As the frontman of the Harlem crew The Diplomats, Cam’Ron was one of the most prevalent rappers of the early 2000s. Alongside Juelz Santana, Jim Jones and Freekey Zekey, the collective, also known as Dipset, had a huge impact on hip-hop culture. As a group signed to Roc-A-Fella Records, Cam’Ron was regularly by the side of the label’s co-founder, Dame Dash. However, in 2002, the rapper (real name Cameron Giles) got shot for an absurd reason.
Although Damon Dash, alongside the epic Jay-Z, co-founded Roc-A-Fella as a record label in 1995, by 2002 (the year Kanye West was signed), the empire had grown so large that the company entered the film industry. The first film released by Dash was paid In Full.
Giles starred alongside Wood Harris and Regina Hall in the film and played the role of an East Harlem felon named Rico. Set in 1980s Manhattan, the movie takes its name from the 1987 Eric B and Rakim track. Paid in Full has become a beloved film in the world of hip-hop. However, three years after its release, Giles’ character implanted itself into the minds of real-world criminals.
While in Washington DC, wearing $200,000 worth of diamonds, local thieves recognised Cam’Ron as the felon from the film and wanted to test his strength in the real world. Following the attempted robbery, Giles told the Washington Post, “I got shot three times, and my album comes out November 22nd. It was a sloppy job on their part. They didn’t get anything. I still got my car and my jewellery.”
However, in a recent interview on the All The Smoke podcast, Dash revealed that Cam’Ron was shot that night because of his role in Paid in Full, explaining, “Cam went through a lot. You know he got shot over that role in Washington.”
He continued, “That was over that. He’s never told his story, but there was times I hadn’t really realized what happened. I was asking him to do another role once and he was like, ‘Yo, bro, I got shot over [playing Rico].’ There was a certain scene where he was like, ‘I don’t wanna do that scene. So when I found out [he got shot], I felt a little responsible, and I didn’t wanna put anybody in that position again. ‘Cause people take this story really serious. So it has to be really done completely correctly.”
Giles’ character in the 2002 film was loosely based on the real-life Harlem gangster Alpo Martinez, who was shot only two years ago. You can listen to Dash’s interview in the video below.