Cam'ron

S.D.E.

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Cam'ron, who scored a gold album and a string of chart singles with his first album, Confessions of Fire, begins his second with the uncompromising "F*** You," which establishes immediately that he is turning to a more aggressive gangsta style. Thereafter, the rapper covers the usual subjects for the genre, cursing freely in depictions of sexual and physical violence against women, drug usage, and gunplay. Producer Darrell "Digga" Branch provides rudimentary backing tracks that sample such familiar tunes as Edwin Starr's "War" and the Police's "Roxanne," while Cam'ron expresses rage in slow raps that often devolve into little more than complaining. In "Do It Again," the 22-year-old reflects back on his life, pondering whether he would change anything. "I live my life for thugs, I live my life for drugs, f*** everybody else," he says. Haunted by his own chance of violent death, he follows "Come Kill Me" with "What I Gotta Live For." As the album goes on, guest rappers make more frequent appearances, and several of them, notably Freaky Zeeky and Jimmy Jones, turn out to be faster and more vocally adept than Cam'ron. They provide the only moments when S.D.E. (the initials stand for Sports, Drugs, and Entertainment) rises above the pedestrian, though they prove no respite from the onslaught of vulgarities. (Oddly enough, though, the final track, "My Hood," does give some relief, since it is a so-called "clean" edit, which is to say that offensive words simply have been wiped out of the rap, leaving awkward silences and rendering it largely incomprehensible. There is no notation about the edit, and it may be a simple mistake, since the entire album was also released in a "clean" version.)

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