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9.
An outlandish, in-your-face stage presence, a strange sense of humor, and a hard-driving funk sound that criss-crossed a few musical boundaries earned Cameo countless comparisons to Parliament/Funkadelic in their early days. However, Cameo eventually wore off accusations of being derivative by transcending their influences and outlasting almost every single one of them. Throughout the '70s and '80s, the group remained up with the times and occasionally crept ahead of them, such that they became influences themselves upon younger generations of R&B and hip-hop acts. By the time the group's popularity started to fizzle in the late '80s, a series of R&B chart hits -- ranging from greasy funk workouts to synthesized funk swingers to dripping ballads -- was left in their wake. Further separating Cameo from their forebears, they didn't have a diaper-clad guitarist. Instead, they had a codpiece-wearing lead vocalist.

That vocalist was Larry Blackmon. In 1974, the ex-Juilliard student and New York City club-goer instigated a funk band with a membership of 13 called the New York City Players. Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, and Nathan Leftenant formed the group's nucleus. The Casablanca label signed the group to their Chocolate City offshoot, and shortly after that, the group changed its name to Cameo. Their excellent debut album, 1977's Cardiac Arrest, was highlighted by four singles. Three of those hit the Billboard R&B chart: "Rigor Mortis" (number 33), "Funk Funk" (number 20), and "Post Mortem" (number 70). Although the group was clearly inspired by elder funk groups like Parliament, Funkadelic, and the Ohio Players, Cardiac Arrest made Cameo's case for belonging in the same division an open-and-shut one.

In an attempt to keep the ball rolling, 1978 saw the release of Cameo's second and third albums. Neither We All Know Who We Are nor Ugly Ego were as solid as the debut, but the group's singular characteristics were becoming increasingly evident. The winding, horn-punctuated "It's Serious" (from We All Know Who We Are) narrowly missed the Top 20 of the R&B chart, while "Insane" (from Ugly Ego) dipped just inside it, peaking at number 17. The best halves of these two albums would've made a fine sophomore LP.

1979's Secret Omen, featuring a disco-fied re-visiting of Cardiac Arrest's "Find My Way" and the magnificently funky and slightly loony "I Just Want to Be" (a number-three R&B chart hit), was stacked with fine album cuts and brought Cameo back as a group that excelled in the LP format. "Sparkle" was one of their best ballads, a sinewy number that hit the Top Ten. Five albums released between 1980 and 1983 (Cameosis, Feel Me, Knights of the Sound Table, Alligator Woman, Style) brought about a slight dip in quality on the album front. Despite an abundance of filler on each record, none of those albums were strict disappointments, delivering hot Top 20 R&B singles like "Shake Your Pants," "We're Goin' Out Tonight," "Keep It Hot," "Freaky Dancin'" "Just Be Yourself," "Flirt," and "Style."

One of the most significant ripples in Cameo's time line came during that period, in 1982, when they packed up and set up shop in Atlanta. Pared down to a quintet and located in a less hectic city, the group became bigger fish in a smaller pond. Blackmon even started his own label, Atlanta Artist. The label's first LP, Style, also marked a significant shift in sound, with synthesizers taking on a pronounced role. Paydirt was struck with 1984's She's Strange; the title cut, a late-night slithery smolder, topped the R&B chart and eclipsed the Top 50 of the pop chart, kicking off a remarkable three-album run that made Cameo one of the most popular groups of the '80s. Single Life and Word Up!, released respectively in 1985 and 1986, continued the hot streak. The singles from those two albums -- "Attack Me With Your Love," "Single Life," "Word Up," "Candy," and "Back and Forth" -- held down the Top Five plateau of the R&B chart. "Word Up" even went to number six on the pop chart, giving them their biggest bite of the mainstream. The song was everywhere.

What goes up must come down, and that's exactly what happened to Cameo. Despite the fact that two more singles -- "Skin I'm In" and "I Want It Now" -- scaled up to number five on the R&B chart, neither Machismo nor Real Men Wear Black performed well as albums. After 1991's Emotional Violence, the group's profile was lowered significantly, but they did tour sporadically to the delight of hardcore fans as well as plenty of misguided people who thought Cameo was all about "Word Up" and nothing more. Notably, Blackmon spent a few years of the '90s at Warner Bros., as the vice president of A&R.

Cameo's presence continued to be felt throughout the early 2000s, not only through extensive sample use and less tangible influences upon younger artists and producers. Several retrospectives have kept the group's music alive: Casablanca's 1993 compilation The Best of Cameo is an excellent point of entry. Mercury's 12" Collection & More, released in 1999, covers the group's best dancefloor moments. 2002's spectacular Anthology, a double-disc set also released by Mercury, covers a lot of ground and does the group justice as a total package. ~ Andy Kellman, All Music Guide
Cameo - Word Up! - 1990
by VaderCoW August 26, 2005
 
1.
A short appearance by a famous person.
Michael Vick was on Madden NFL to make a cameo of him saying "EA Sports, it's in the game!"
by refuze May 11, 2005
 
2.
A short, walk-on part by a famous actor. Also a crappy 80's pop group. Thier most famous song, "word up" was later covered by one of the spice girls.
A cameo role.
by Kung-Fu Jesus May 01, 2004
 
3.
A girl's name. She is "someone making a brief and vivid appearance or a delicately carved relief on a jewel or plaque". She's someone who is always very happy and outgoing. Cameos tend to not like confrontation that much, and are basically the easy-going one of a group that keeps the drama to a low. These girls also LOVE to draw and write and read. They typically like manga and anime, but not all have to. Cameos are just big goof-balls that always make sure that everyone is having fun. Not a lot of people can hate a Cameo because they are just so likable. Cameos also have tend to have amazing tastes in music and respect the classics. She also is a natural beauty who has no problem being herself and not caring what people think about her. Also, her morals are very important to her and she will break her easy-going mood to defend what she believes. She is also very good musically, and most likely plays the trumpet or some other brass instrument. Also, Cameos tend to be very clumsy but everyone loves her anyways <3
Basically Cameos are just all-around amazing girls :)
Wow, that girl is an amazing drawer! She MUST be a Cameo!

Hey, her wifey's name is Julia, right? Oh, then she's a Cameo!

Did you just see her trip over her own feet? Hahahaa she can be SUCH a CAMEO!
by xx L_Is_A_Hot_Babee xx June 17, 2010
 
4.
Briefly catching a glance at a girl's camel toe.
"Dude, check out that cameo (pointing)".
by pussymonster6969 November 15, 2010
 
5.
a) a delicately carved relief on a jewel or plaque

b) a specific type of jeweler who creates personalized cameos

c) a neutral or offensive, depending on the situation, term for people that are physically healthy, but of a very pale skin complexion, kind of like Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter] books

d) a specialized jewelery store/business where personalized cameos are produced

e) an offensive term for a female who is so emotionally sensitive that she will literally faint at the site of a bouquet of flowers.

f) (as a proper female name): short for either Cameron (as in Cameron Diaz) or Carmen (as in Carmen Electra)
two people in conversation:

person a) my sister is an art student. she wants to be a cameo later, maybe open her own cameo.

person b) your sister is already is already a cameo.. She looks like, I dare say, a female version of Draco Malfoy

person a): lol. you forgot to mention that my sister's name is Carmen
by Sexydimma March 14, 2013
 
6.
To make a guest appearance at a social engagement or night out.
Casey: Are you going to the Le Tigre show?
Bianca: Maybe. I might make a cameo.
by katherine heathcliffe March 08, 2005
 
7.
verb: To attend a friends function, night out etc. out of obligation without the intention of hanging around very long.
Friend: What are you going to do tonight?

You: I'm supposed to go out, but my friend has a party that I have to cameo before I can do anything. or in noun form:

I don't want to go but I have to at least make a cameo appearance.
by houston jc August 17, 2009