DJ Cam is a French disc jockey who mixes hip-hop, jazz and soul in his music. Much of his work is reminiscent of old school, boom-bap, ‘90s hip-hop. Furthermore, the intermittent scratching of records, which is almost universally connected with hip-hop, give his works a hip-hop vibe. Though his work is primarily instrumental in nature, there are still many that include lyrics sung by other artists.
Though he has released too many albums to give each of them justice, I’ll talk about a couple of my favorites. These albums include “Soulshine” (2002) and “Vintage Beats 1999-2003” (2012). They each have their distinct sounds.
“Soulshine” was an album that was more heavily influenced by soul, hence the name. This is my favorite solo DJ Cam album, as it’s more consistently chill. “Love Junkee” is one of DJ Cam’s most successful songs from the album and all of his music in general. It features a classic funk group named Cameo, which gives it an even better sound. “Summer in Paris” is an upbeat, yet oddly chill song. It has a happier vibe. The heightened inclusion of soulful voices in this album made a huge difference, making it one of his best.
“Vintage Beats 1999-2003” has a different kind of sound than some of the other albums, as it features a sound that’s influenced by electronic music, presented in a very abstract form. “Prince” is an especially good beat on the album. You can hear the influence of the 1980s R&B artist Prince on the track, hence its name. This album’s different and generally more relaxing vibe makes it great to listen to when you need to study or relax.
DJ Cam released music from 2008-2009 under the name DJ Cam Quartet. This group consisted of DJ Cam’s beats and jazz musicians Alexandre Tassel, Christian Brun, Jerome Regard and Eric Legnini’s instrumental talents. DJ Cam Quartet marked a notable shift in sound from his solo music. Not only was there a shift to a jazzier sound, but there was more of an emphasis on the instruments rather than the hip-hop beat itself.
DJ Cam Quartet’s first album, called “Rebirth of Cool,” was released in 2008. Something really noticeable about this album is the prevalence of the trumpet. It is a central instrument in most of the songs in the album, and is heard at some point in all of them. A couple songs from this album I really like are “Rebirth of Cool” and “Herbie.”
The next album, released in 2009, was called “Stay.” This album’s instrumental focus is more on strings and pianos, with a significant departure from the trumpets in the preceding album. A couple of songs I like from this album are “Magic Wand” and “Stay.”
Finally, the last album released under DJ Cam Quartet is called “Diggin’.” This album was released in late 2009, and features a sound that evenly mixes trumpets, strings and pianos. A notable change from the other two albums is that the beats in this one have a louder boom-clap. It also incorporates some elements of funkier sounds.
In general, I favor DJ Cam Quartet’s music to the solo works of DJ Cam. All three of the DJ Cam Quartet albums were consistently chill, which is pretty impressive. Out of the three albums they released, my favorite would be “Diggin’,” with “Stay” being a close second. Someone who likes jazz more than hip-hop would definitely prefer either “Rebirth of Cool” or “Stay.” DJ Cam is a really talented producer who has been overlooked in the mainstream, but he creates great music that a wide range of people can listen to for chilling out or studying.