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Cam’ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review]


Toronto, ON – On Aug. 16, Cam’ron rolled through Toronto for a stop along The First Of The Month Tour. When I initially walked into the Danforth Music Hall at around 9 p.m. on Saturday, the venue was modestly filled and I became somewhat concerned that Cam’ron’s concert would not reach the capacity that I had anticipated. I wondered if Toronto’s hip-hop fans forgot Killa Cam’s contributions to the golden era of hip-hop, I wondered if they forgot his meticulous and important contributions to Roc-A-Fella Records’ rise to prominence and I wondered if they forgot the relentless Dipset mixtape campaigns that dominated the hip-hop world of the early 2000s. However, by 9:45 p.m., my concerns were abandoned and the venue was nearly at critical mass.

I might as well have been in Harlem. The pungent smell of marijuana combined with the crowd’s anticipation of one of hip-hop’s greatest figures was ubiquitous. What’s more, Patrick McGuire’s opening DJ set was interjected with numerous chants of “We want Cam!” and “Dipset!”

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

As Cam’ron took the stage (with no warning), my mind immediately transported me back to my high school years during Cam’s rise to superstardom. The resounding cheer of the crowd made me realize that Toronto never forgot what the Dipset head honcho meant and still means to hip-hop music.

Cam was lacking a dramatic intro, a hype man, an entourage and the support of his Diplomat brothers. Nonetheless, he began an onslaught of classic records, ranging from “Oh Boy” and “Hey Ma” (from his 2002 Come Home With Me masterpiece) to his soulful Kanye West-produced “Down And Out” and his 2014 “Dip Shits” comeback record. And I should also note that the crowd went exceptionally ecstatic when “I Really Mean It” filled the venue’s speakers.

Cam’s set was only 45 minutes in length. And he was far less animated than many other hip-hop greats while onstage. But, regardless of these facts, his set could have been half as long and he could have been half as animated and the crowd would have still loved him for it.

Killa is 20 years removed from the hardcore raps and drug trafficking-lifestyle that defined his collaborations with Ma$e, Big L and Bloodshed through the Children of the Corn collective. He is a decade removed from the peak of Dipset’s notoriety. And yet, he still stands as one of the most lyrically dexterous, charismatic and entrepreneurial figures in hip-hop today.

This past Saturday’s concert proved all of that and more, his Canadian tour will undoubtedly be a huge success and the international Dipset movement is alive and well.

Photography by Ajani Charles

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

Cam'Ron takes it back at Danforth Music Hall [Review] -

Twitter: @Mr_Camron

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Ajani Charles is a professional photojournalist, advertising photographer and cinematographer based in Toronto -- the Canadian city famed for its cultural diversity and the creative dynamism of its artistic community. A graduate of the nationally acclaimed Claude Watson Arts Program, Ajani also apprenticed at the Toronto School of Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and at 235 Films. Though his images bear the distinctive stamp of his unique regard and sensibility, his work evidences an eclectic panoply of influences which includes Markus Klinko and Indrani, Jill Greenberg, Yousuf Karsh, Ansel Adams, Alexander Rodchenko, Richard Avedon, Nabil Elderkin, André Kertesz, David LaChapelle, Steven Spielberg, Hype Williams, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz and Jamel Shabazz. Ajani is also the founder and executive director of The Young Visionaries – a Toronto-based photography and cinematography program, providing education to youth from the city’s priority neighborhoods. In addition, Ajani has gained considerable notoriety in the Greater Toronto Area through his first photographic documentary, “Project T Dot” -- a visual chronicle of the city's Hip-Hop culture and community in its entirety through a wide-ranging collection of intimate and dramatic black and white photographs. In production since 2007, “Project T Dot” is currently scheduled for an early 2015 publication date.

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