Cameron Giles is a man of many talents. As a boy, Giles was scouted by Division I schools for his basketball skills. He chose to sell drugs instead. He grew up in east Harlem where his friend Big L (RIP) got him into rapping under the name Cam’ron. A record deal followed and Cam’ron was soon cutting tracks with Jay Z for Def Jam. His first two albums sold millions. So he formed a rap group, The Diplomats a.k.a Dipset. They dressed like diplomats sent from America to a part of the world that doesn’t exist—ghetto world—in red, white and blue everything with giant eagle logos.
Since then his career has had tidal ups and downs, but Cam’ron is currently the don of downtown fashion. Let’s look at the last decade in Cam’ron history.
Killa Cam’s masterpiece Purple Haze came out in 2004. This was when his sartorial and verbal gifts peaked. The man decided pink was a cool color for men and bought pink furs, Range Rovers, cell phones. (White yuppies stole the style with the pink polo trend of the mid-aughts.) He rhymed “hooligan” with “Houlihan’s” and said he enjoyed “drinking sake on a Suzuki in Osaka bay.” (He’d never been to Japan.)
In 2006, he made the dumbest, best ‘hood movie ever “Killa Season.” It’s 127 minutes long. Cam plays himself, kills 47 people, takes over Harlem and pisses on a rival’s young child, R Kelly style.
Cam was poised to run the aughts. Then he decided not to. He split with Def Jam. He went on 60 Minutes to help Stop Snitching, a tragedy where people were collaborating with the police to capture criminals. He told 60 rather than snitch on a serial killer living next door he’d just move.
White people like Bill O’Reilly did not like that comment at all. On Fox News, Cam taunted Bill: “You mad! You mad!” and it became a meme.
Around this time Cam invented the saying “no homo” as a way to compliment men without being mistaken for a homosexual. As in, that guy has a cool car no homo. Later Cam hid out in Florida, dropped some mediocre material, got shot driving a Lambo in DC, amongst other rapper-ly things.
By February 2011 he was still loved in New York, but America forgot about Cam. He played a small club on Bowery for a Fashion Week party. White people went nuts. Then he reformed Dipset. Cam was back. Around this time, I recall a conversation between Cam’s manager and a few fashion people saying he should sell Dipset gear and do “collabs.”
It took another few years, but in 2013 he finally did get into fashion world. Collabing with VFILES, ALIFE and others on $450 Dipset jerseys and $75 t-shirts. VFILES even had the dude who invented “no homo” host a Fashion Week party at the WestGay at Westway party. He wore a cape to that party and the next day walked the runway to launch his cape line with of-the-moment desigener Mark McNairy.
Cam collabed on new music too. He’s got an EP with A-Trak coming out next month. He’s also doing a monthly EP series with a video, called “First of the Month.”
All that has lead to Cam’s latest and most unexpected collab, with L.A. based female streetwear brand DimePiece. It’s a killer bikini, and it’s being modeled on RnB singer Tinashe, who we happened to interview last week. It can be yours for $45.