Ranking the Best Cam’ron Albums

A few days ago in the Soul In Stereo Cypher, I asked the question that has haunted me for years:

Should I FINALLY rank and review all of Prince’s LPs? All THIRTY NINE of them???

Because my people love me, the Cypher said nah, rightfully worried that I’d crack under the pressure of wading through three dozen purple-powered albums. I may revisit that idea one day but hey, if we can’t do purple, let’s go pink instead.

The music scene in recent memory has been absolutely infested by stan culture. Y’all know what I mean – fanatical devotion for an artist, no matter how good said artist’s work really is. Stanning has always been around in some form, but the earliest example of stanning in its current form is the rise of Dipset circa 2003, led by the eccentric Cam’ron. On the surface, Cam is one of those MCs who constantly teetered between the brilliant and the absurd, thanks to his rampant use of the most bizarre bars you’ve ever heard.

But look deeper and you’ll see that Cam is no parody rapper – he’s a potent lyricist who catches foes off guard with his flashy pink attire and nonsensical metaphors before mowing them down with the accuracy of an assassin.

Cam’ron is a much more potent MC than he gets credit for and his discography is a lot stronger than you’ve been led to believe.

Today, let’s revisit the glory days of the Dipset general, ranking his solo LPs from bottom to top. As always, this list will exclude EPs, mixtapes, collabos with cohort Vado and compilations, so, sorry, the Diplomatic Immunity series won’t be featured here.

7. Purple Haze 2 (2019)

Soul In Stereo rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Edd said: Why yes, there was a Purple Haze 2 album! There’s a good chance you missed Cam’s most recent release, which dropped quietly at the tail end of 2019, right before the world starting coming apart at the seams few months later. Sequel albums are almost always a losing proposition – the bar is just too high for artists to clear – but credit to Cam for recreating the soulful grittiness of this album’s namesake. Cam’s much more introspective here than usual and it’s cool to see him embrace his elder statesmen role. However, while the album starts pretty strong, it begins to lose focus halfway through and a lot of momentum by the end. Trim a few of the weaker songs, shuffle the sequencing and this one could have been a contender.

Forgotten favorites: “Toast to Me,” “Losin’ Weight 3,” “Fast Lane”

6. Crime Pays (2009)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Crime Pays wasn’t all that well-received at the time but I was a big fan, even naming it one of the best rap releases of 2009 during the very early days of Soul In Stereo. The flaws are a bit more glaring a decade later – the production and mixing feel off on some tracks, and Cam’s wild sense of humor goes off the rails a few times – but it’s still a much stronger release than it gets credit for. “Get It In Ohio” and “My Job” are two of Cam’s most overlooked singles and more than a few album cuts keep the album afloat when things get too goofy. Casual fans might be put off but Cam stans will find a lot to love.

Forgotten favorites: “Get It in Ohio,” “My Job,” “Got It For Cheap”

5. Confessions of Fire (1998)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Don’t be fooled by the relatively “low” placement of this one, Cam’s debut is very good. As I’ve said many times before, there’s just something about the year 1998 – if you dropped an album during those magical 12 months, it’s statistically guaranteed to be a banger. Ignore the weird John Henry cosplay on the album, Confessions of Fire lives up to that billing – even though it doesn’t feel like a Cam’ron album. Killa hadn’t yet found his signature sound and the more radio-ready tracks aren’t always a clean fit (it’s wild to see names like Kenny Greene, Jermaine Dupri, Usher and Kelly Price on a Cam tracklist). Nitpicks aside,  Confessions of Fire showed lots of potential and honestly is pretty interchangeable with the next album on our list.

Forgotten favorites: “Glory,” “D Rugs,” “Who’s Nice”

4. Killa Season (2006)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Confessions of Fire’s best tracks arguably beat the best of Killa Season, but Cam’s 06 album gets the slight edge due to him feeling more comfortable in his own skin. While it’s not officially Purple Haze 2, Killa Season often seems like an extension of its predecessor. Dipset is here, Cam’s bizarre humor and crazy wordplay are in full force but much of the production is a step down from his previous efforts. The Dipset train was definitely beginning to run out of steam by 2006, but Killa Season was still a solid parting shot.

Forgotten favorites: “Wet Wipes,” “Get ‘Em Daddy Remix,” “War”

3. SDE (2000)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Even though first single “Let Me Know” is one of Cam’s biggest hits, SDE rarely pops up in convos about Cam’s best work – likely because it preceded the Dipset glory days. That lack of notoriety doesn’t mean there’s a lack of quality, though. SDE is the album that introduced us to the distinct Cam delivery we know today, though his laid-back flow is often replaced with more aggression. That’s a good thing though, as it allows him to attack the beats with a hunger he lacked on later releases. It’s also his most conceptually diverse release, fluctuating from street bangers to introspective cuts to sleazy sex tracks at a moment’s notice. Like almost every Cam album, it would be even stronger with a trim and slight restructuring but it’s easily one of his most underrated efforts.

Forgotten favorites: “Losin’ Weight,” “Sports, Drugs & Entertainment,” “Double Up”

2. Come Home with Me (2002)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Cam’s coming out party. By 2002 Cam’ron was already an established MC but his Roc-A-Fella debut took him from respected NY rapper to global phenomenon. And he took his boys from Dipset along for the ride. Not only is this set home to some of Cam’s biggest hits, it’s also by far his most focused release, not hindered by endless skits or so-so filler that plague some of the other LPs here. A star-making release for sure, it’s only eclipsed by one other album…

Forgotten favorites: “Welcome to New York City,” ” Losin’ Weight Part 2,” “The Roc (Just Fire)”

1. Purple Haze (2004)

Soul In Stereo rating: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Real talk, before I started this relistening to all of Cam’s work for this list, I assumed that Come Home With Me would take the top spot, Purple Haze would land at No. 2 and my inbox would be flooded with death threats from Dipset stans for the next year. I mean, Purple Haze is fun, but it’s WAY too long and has the benefit of nostalgic hype. It can’t be as good as fans remember, right?

Wrong. It’s most definitely that good.

Purple Haze was released as the height of DipsetMania (my original copy was a bootleg some young Dipset fans slid to me circa 2003) and this album – along with the beloved Diplomatic Immunity LP – were the centerpieces of that movement. Incredible production from the Heatmakerz, Kanye West, Skitzo is what drives this one, with Cam’s infamous madman metaphors creating some of the best one-liners of the era. It’s a brilliant balance between soul and street. Sure it’s flawed and a little lengthy, but almost every track hits home. It’s by far Cam’s most beloved work and, even I must now admit, it’s his best.

Forgotten favorites: “Harlem Streets,” “Get ‘Em Girls,” “Family Ties”

Dipset fans, which Killa album is your favorite? Let us know below.



  1. The 1st one and the one with “Down but not out” on it.

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