Let’s lift our glasses in honor of Cameron Giles aka Cam’ron aka Killa Cam. This isn’t about the music which I am a huge fan of nor does it have anything to do with the falling out with fellow Dipset member Jim Jones. Nope. Those topics have zero relevance in this piece. In the early 2000s, when Dipset was at it’s height, Cam’ron did what most rappers – besides Andre 3000 – wouldn’t do to stand out: He wore pink! Not only did he wear pink, he even owned a 2003 Pink Range Rover strictly for stunting purposes. What he did in that time broke me out of my shell and pushed me in positive direction in terms of defining my personal style.
With all due respect, most of the Philly guys that followed urban culture in the early 2000s dressed like absolute dickheads. I was one of those dickheads and here is my story of sartorial failings. Back then I had already reached my height limit of 5 feet 5 inches and my weight had to be between 130 and 140 pounds which meant that I had NO BUSINESS wearing 2X tee shirts and size 34 to 36 in jeans. UTTER RIDICULOUSNESS. That’s an era of style that needs to buried with Amelia Earhart and should never EVER be exhumed and resurrected. KILL IT. KILL IT WITH FIRE.
Once Dipset burst unto the mainstream, we all rode the wave. I was a freshman at Villanova and I watched as “Dipset Anthem” became THE ANTHEM. I slowly stopped dressing like a member of State Property (I saw the light!) and started to take cues from the Harlem collective. As a full time broke college student that only worked 20 hours a week as part of the work study program, I couldn’t afford the Pelle Pelle/Avirex leather jackets nor the expensive Japanese denim that were popular at the time so I had to keep it as basic as first grade math. T shirts, Sean John and Rocawear Jeans and of course Air Force Ones (White on White!).
Once Cam’ron donned the pink attire, hip-hop was stunned. I had never seen a street rapper wear that color before and so brashly at that. He decided to stand out in a very unique way but more importantly it was HIS way. Pink wasn’t a “man’s color”. If you were a member of the male species that wore pink in such a aggressive manner, you’d be written off as gay or soft. I don’t know if Killa Cam realized it at the time or not but he opened the door for guys like me to express themselves in a close minded culture. I remember going to the King of Prussia mall in college and sending a former lady friend into Claire’s for a pair of pink earrings so I could be like Cam. Fake ass Pink cubic zirconium earrings but wearing them gave me a push of confidence. Swagger jacking but I was 19 and I’m sure I wasn’t the only sheep in the pasture.
Over the years, I’ve taken a multitude of fashion risks and I’m not upset about any of the bullshit that I wore, well maybe that skull and cross bone phase that I went through but damn it man it was hot in the streets back then. As a man at the helm of his 30s, I can say that I’m much freer now than I was thirteen years ago. Style is an extension of my eccentricities that I’ll exhibit proudly and often times loudly. The leader of the Diplomats was an originator in his day and his influence is still felt amongst the newer generation of artists.