Being raised on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, having an uncle who locally presided over the N.W.A’s reign in rap and being a recording artist has natually groomed Camryn Howard to be a part of history before he even knew it was being made. The thriving multi-talent is seeing his blessings manifested as he’s set to star in not one but two summer blockbusters this year in Ted 2 and Straight Outta Compton.
In the latter flick, he was chosen to play DJ Speed, the world’s most dangerous group’s unheralded touring DJ. While speaking exclusively to Hip-Hop Wired, reveals how being in the midst of gangsta greatness helped his own music career as the R&B singer Cam30 flourish and why Straight Outta Compton will be the one to beat this year.
“They had been auditioning for like a year beforehand and the casting director just called me in,” Howard says, remembering his first time on the set. “They ended up picking me because I had other stuff on my resume and tested me out at the climax of the movie. [F. Gary Gray] just sticks me on the bus with the four other cast members and says, ‘Just be natural,” Howard recalls with a laugh. “It was really crazy because [Dr.] Dre was just walking around the set and it was a really a shock. There was a whole bunch people I knew who auditioned for the role and they ended up calling me and keeping me for the rest of the movie.”
Ice Cube & Co. cast an obviously talented new crop of actors for the roles (including his own son) and with the feeling of experience being a common link, Howard says creating a bond on the set was relatively easy.
“Everybody was like family. We developed a brotherhood and friendship and when see each other, we call each other by our character’s names,” he admits. As for playing DJ Speed, audiences should expect to get a true-to-life portrayal of a group member often rubbed out of the group’s history.
“Speed, he was like Eazy-E’s best friend so it was cool to see how he was able to go on tour with the group. There are some pretty dramatic scenes in the movie; I can’t lie. I don’t want to spoil anything but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth,” he reveals.
Switching gears to the music front, Howard is equally excited about his role in Straight Outta Compton as he is his music career. He accredits his mother’s background as a gospel singer to his decision to go the R&B route instead of rapping.
“I’m just a creative person so I feel like when you’re singing, there’s some places you can take it and evoke emotion that you can’t when you’re rapping,” the now-talking Cam30 says. “But I’m still about the lyrical content and relating to the urban culture.”
There’s nothing like having the universe working in your favor in all aspects. While the Straight Outta Compton biopic is dropping on August 14, Cam30’s debut single, “Quarantine” is out now. Watch the video below.