Killa Season

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The two years leading up to Killa Season found Dipset leader Cam'ron coming off as more of a newsmaker than a rapper, and the news was often bad, mostly confusing and oddball. There was his beef with Mase and his bigger beef with Jay-Z, which found Cam'ron fighting battles for Damon Dash while Dash just shrugged. He was also the victim of a botched carjacking with all sorts of questions orbiting around it, and he directed an over-the-top movie that shares this album's title. Plus, when the leader of one of hip-hop's most irresponsible crews announces he's the man to wipe pedophiles off the Internet with a series of entrapments that are caught on tape and released on Dipset DVDs, you've got wonder what in the world this mixtape-spewing, freak-show ringmaster has going on upstairs, and where's the music to convince everyone they should care? The overly long and scattershot Killa Season won't convince everyone as it literally laughs at detractors, shoves most of its fire to the end of the album, and carelessly bounces from cold gangsta to vulnerable. Best of the latter and best of show is the great "I.B.S.": a quirky number that explains Cam'ron's significant weight loss was due to irritable bowel syndrome. Every doctor visit is chronicled and the scatological puns are numerous, but the hardcore Dipset fan will jump right ahead to "You Gotta Love It," an ambitious Jay-Z dis that has no shame ("It was Rocawear/When Dame had it/Now you got it/Call it Cockawear" or the slaying observation that the Def Jam boss has actually worn sandals with jeans!). The memorable "Wet Wipes," the Alchemist-produced "Something New," and "Touch It or Not" with Lil Wayne are all sane and hooky enough to reach past the core audience, proving the man hasn't lost touch. Killa Season would have benefited from trimming and better planning, but those things are extremely rare in the world of Dipset. Taking that into account, the album is exceptional and a good enough excuse for two more years of mouthing off and starting trouble.

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