As part of their effort to shed more light on 1997 and 1998 in New York hip-hop, MTV and Genius have unearthed Cam’ron’s first video interview. The ’98 sit-down is Cam stripped down to his base elements–before the furs, before the self-mythologizing, before Juelz. Fresh off the release of his debut album, Confessions Of Fire, he spoke at length about the videos for “357″ and “Horse & Carriage” and, by extension, his relationship with Ma$e, with whom he was close long before the Bad Boy money started flowing in. In fact, it was Ma$e who introduced him to the legendary rapper who indirectly gave him his start, The Notorious B.I.G. “I rapped for Biggie, and Biggie was like, ‘Yo, you nice,’ Cam remembers. “And I was like, of course, this is B.I.G., I would love to be put on. So he called his partner, Un Rivera, like, ‘I got this kid sitting at my house, I want to sign him.’ And Un was like, ‘I’ll sign him.’ You know what I’m saying? [Un] didn’t even hear me rhyme, he just respected Big’s opinion that much.”
After the deal with Untertainment, Cam started cutting Confessions. But in the MTV interview, he speaks on getting his start on DJ Clue mixtapes and writing for Junior M.A.F.I.A. Cam reveals that he wrote the entirety of Lil Cease’s verse for Lil Kim’s “Crush On You,” which went on to become a major hit. He also touches on the cost-benefit analysis of aiming for the streets or the pop charts (“When I do a song it is more or less for the radio because I’ve got to do it–that’s what I have got to do to win–I always go home and write two street songs”) and putting his mother on the album. And, of course, he flexes his basketball credentials, shouting out then-Timberwolves point guard Stephon Marbury and reminding him he used to “bust his ass” in high school.
Watch the entire interview above. After taking over BB King’s with Funk Flex for the first of Dipset’s reunion tour, Killa Cam stopped by Five Guys and took it over. Check out the video below.