Cam and China’s latest EP is a personal statement aimed at the boy’s club of the Rap industry. It's powerful, gritty and graciously minimalist.
Cam and China, twin sisters from Inglewood, aren’t entirely new to the rap game. You may not recognize their names. But you may recognize their faces as former members of Pink Dollaz, a popular all-women hip hop group that peaked during the jerkin’ craze. Since the group’s breakup, the duo has moved on and completely reinvented their sound.
The influences of the old school are clear on their EP. The twin’s staccato flows, often flourished by hints of gangster rap, are hard hitting. The production is minimalist, and at times even ominous. It’s a far cry from the sassy party anthems of their jerkin’ days. But some things about the sisters haven’t changed--female empowerment still remains as one of their top priorities.
Face it. The rap industry is a boy’s club. While there could be thirty male rappers who could be hot at any given moment, there is usually only one or two female rappers that experience the same level of popularity.
Cam and China seek to challenge this status quo by encouraging female rappers to stand up and prove they’re just as good, or even better than their male counterparts. The duo practices what they preach. Their latest release is one of the hardest hitting albums of the year. It’s a statement piece that seeks to challenge the status quo of what it means to be a female rapper.
The production of the album is minimalist, but it allows for Cam and China to shine. On “Extravagant,” the duo sets up the stage for an album that doesn’t hold back. The track is layered with the duo’s powerful vocals and aggressive flow. Heavy piano keys ring throughout, creating a dark and gritty feel. The impact of their vocals and bars are amplified when combined with the minimal and ominous beat so carefully produced by James Koo.
Some moments on the album feel spiritual. Especially when listening to “We Gon Make It”. Hearing the duo talk about their struggles, hopes and dreams sent chills down my spine. It’s inspiring, and I can’t help but feel motivated. For me, it’s the track that cements their future.
The appropriately named “In My Feelings,” showcases their sensitive side and their ability to create a melodic hook. The lyrics are surprisingly sensual but it’s contrasted by the duo’s aggressive flow. If you don’t listen closely, you may not realize how sexually driven the lyrics are.
On “Playets”, Cam and China get real in regards to how they deal with men. They’re not afraid to reveal their sexuality and ability to “play” men. Lyrics such as “You play these niggas like niggas play you” and “I’ll fuck him before I kiss him/Then I’ll tell him ‘peace out’. I’m a cold ass bitch.” challenge the traditional sexual power dynamics in hip hop. While male rappers talk about power and their dominance of females, Cam and China show us what it’s like from a female’s perspective. They've proven they can play the same game and hit back even harder with their bars.
Cam and China’s EP brings to us a West Coast sound so dearly missed. Its aggression conjures hints of gangster rap from the old days. Its rawness, clarity and honesty is much needed in today’s era of trap and so-called “mumble rap”. This EP is a great start for the freshman duo. They have come a long way from their Pink Dollaz days. I for one am grateful.