Purple Haze (album)Purple Haze is the fourth studio album by Harlem rapper Cam'ron. The album was released on December 7, 2004, by Diplomat Records, Roc-A-Fella Records and The Island Def Jam Music Group. The release of this album was delayed several times from November 2003, the first single "Get Em Girls" was released a year prior to the actual album release. The album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 with 123,000 copies sold in its first week. The album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Cam'ron has stated that he believes this is his best album.
Purple Haze received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 72, based on 7 reviews.
David Drake of Stylus Magazine praised the album for its "bombastic production and surreal lyricism" and Cam's "unique brand of idiosyncratic gangsta" being wildly engaging because of his absurd, poker-faced delivery, concluding that "Purple Haze is such a twisted take on gangsta that it has to be heard to be believed." Blender contributor Jonah Weiner noted how the production throughout the record moves between "aggressively insane ("Shake")" to "adore pop (the Cyndi Lauper-interpolating "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun")" while Cam matches that balance with wordplay that's "Missy gibberish swathed in 50 Cent menace," concluding that he "writes pop hooks and avant-garde rhymes while staying as close to the streets as a manhole cover." Chris Ryan from Spin gave credit to Cam for tightening his signature flow, choosing quality and risk-worthy beats, and maintaining listener interest while delivering "Harlem symbolism and non-sensical muttering" throughout the album. AllMusic editor Andy Kellman was mixed about the tracks on the record, finding "Girls" and "Harlem Streets" to be weak inclusions but praised the contributions from Kanye West ("Down and Out"), Pop & Versatile ("Soap Opera") and the Heatmakerz ("More Gangsta Music"). He also commented that the "Diplomat-affiliated material" being released alongside it that year may cause their fanbase to suffer burnout from too much content. Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club commended the album for adopting the hyper-soul style of Roc-A-Fella's sound throughout the track listing but criticized Cam's lyric delivery for being similar to nursery rhymes, saying that it "lumbers drearily through a sea of gangsta-rap clichés."
Online music magazine Pitchfork placed Purple Haze at number 114 on their list of the Top 200 Albums of the 2000s. Pitchfork writer Sean Fennessey said, "Call this a personal project for a relentlessly distant artist; an asshole's lament. Purple Haze is simultaneously a refined, perfectly A&R-ed follow-up and one of the most confusing, crude full-lengths ever."