Cam Gersh – The Big Dog – Album Review
I was reading through my notes & whatnot like I always do, checking out what’s up on my playlists, and in the process, came across this shiny detail that caught my eye, which indicated The Big Dog was Cam’s “best collection of work to this day” – which of course, got me interested – how could it not right? Then I saw there was only one other official release on Spotify with his single “Add It Up” from 2019 and felt like I was being set up there for a minute…but that was before I discovered the onslaught of beats this man’s been creating at his official homepage. So don’t get it twisted y’all…Cam’s got plenty of music out there, and I’d imagine from the sounds of things here on The Big Dog, there’ll be plenty more to follow.
Overall, I’m stoked on how this all came out for the guy. Ultimately, I think Cam starts the record off on decisively more solid terrain than it’ll end on, but from the drop of “Big Vibe” at the beginning through the vast majority to follow, these songs come out unquestionably tight. With Boy Floss lending an assist to the bars of “Big Vibe” to start, there’s an argument to be made that this very first cut you’ll hear is working with the style most relevant & bound to connect with those listening to what’s happening out there in the right here & now of music…accessibility is a major asset, and this initial track has plenty. Complements to the chef – the beat is large is the vibe is just as big as the title promises it would be; you’ll get a stellar performance from Boy Floss on the mic, and the mix hits the mark for capturing even the smallest details in the background and maximizing their impact to their full potential. It all plays a significant role here in creating the overall rhythm & groove in the pulse of the music surrounding you, & there’s no denying that they’ve got highly memorable & smooth hooks fueling their fire straight away.
Where I would advise perhaps a bit of caution, would be with Cam’s own vocals & the mix they’ve got in particular. No doubt that he’s got a signature sound & identity you can hear, which is super-important, don’t get me wrong – but in terms of the mix & how they sound to us, it’s almost apparent that he’s got more focus goin’ on with the music & the featured guests in terms of how to make the sound sparkle & shine. It’s a stylistic choice he’s made on “Wannabe” really…the dude’s got no problems or issues when it comes to his production, so it ain’t that – it’s more about realizing that the hooks he’s bringing are equally strong elements that contribute to the success of these cuts, and buffin’em up to a shine that’s on par with the rest of what we hear. There’s still a way to get that stylized vibe he wants to add to his vocals & sound without having to sacrifice a bit of that shimmer in the cut overall, which you’ll hear never dulls when it comes to the music or the guests. All I’m trying to say is, I think Cam’s selling himself just 10% short when it comes to his parts on the mic, and adding that same magic he’s putting into the rest might just raise the level of its overall appeal 25% more. Worth the trade? Thought so. But like I was sayin’ – it’s a style that’s relevant right now…so in terms of that, this is bang-on in many other ways really…music always depends on what the goals are. What I’m positive we can all agree on is the ideas in the writing itself are solid, the main hooks land with the impact they should through the twisted-filter vocal sound – and featured guest Andrew Kish essentially puts on a verbal clinic the rest of the emcees out there to take note of…this dude eats, crushes & kills microphones with wild character and charisma.
A single tour through “Angel” is pretty much all anyone would ever need to confirm that Cam’s got a real gift for structuring a beat that seriously connects with plenty of digitalized rhythm & groove on display – I mean…you’ll listen to it plenty because it’s bloody addictive, but that first spin will tell ya everything you’d need to know about the attention to detail the man puts into his production. Go get yourself a beat for sale from this cat will ya? Cam proves right here that he actually doesn’t need a single word rapped or hook sung to make his music stand out for all the right reasons – “Angel” is a P-H-A-T jam and addictive cut to listen to…all the pieces he needs to succeed are on display right here. And I’d imagine that’s the case, the dude’s kickin’ all the ass & then some from his spot on the internet slangin’ beats to the people – you hear a track like “Angel” so fully loaded with audible elasticity & bounce to it, the ultra-slick production it has, the impeccable balance which gets the most out of some seriously LARGE low-end…there’s lots here that serves as a perfect advertisement for what the man does best, and in the process, provides an instrumental highlight as we head to the middle of his album.
And look the FUCK OUT though homies…because the “Big Dog” is about to roll on through! You might wanna make way – this beat hits so magnificently hard with such enormously savage sound it could crush you under its weight and straight-up pancake you permanently! Wrestling against that low-end to get the perfect amount of rumble without this mix giving complete shit to the red-line would have had to have been a monumental achievement – and the fact that he got this in line is audible proof that he’s got what it takes to make music connect. You’ll hear the skills from Cam flexing the supreme talent of Gersh in full-effect…this man’s got production locked-down tight & it’s daring cuts like “Big Dog” that take real chances & technique to create, that prove he’s got no issues at all with unlocking the maximum potential of the music he’s working with by digging deeper than the rest to get the best outta his cuts. YOU ARE NOT READY FOR THE “BIG DOG” – and that’s facts – Cam Gersh is straight-up unleashed here, stomping sound large enough to snuff you out yo! There’s a reason this record is titled around this track – just as much as there’s a reason it’s right there in the middle of the lineup – this is the centerpiece y’all! The soup du freakin’ jour that you will wanna eat by the bowlful all week long, yessir! “Big Dog” isn’t just one of the most undeniably behemoth songs I’ve heard this year, or…ever, for that matter – but it goes beyond how impressively HUGE it is…the reality is, it’s got hooks booming from every angle.
Alright…so…let’s be clear…it’d be next to impossible to follow the “Big Dog” – you feel me? I think what can be done, is done on “Terror Theme” – but if I’m being real with you all, coming after such a gigantic & large cut like “Big Dog” would have been a monumental task for any track to stand out afterwards, no matter how good or great it might be. Not so much a bad cut by any stretch, “Terror Theme” is just up against superhuman odds of making the impression it might have had in any other spot in the lineup. “This is the type of the beat to make you call the police” is one of the raddest lines on the record though – I’ll definitely give the man that – and the haunting vibe in the music from the background vocal samples to the eerie piano sparkling in the melody proves Cam’s thinking about the sound from the surface of what we hear, all the way down to six-feet below when it comes to tying in the deadly theme. It could be that “Terror Theme” needs a bit of extra juice in the tank to raise itself up to the inspired spark that runs through the energy of the rest of this lineup, or it could be as simple as just being in what’s audibly the worst spot a song has ever been in history with the odds stacked so hard against it, but my gut tells me that this particular cut is going to have the hardest time of the seven standing out.
Andrew Kish makes a return to the m-i-c for another appearance on The Big Dog, and drop more savage bars onto “Second Wind” as we start to head towards the finish line of this seven cut record. In a call & answer start, “Second Wind” immediately puts the energy & spark into the album, and as Kish continues to shift his speed & hit the gas verbally, it takes next to no time at all for this track to make an impression. Cam’s real solid in the background trading off each line with Andrew here – and between them they’ve got more than enough personality to catch your attention, and melody that works with a hazy vibe in the hooks, sharpening up brilliantly to add to the punch & impact Kish makes in the verses. Right around the 1:20 mark, they link up perfectly to add even more style to “Second Wind” and send it slidin’ through your speakers with ease – and to finish it off, they bring it back to that opening trade-off between them. Full circle homies! I’m all about it – there’s a killer build in that first thirty-five seconds that leads to a significantly massive transition & beat droppin’ in to take this whole track to the next-level. You can hear how that switch inspires Andrew to kick it into overdrive, and that inspiration being traded back & forth seems to continually feed off of itself and grows exponentially gigantic as you listen.
So…”Make Things Right” – that’s sage advice right there, and Cam’s proven to be more than capable of doing exactly that for the vast majority of the record here. In this final cut, it’s not so much that he’s slippin’ so much as it’s just a looser vibe & he ain’t afraid to get weird with it, you dig? For some of you, that’s completely your jam – for others outside of this flexible Soul/R&B/Hip-Hop combo of the modern-day hybrid, there’s probably a few challenging points along the way that you’ll hear as somewhat awkward, like an extra syllable added here & there, or one that should be removed when it comes to the flow of the bars you’ll hear. Do I think it’s done on purpose? You bet. How could we not? What we’ve heard throughout this whole album has shown insightfully tight methods from the microphone to the music, so you gotta recognize a stylistic choice when you hear one. That being said, the effect is the same time & time again when it comes to this issue…anything less than precision perfect metering in the flow is going to raise some questions about what’s being heard & whether or not it’s really intentional. Something to consider is all…like I said, you can hear from the quality in the rest of this record that Cam and his crew know their way around a microphone just as much as Gersh has a grip behind what needs to happen from the studio boards…but as to whether or not that gives him a pass in the court of public opinion for the direction he’ll choose on “Make Things Right” may be another story as a result. Sound-wise, I ain’t denying this last cut still has a huge amount of appeal…the majority of the flow is right in-line where you’d want it to be…and the final phone-call/coffee order was a stellar touch to cap it all off.
All-in-all, I certainly ain’t complaining so don’t get it twisted – Cam Gersh has got a highly entertaining record here, introduced us to a ton of talented names in the process, and The Big Dog delivered on the spectacular production he’s been building his name & reputation on out there in the scene for sure.
Find out more about Cam Gersh & his homies Boy Floss & Andrew Kish from the official pages below!
Stream The Big Dog here: https://ffm.to/qbrdrok
Cam Gersh’s personal site: https://camgersh.com
Cam Gersh’s Instagram: https://instagram.com/camgersh
Listen to Boy Floss on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4t5IutaR4rSPe3iZCd5pa7
Listen to Andrew Kish on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3hwgMXgnZF8D9z4Z0k7z3l
Join the thousands of bands & artists reviewed at sleepingbagstudios by clicking here!