16 Things We Learned From Cam'ron's 'Drink Champs' Interview

From the Jay-Z beef to Roc-a-Fella tensions to his history with Mase, here’s everything we learned from Cam’ron’s incredible 'Drink Champs' interview.

Cam'ron on Drink Champs

Image via Drink Champs

Cam'ron on Drink Champs

Cam’ron was one of the most requested Drink Champs guests in the history of the show, and he finally sat down with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN last month. The whopping three-hour episode debuted Thursday night on REVOLT before audio was released on Friday. The video will be out on YouTube Saturday. The wide-spanning conversation covered many aspects of the Harlem icon’s long career, from his beginnings on Undeas Entertainment (where he would’ve been one of Biggie’s first artists) to his own rise to rap stardom. 

We compiled some of the most memorable moments from his conversation below, from his perspective on the Jay-Z beef, to his current relationship with Jim Jones and Juelz Santana, to which artists were originally on his “Suck It Or Not” song. Here are 16 things we learned from Cam’ron’s incredible Drink Champs interview. You can listen to the audio version of the interview on Spotify here.

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Earlier this year, Cam’ron made waves on social media with a video of him and a woman getting intimate. He told N.O.R.E. that the woman DMed him asking to “have his Black babies,” telling him she was filming him from her terrace (they stay in the same complex), and then started getting obsessive after they hooked up. It feels like “the neighbor” storyline is an elaborate act to market his Pink Horsepower male supplement, but maybe it’s not. Cam told Drink Champs he was recording his stalker harassing him “just in case shit go left.” But he was probably joking—we think.

Cam’ron has been open about being first signed to Undeas Entertainment, and even rapping for Biggie, who gave him the nod for the label shortly before he passed. On Drink Champs, he revealed that he wrote Lil Cease’s verse on Lil Kim’s classic “Crush On You” record, an early sign that the young rhymer knew what it took to make a hit.

Cam’ron got into his experience recording his debut Confessions of Fire album, which was recorded while Lance “Un” Rivera and others on the Undeas team were still reeling from Big’s 1997 death. It seems like Big’s presence loomed large over the project, because Cam remembers the team consistently comparing his work to what Big would have done. He said that he now resents the project because of a lack of creative control, telling N.O.R.E., “I don’t consider that 100% my music.”

One of the highlights of the discussion is Cam telling Drink Champs about the circumstances behind his signing to Roc-A-Fella. He says that his situation at Epic Records wasn’t going right, with an executive at the label literally telling him that the people in control of his project weren’t giving him enough marketing and radio spins. 

He said he decided to “swallow his pride” and get help from Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Dame Dash, an old friend who he had fallen out with. The Roc was one of the biggest movements in the game at the time. Cam’ron says Dame told him he’d sign him if he got off of Epic, which Cam then set out to do by having his crew wreak havoc in the Epic offices until they let him go. He even said that upon signing to the Roc, Dame told him he could get a job “answering phones or something” if his solo album didn’t work out. Luckily that never happened. 

In 2016, Karen Civil was a guest on the Tax Season podcast, where she told a story about Dipset allegedly being kicked out of the Def Jam building because Cam wouldn’t give Jay-Z a parking spot. Days later, Cam’ron got at Karen while denying the story on Instagram, then reiterated on Drink Champs that he also “called her about lying.” He says he’s cool with Karen, who worked for Dipset for three years, but clarified “you’re clout chasing and you ain’t got to because you’re already established.” Words for everyone to live by. 

The height of the New York mixtape market was a magical era, and Dipset was at the heart of it. He told N.O.R.E. that they were actually pioneers, as the first crew to do their own mixtape. It had previously been DJs like DJ Clue, Funkmaster Flex, Kay Slay, and others who put together mixtapes compiling the best music from their artist networks. But Cam’ron thinks the crew was the first to self-release their own free project with the DJ Kay Slay-hosted Dipset mixtape series. He even recalled Dame incredulously asking him, “Y’all putin’ out free music, what the fuck are y’all doin?” Making history.

Lil Wayne’s Dipset ties are well-known, with “Suck It Or Not” being one of their most memorable collaborations from the mid-00s. Cam’ron said it wasn’t originally Wayne, but fellow Louisianians Boosie and Webbie who were on the track at first. He told Drink Champs “Wayne heard it, and Todd Moscowitz and Asylum wanted to put Wayne on it” right before they were set to master it. There’s a version on Youtube featuring Webbie with Wayne, but no such version with Boosie. 

It’s a little-known fact that esteemed actor Laurence Fishburne used to be credited as Larry Fishburne in films before he officially changed his stage name. That name change was the impetus for the funniest story Cam’ron told during the episode. He recalls being with Dipset members in the airport and seeing Fishburne walk by. Cam’ron says that Jim Jones told the crew that “I was in Toys R’ Us, and if you call him Larry, he loses his mind.” 

Naturally, Cam’ron’s late friend Fat Shawn screamed out “Yo Larry,” which caught the actor’s attention in a bad way. He got into it with Shawn, and cursed him before leaving. Then he came back to their seating area to sit near them. Cam’ron said that Jim had recently been an extra on New York Undercover and wanted acting tips from Fishburne, who refused because Shawn kept calling him Larry. Apparently Fishburne even pulled out his ID and showed Shawn, who continued to troll him until Cam’ron himself got mad, told him “suck my dick,” and threatened him. 

Cam hilariously recalled that Fishburne backed up and put on gloves, apparently ready to fight. “I looked at my man T like we about to jump this nigga,” Cam said, but Fishburne walked off. Eith Shawn being mad, he missed his chance to get hit and sue. 

The story doesn’t end there, though. Cam’ron said that a friend of his was riding his iconic pink Range Rover through Harlem some time later and spotted Fishburne, who told the friend to tell Cam that he’s a big fan. Apparently he didn’t know that the people he was about to fight in the airport were Cam and crew—until now.

Cam’ron said that he, Memphis Bleek, Dame and Jay-Z used to hang out in the ‘90s before The Roc was a thing, when he and Bleek were the young protégés of the latter two (Cam even said that he’s been to 560 State Street). But that love had dissipated by the time Cam got to the Roc.

He recalled an awkward tension between Dipset and the rest of the label, which Jay himself once noted. According to Cam, Jay came to him in the studio, told him “everything’s all good,” and he subsequently ended up getting Jay on “Welcome To New York City” (though Jay basically shrugged off doing a video). But things soon went sour after Dame named Cam the Roc-A-Fella President without Jay-Z’s knowledge. Cam said on the podcast that miscommunications like that were a major factor in the Roc dynasty crumbling. 

That friction could be told in a story of two deleted verses. Peedi Crakk called into the show to tell a story about Jay-Z demanding Cam’ron’s verse be deleted from “One For Peedi Crakk,” and Beanie Sigel hearing the version of the song with Cam on it, breaking the CD and throwing it in the trash (Beanie was unhappy with comments Cam had made about him on Rap City). 

After Peedi told him this, Cam deleted Jay-Z’s verse from the “Oh Boy” remix that never was. 

But things are all good now, and he commended Jay-Z for always signing off on Cam’s business even during the tension. 

N.O.R.E. asked Cam’ron a bunch of “either or” questions during the middle of the podcast, and one of them was “Jay-Z or Nas.” Cam took a long pause, then said, “I’mma go with Jay-Z if I got to, but it’s hard to pick.” He ultimately gave Jay the slight edge because “you could play more Jay shit in the club.”

Cam is always pushing some kind of product. Nowadays it’s his Viagra-like Pink Horsepower drink, an “all natural male drink to make your significant other body do the Harlem shake” as he wrote on Instagram. N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN joked about taking a shot of the supplement during the episode, but Cam quickly told them “don’t take it around nobody you don’t wanna be around when it’s time to take it,” noting that it works fast. He even told a story about a friend who took it too soon and had to get out of the car with his own mother because… well, you can infer why. 

There’s an increasing awareness of the importance of artists owning their masters for the long haul. And near the end of the episode, when N.O.R.E. was praising the Dipset for their indie ethos, Cam told N.O.R.E. that he “just got his masters back,” though he didn’t specify from which label. He said that he’s in the process of getting them back from Def Jam and Sony, so perhaps he’s referring to already receiving his Asylum or Epic Records masters, where he did two albums apiece. 

He also gave the guys some game about the Taylor Swift tactic of re-recording one’s songs to have control over the new version of them. He said that he hasn’t yet done it for his work, but it was good information to share regardless (N.O.R.E. and EFN didn’t know about the maneuver). Amongst all the laughs, it was cool to hear some clever career advice from a rap veteran.

Dipset has had their fair share of acrimony over the years, but Cam gave them nothing but praise throughout the episode. He credited Jim’s business sense and drive, and said he trusts him enough to let him handle the numerous branding deals that the iconic crew are involved in. 

He also said that he had just spoken with Juelz the day before the episode, and they were on good terms. He clarified that apparently Juelz’ 2020 “In My Life” song, perceived as a Cam’ron diss, was actually a concept record that Juelz didn’t get to run by Cam’ron before his 2019 incarceration. Juelz wanted Cam to rap from his perspective of the Dipset fallout, but Cam ultimately felt like it would confuse their fans.

Mase and Cam are one of hip-hop’s quintessential examples of frenemies. Based on the way he spoke on Mase during the show, it seems like they have enough history and love for each other to eventually get cool with each other every few years or so, but enough of a difference in personality that it never lasts. Cam reflected that his annoyance with Mase stems from a confluence of petty things that eventually add up and make him not want to continue their friendship. 

He also told N.O.R.E. that he was “proud” of Mase’s “Oracle’ diss, apparently happy that the frequent retiree stood up for himself after years of Cam and Dipset throwing shots.

It goes without saying that Cam is one of the rap game’s most indelible characters. He said that he’s planning to let people know where he gets his personality from and “show the part of Harlem I grew up in” in an upcoming documentary that he’s “in the middle” of putting together. The documentary will highlight hustlers and other notable Harlem personalities from Cam’s formative years of the “late 70s and early 80s.’

Killa Season is a hood classic. Cam’ron said he put the movie together “off the top of his head,” based in part on the process of watching other movies and wanting to emulate scenes that stuck out to him. Those looking for a sequel would be happy to know that he’s open to do it—but the people have to put up a GoFundMe to fund it. That seems like a fair tradeoff. 

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