DJ Cam’s Mad Blunted Jazz is one impressive DJ feat, reminiscent of Andy Smith or Portishead’s Geoff Barrows; it’s an album full of majestic instrumentals mixed by DJ Cam. Unfortunately, this review is for another album by DJ Cam; The Beat Assassinated contains the same superb mixing but is littered with the most hideous, obnoxious MCs he could possibly have found.
The mixes are comparable to DJ Shadow, but may actually be smoother on a lounge tip. The mixes on The Beat Assassinated are similar to those on Mad Blunted Jazz. But sadly, they’re ruined by detestable rapping. There are a few tracks that are not harmed by worthless rapping, but they don’t rank among Cam’s better accomplishments. On the other hand, the tracks that are ruined do showcase the beauty of DJ Cam’s mixing of trip-hop beats and cool jazz. Disappointment is the only word that comes to mind when those lovely tracks are trashed by childish rhymes about drugs, violence, and degrading women. The raps just seem like a parody of hip-hop today. I haven’t heard anything this ridiculous since I saw Steve Miller and his keyboardist start rapping during “Fly Like An Eagle.”
“Broadcasting Live” has incredible beats and reverbed keys that sound like gorgeous chimes ringing over sampled trumpets. The track is as good as any on Mad Blunted Jazz except for the pathetic rhymes about “riches and bitches” from that sorry Rastafarian rapper. It’s just a waste of talent when the extraordinary is ruined by the preposterous. As if that wasn’t bad enough, “Renegade” brings me to tears. I will go out on a limb and say that Silvah Bullet makes the most horrific, pitiful attempt at being a hip-hop artist. Milli Vanilli has a hundred times more talent than this Rastafarian wannabe. Once again, stupidity and lack of talent ruin a promising song.
Just stay far, far away from tracks 4 and 13. Compare “Renegade” with “Inside in a Mind” and you’ll understand that there’s no lack of talentless rappers on this album. “Inside in a Mind” is one of those songs for driving at 2:00am, cruising under the stars and having no destination in mind. Along with “Inside in a Mind” are the wordless (thank God) tunes of “Brooklyn” and “Baron Samedi,” which do remind me of Cam’s better moments.
“Raise Up” is a gorgeous combination of hard beats and cool, Coleman Hawkins-esque jazz, but it’s ruined when Channel Live makes another unwanted appearance. The trend continues throughout the album and I’m just forced to turn it off in disgust. However, if I ever come across a mechanism that erases vocals from a CD, I’ll be ecstatic. DJ Cam obviously has the skills to pay the bills, but those skills are simply wasted here by trying to bring up “artists” that should just stay underground.
Written by Nolan Shigley.