A rapper I recently discovered from interviewing and enjoying the music of other artists, Cam was a great find to me as his recently released project R U Still Down? is amongst the most fully realised I’ve heard this year. I was eager to interview him about his creative processes, inspirations and plans for the future, and I think it all came together very well.

1. R U Still Down? is definitely one of the best projects I’ve heard this year. It’s an amazingly concise, well produced and conceptualised piece of music, down to everything from the flagrant but gritty production to the old school radio skits. Can you tell me anything about how that record came together?

– Appreciate that man. That record really came together in September of last year. I was going through somewhat of a transition musically. Dudes i was running with I wasn’t running with anymore, and i felt I was either getting fake love or really no support from people that claimed to be rocking with me. Thats where the title came about “R U Still Down?” I felt like my back was against the wall and I was on my own so I wanted to ask that question to people. Like who’s really riding with me, or still riding with me for the long haul, you know? All other bullshit aside. So at that time I had a couple joints produced by outcrowd that I had already recorded in the summer (U & People), but I came back around to some of his beat tapes and just got into a great zone and decided to make a full length project. Originally it was supposed to be a lil EP consisting of 4 songs (Krime, 03 Roc, U & People) but I was getting so many ideas I crafted what eventually became the album that is out now. I’m really pleased with the product and the response it has been getting.

2. Where are you from? I’m not good at placing accents but I’m guessing you’re from New York, you have that sound in your music for sure.

– Although a lot of people assume I’m from NYC, I’m actually from New Jersey haha. I grew up in a town called Watchung and also Scotch Plains where I went to high school. I did spend some time in New York though when I went to St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens for about a year and a half. Even before then though i frequently went into the city and I got homies out there. I record out there sometimes as well. It’s just a different scene out there it’s refreshing to spend some time there opposed to Jersey.

3. How long have you been rapping? You sound professional as hell with the rhymes so I’d assume you’ve been in this shit for a while.

– I’ve been rapping since i was 17, so for almost 5 years exactly. I wrote & recorded my first rap senior year in high school. SOME BULLSHIT lmaoo. It was a remix to the “Chiraq” beat and me and the homies just fucking around forreal. We were all just messing around having fun but people were digging it. I always loved hip-hop though so even when people thought i couldn’t do much more than joke with it that made me really want to go harder and improve. I figured if people liked that, imagine what they gonna think when i hit them with some real shit, ya know? So from there I took it from my nigga Rob Lew living room to a real studio and been putting in work ever since haha. Just tryna get better every time with it.

4. Who is your favourite producer to work with? ‘STUTTR’ with revenxnt and ‘RIDE SLOW’ with Grimm are two of my favourites you’ve dropped since the album, but you sound nice over everything I’ve heard so far.

– Shiit first off s/o all the producers out here putting they soul into this shit forreal. I get a lot of inspiration from the production I hear and it’s vital to a lot of the dope shit we hear, they shouldn’t get overlooked… As far as my favorite producers to work with I’d say right now my dawg revenxnt outta jersey. He’s hella versatile and brings that soul to his production everytime. His beats bring some of the best raps out me, you gotta do them shits justice. The tape we’re about to drop is crazy n thats prolly an understatement. I can’t forget my boy 2spvced out in H-Town as well as Carvomusic who taught me a lot about this music shit in general.

5. When is your next project due out? I see you dropped a playlist on Soundcloud to warm us up, featuring your amazing features for SeKwence and Larry and a track I really like called ‘Lavish Dinners’. Will any of those songs make the tracklist?

– My next project is titled “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIXXX IT” and is produced all by revenxnt. Y’all can expect that within the next week or so. I’m just working on the finishing touches, about to get it mastered, and its gonna be out for the people. The playlist i dropped (*W$RKN* 1.5) was just a little something to hold listeners over. None of those songs will be on the actual project, just some loosies I’ve been sitting on & throwaways that didn’t necessarily have a home so i put them out for fans to enjoy.

6. Who are some of your favourite rappers? Both of all time and currently.

– I draw inspiration from Ghostface, Jay-Z, 2PAC, Method Man, Redman, Lloyd Banks, Snoop, Sir Mike, Roc Marci, Nas, 50 Cent, Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y, Nipsey Hu$$le, Kendrick Lamar. Thats just to name a few. I listen to so much rap music so my list is constantly changing haha.

7. Do you have any gigs lined up? Or any other events people should watch out for?

– As of right now I don’t have any gigs lined up, I’ve just been wrapping up this Rev project and something special me and 2Spvced are cooking up. Definitely stay tuned though I’m actively looking to perform. People should also be on the lookout for physical copies of “R U Still Down?” and “IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIXXX IT” this fall, that’s something I’m definitely looking forward to doing. Also, new visuals as always. I’m looking to release more videos from both of those projects.

8. What do you get up to aside from making music?

– aside from music, i play basketball and watch a lot of it. I indulge in the weed smoke as well haha, but for the most part I’m either listening to or creating music I’m a pretty simple dude.

9. Finally, I’d like to say thanks for this interview, and is there anyone you want to shout out?

– No problem bro, thank you for reaching out and supporting. Shit shout out to my brozay Rob Lew be on the lookout for his new shit, s/o all the Souless homies, 108Mics & all my supporters fr. I’m just getting started so tune in!

Listen to Cam on Soundcloud. Follow him on Twitter at @camxbanks.

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