started looming because of his fashion choices. It started off as “soft, square and feminine” to wear pink when the “Hey Ma” video first dropped. It would take less than 6 months. Possibly less than 3 for all that to change. I remember going to malls like North Riverside, Ford City and even Stratford Square and Woodfield Mall with my guy Rob and you would see dudes trying to cop the White and Pink Phat Farm shoes. Wild thing is, in 2002 they only came in women sizes. That’s how thirsty dudes were to wear pink after Cam’ron made it socially acceptable. Pink tees, tanks, button ups and bandanas all were being purchased in abundance once Cam made it cool. Cam would go on to set fashion trends for about 10 years after this.
The Dipset movement looked cool, fly and gangster AF! It’s no secret Harlem is the flyest borough and Cam and The Diplomats reinforced that with every image. The clothes, jewels and cars. The way they poured liquor. The way Santana wore his bandana. It all became polarizing and would be mimicked nationwide. Even the way they said Dipset on the track would get people hype. The title track “Come Home With Me” and “Welcome To New York City” relit the fire for New York being the place to be for culture and realness. We truly had no idea how great a Jay and Cam collaboration would be until “Welcome To New York City” and it’s sad we may never get another one.
The first time “Pause” or “No Homo” was used in an album was this album. The anticipation for Juelz Santana starts with this album. The “Yo L. What Up? I hit. What Else” that ends “Hey Ma” is now a popular meme format 15 years later. Now you can find virtually any man who is of the hip-hop culture in many shades of pink and it’s no big deal. All of these things are why Cam’s Come Home With Me is a certified classic album. A prime definition of time and cultural impact. Salute to Cam’ron for a dope album that changed the game forever.
Dipset Bitch! [Wait…that’s not official till 2003]
Be Safe. Be Humble. Live Hip-Hop.