Over the course of his celebrated 20-year career, Cam'ron has enjoyed several defining moments. His Def Jam debut, Come Home with Me, being certified Platinum was a moment. His co-starring role in the cult classic Paid in Full was a moment. And the rise of his crew, The Diplomats, highlighted by the 2003 release of their Platinum-selling debut, Diplomatic Immunity, was a moment.
Moments don't last forever, though.
Now, at 41 years of age and with his peak moments staring at him in the rearview mirror, Cam'ron knows he needs to figure out a way to stretch out his rap income for years to come. As he recently explained to Streets First Podcast host A Butta, the fear of being unable to support himself and his family later in life is the driving force behind his new budgetary behavior and the reason he no longer flies private.
"When you get to your mid-30s and 40s, you have different responsibilities," Cam said. "That's what motivates me. Just being in a situation that I'm not going to be able to handle financially, I wanna be able to do what I wanna do. For instance, sometime in the airport, [people say], 'Cam, you ain't flying private?' I can fly private, I flew private, I did it, but I realize, that is some crazy shit. People catch moments, and you believe it's going to go on forever. Like Dipset, we caught a moment and that moment still is helping me eat today off certain, different things. I have other outlets to get money, but when you're in the middle of your moment, you think it's going to go on forever, it's never going to stop. I'm taking private jets because I'm bored, I'm taking jets to go to LA for one night, spend the night and take the jet back just because I can smoke mad weed on the plane, but that's not the shit I'm doing. I realize at this point in life, it don't make no sense."
Fiscal responsibility can be taught, but for most rap artists, it's usually learned through experience. Unlike many 9-to-5 careers, there is no retirement package, 401k plan or pension when an artist stops releasing new music—though if he or she owns their own masters and/or publishing, those checks never stop rolling in.
Earlier in the interview, Cam'ron revealed that, at the height of his career, he spent $80k on 25 furs "for the neighborhood," and another $100k on Diplomat chains. Though he says he stopped spending money recklessly on lavish items like clothing, jewelry and cars because he doesn't feel he was shown enough appreciation for his acts of generosity, the most likely reason he put the kibosh on spending is that his bank account wasn't being replenished over time.
Cam'ron isn't the only 40-something-year-old emcee to preach fiscal responsibility, either. JAY-Z spends more than a few bars on his newly-released album, 4:44, reminding every one of the importance of credit and making wise investments.
Taking photos of money phones while sitting on private jets for the 'Gram might seem like a great idea at the time, but you know what's even better? Health insurance and meals for the next 40 years.