Cam’ron Goes From Mixtape Pioneer to Merch King

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Not many people can say they’ve rhymed with Big L and gambled with Max B, but not many people are Cam’ron, who, more than 20 years into his career, stands as a bona fide rap game legend—one who dropped his first album less than a year after XXL was published for the first time.

Since releasing his debut, Confessions of Fire, in 1997, Killa Cam’s worn many hats. From deft lyricist to a fashion connoisseur, Diplomat Records boss to Love & Hip-Hop favorite, now, he’s a master of the merch game. Through it all, he’s kept the unflappable cool and knack for style that ultimately enabled him to make pink the go-to color for men to wear, all while reinforcing Harlem’s status as a force in the rap game.

Launching his career from the streets of New York City around the same time as XXL‘s launch date, Cam’s developed a great relationship with the brand over the years. He’s appeared on three XXL covers and worked alongside the brand on numerous occasions during that time, and so giving Killa his own 20th anniversary cover was really a must. Also, he’s in a perfect position to know that being around as long as we have isn’t easy.

“It’s so many different outlets that came around since you guys first started,” Cam says in his Fall 2017 cover story, which was written by XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten. “For you guys to still be in business and still be wanting to do this with artists, we should be thanking you guys to still have the patience to deal with artists and still go out and do the Freshman covers, and give new artists a chance to be on magazine covers, so on and so forth. So, I don’t really like the word, responsibility. I think it’s more of, we should be thankful as artists that you guys are still doing it.”

Cam’ron is just one of the artists selected to appear on XXL’s 20 special edition covers. Like Killa, these rappers have been documented by XXL through the extent of their careers and have always shown love to the brand that helped raise their profiles along the away. Cam’ron’s fellow cover stars are 50 Cent, the cover king with 15 total XXL covers and a career we’ve been documenting from the start; Diddy, the man who not only reinvented the remix but paved the way for rap moguls; Nicki Minaj, a queen in hip-hop building her own pinkprint in the game; Wiz Khalifa, the cool, calm and collected superstar; Lil Uzi Vert; the face of hip-hop’s new generation; Migos, three rappers who helped redefine the culture; Snoop Dogg, the Doggfather of the game; Pusha T, a success story as a group member, solo artist and record executive; Future, a trendsetting trap god; T.I., rap’s gangsta and gentleman; Fabolous, a highly respected New York MC; Rae Sremmurd, the real crowd-pleasers; Birdman, a No. 1 stunna with a revered empire; Run The Jewels, partners in rhyme and reason; Yo Gotti, a testament to tenacity; Gucci Mane, the true comeback kid; Tech N9ne; an independent icon; E-40; hip-hop’s in-the-know uncle; and The Lox, a trinity representing for the streets.

Check out Cam’ron’s full Fall 2017 cover story here, watch his interview video below and keep it locked to our exclusive 20th anniversary hub for more content coming in honor of XXL‘s 20th anniversary.

See All XXL Magazine 20th Anniversary Covers

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