Some kids grow up wanting to be famous. Some want to be rich. Chingy is living both dreams. The St. Louis rapper broke through in 2003 with his debut album, the triple platinum Jackpot. Anchored by smash single "Right Thurr," the acclaimed collection also included two other hits: "Holidae In" (with Snoop Dogg and Ludacris) and "One Call Away." Chingy builds off his strong foundation with PowerBallin', his second stellar album. Recorded primarily in Chingy's home studio, the high-energy collection features top-tier production from The Trak Starz and David Banner, as well as up-and-coming beatmakers Keith McMasters, Vudu and The Beatstaz. "This PowerBallin' album is basically a celebration of my coming from nothing to have a little bit," Chingy says. "It's about me accomplishing my goals and my celebrating that. I'm also talking about what went on after I made the Jackpot album, the success, the downsides of the business and just flossing out here and getting money." Lead single "Balla Baby" captures that life. Over a slick piano and drum-driven beat from Keith McMasters, Chingy good-naturedly boasts of his big-balling, shot-calling existence. "I thought the chorus sounded good with the beat," he says. "I already had the raps, so I just laid the chorus down. It's about being a baller and living the top-notch lifestyle and it goes along with the title of the album, so it all coincides real well."
The lavish living theme extends to the edgier "26's," which features guest vocals from Lil Wayne. Chingy got the idea for the song while listening to the Cash Money Records catalog. "This one reminds me of one of Juvenile's old songs," he says. "It took me back to his song and I thought Lil Wayne would sound good on it, so I called him up. You've got a lot of people that make songs about trucks and rims, but this song is about riding and your wheels are so big that you can roll over another car."
Elsewhere, Chingy returns to one of his favorite places, the hotel, on the sensuous "Leave Wit Me," which features guest vocals from R&B icon R. Kelly. On this club-friendly song, Chingy raps about his smooth approach with the females, while R. Kelly follows each Chingy verse with a soothing serenade of his own.
Then, on the romantic, Janet Jackson duet "Don't Worry," Chingy expresses his love for and dedication to the lady in his life over a smooth soundbed from The Trak Starz, who also delivered Jackpot's third smash single, "One Call Away." "I like your style, your grace/Your beautiful face, your essence," Chingy raps with a gentle touch.
Chingy then turns to the streets on "Fall-N," a posse cut with his long-time friends the Git It Boyz. "It's definitely a street record," Chingy says of the energized cut. "You've always got to get that crowd and make the streets understand that you're making music for them."
Chingy knows the importance of targeting the streets. Growing up in St. Louis, he saw plenty of edgy and rough situations. But, in most of his music Chingy chooses not to dwell on the negative that sometimes greeted him in his native Walnut Park section of the North Side of St. Louis. Instead, he maintained a deft balance of the streets and school before deciding to dedicate himself to rapping.
By the time he was eight, Chingy was a mainstay in St. Louis recording studios. Recording came naturally to Chingy, a life-long music fan. "I love the sound of music," he says. "I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, the Tempations. Music made me think, and party. I wanted to express myself like those artists were. Talking on a record sounded like a good idea to me."
Chingy felt it was such a good idea that he started recording as much as possible. He became a studio rat, almost taking up residence in recording houses. His dedication to his music paid off when the songs he recorded before he became famous ended up becoming the backbone for Jackpot.
"When I made Jackpot, that was just me in the studio just coming up with music every day," Chingy recalls. "I'm a partying, fun person. I like to go out, have a little fun and that album is basically about partying and having fun."
Expect more of the same with PowerBallin'. Still, Chingy's fans will be able to tell that their favorite rapper has grown since he's become a superstar. By tracing his path to stardom, Chingy delivers another sizzling round of feel-good music with PowerBallin'.
"I think it's better than my first album," Chingy says. "I'm pretty sure everybody's going to like it. I appreciate making music and giving it to the people."
Chingy to Tour in 2005
Chingy plans to take "Powerballin'" on the road this year. The rapper tells Billboard.com that his 2005 tour will consist of solo dates and appearances with Snoop Dogg.
Says Chingy, "The tour is based around me, but it will be broken up. On the West Coast, I think DJ Quik will do those. East Coast, I think Juvenile will do a lot of dates with me. Snoop Dogg, I think he will be on some of the dates with Juvenile."
At press time, only seven dates for Chingy had been announced on Ticketmaster.com. They include a stop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on February 2 and shows in Norfolk, Chicago, San Diego, Anaheim, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
02 - Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues
05 - Norfolk, VA - The Norva
09 – Chicago, IL - House of Blues
17 - San Diego, CA - 4th & B
18 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
20 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
21 - Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues
Jay-Z, Nelly, Chingy and Ludacris get into the Holiday Spirit
With the holidays upon us, a host of A-list artists are taking time out from their busy schedules to give back to those who are less fortunate.
Newly minted Def Jam President/CEO Jay-Z will spend Christmas morning giving back to and getting in tough with his roots bt returning to Brooklyn, New york's Marcy Project for his annualMarcy Projects Toy Drive. Held at the Marcy Projects Recreation Center, Jay will donate more than $10,000 worth of toys and host a Christmas dinner for residents of the neighborhood he was raised in.
Ludacris is also putting smiles on kids' faces this Christmas. He and the Ludacris Foundation have delivered more than 1,000 toys to hospitals and community centers in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta.
"It's all about helping kids help themselves," Ludacris said of his foundation. "We've donated money to different charities that help kids help themselves, but it's most importantly about me lending my celebrity and me being there personally — whether it's hospitals, doing turkey drives every year, helping out housing developments all across the United States and in South Africa. We've been everywhere — Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Miami. We've fed the homeless. We've gone to Boys & Girls Clubs sponsoring uniforms and trophies. There's no limitation. We don't just do one thing."
Nelly and producer Jermaine Dupri were also in the giving mood as they gave away toys to underprivileged children at Atlanta's Dunbar Recreation Center recently. Nelly and Dupri collectively purchased around $10,000 worth of toys to donate. Other sponsors donated additional toys and pizza for more than 1,200 needy children.
"I love Atlanta and I've always tried to do the best when it comes to supporting the Atlanta community at large," Dupri said via a statement. "I also know what it's like to be left out at Christmas, so now I'm at a place where I can try and make the holidays a little brighter for kids that do not have a lot and probably expect nothing."
Also showing love for his hometown is 50 Cent. 50 and the G-Unit have teamed with New York Jets defensive tackle Josh Evans and the Book Bank Foundation for the second annual Josh Evans Christmas Clothing Drive. The event, to be held Thursday at New York's Bowery Mission, will be a "superstore" where more than 300 homeless women, men and families will "shop" at no cost from a huge selection of new clothing, toys and over-the-counter medicine. In addition, recipients have the option to receive free on-site chiropractic services as well as partake in a holiday feast.
Chingy and his Chingy for Change Foundation will also be doing a toy drive for poor families in St. Louis, while Ja Rule's LIFE Camp foundation is holding a toy drive at York College Theater in Queens.
Hip-hoppers aren't the only ones feeling charitable this season. Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland and fiance Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys have been working with the Salvation Army, visiting their youth centers in Texas throughout December.
On the pop front, Aaron Carter has been heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as the Dream Maker Foundation this season. With the help of TV talk-show host Dr. Phil, Carter also sent out CDs with his version of "Run Run Rudolph" and a holiday message to kids whose parents are stationed in Iraq.
Chingy Bringing Powerballin' On The Road In January 2005
MC is also beefing up his label, launching a vodka line.
Chingy has been diversifying his interests as of late, and he's starting off 2005 with three projects popping.
The St. Louis rapper, who recently released his sophomore set, Powerballin' plans to hit the road in January to support the album. Snoop Dogg will join the bill in Orlando, Florida, and DJ Quik is slated to join Chingy on selected dates throughout the trek.
In addition to the tour, Ching will be harnessing his inner Dame Dash to launch Mesmerize, his own flavored vodka, next year. The MC is also planning to release albums this year from a number of members of his Git It Boyz clique on his Slot-A-Lot Records.
Chingy tour dates, according to his publicist:
1/29 - Houston, TX @ T-Town
1/30 - Dallas, TX @ Club Blue
2/2 - Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
2/3 - Orlando, FL @ House of Blues (with Snoop Dogg)
2/4 - Washington, DC @ Dream
2/5 - Virginia Beach, VA @ The NorVa
2/9 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
2/10 - Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Theater
2/11 - Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
2/13 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
2/16 - Phoenix, AZ @ Phoenix Marquee Theater (with DJ Quik)
2/17 - San Diego, CA @ 4th & B
2/18 - Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues (with DJ Quik)
2/20 - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues (with DJ Quik)
2/21 - Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues (with DJ Quik)
Nelly tells Chingy to calm down and pay him more respect
A few weeks back, Chingy said he was offended by comments Nelly made on his Sweat song "Another One," and now Nelly has some advice for Chingy: Don't be hurt, just take the lyrics as a word to the wise and show some respect.
"I wasn't going at him. If you listen to the song, it says, 'I like the way you do that right thurr.' I could have said, 'F--- the way you do that right thurr!' It ain't even like that," Nelly said on Friday in Los Angeles (see "Mixtape Monday: Chingy Gets Mad At Nelly, Diddy Gets Mad At Haters"). "I'm not trying to be in it with duke like that. I just feel I paid so much respect to other people that allowed me to come do what I do, I just feel people should pay the same respect [to me] when they do what they do. Don't act like your getting on didn't have nothing to do with everything [myself and the St. Lunatics] have been able to accomplish. I took you on tour with me before."
Funnily enough, Nelly said, in spite of their back and forth, Chingy recently contacted him about hitting the road together. It doesn't look too likely.
"To hear some of the things he's saying, like that he's been doing this just as long as me and I just got my break first and all this and all that," Nelly lamented, referring to Chingy's remarks in the December issue of XXL, "I'm like, 'Listen, it ain't even this type of issue. Don't say things like that.' He don't even realize how his words can get blown outta context. There's people who want to see us get into it.
"You've got to watch what you're saying, unless you mean what you're saying, then that's cool too," he added. "But don't do all that and then turn around and say you wanna go on tour with me. Don't do all that. Don't go that route. Be serious with whatever you're doing. I don't know where it is with him."
As for who Nelly actually will take on tour with him, that's still up in the air. The St. Lunatics are a lock, but besides them he's waiting to see. There have been talks with plenty of his peers, Lil Jon and T.I. among them, but nothing is definite. Nelly doesn't even know what type of venues he'll be hitting up. The big question is, does he go with his heart or with his wallet?
"I like the smaller venues for some reason," he said. "The 3,000-, 2,500-seaters where the people are right there and the music sounds louder and it feels like mutha----as is right there on top of you. Those are the ones I like better than the big joints. I know there's a lot of sponsors out there saying, 'No, no, no!' And probably a lot of the people around me, 'cause the money ain't as big, but it ain't even about that for me."
Life on the road, or at least heading out on the road, is the plot for Nelly's new video with Tim McGraw, "Over and Over." Recently wrapped, Nelly's part was shot in St. Louis, while McGraw filmed his scenes in Nashville. Each of the performers goes through his own personal hell while waiting for his love to holla back.
"I finished that joint up, we split-screened it with him on one side and me on the other side," Nelly explained. "He's in his element, I'm in my element. We're showing how everything still happens the same. It's a regular day, us waking up, we're waiting on a phone call we never seem to get. From the start of the day from when we wake up, we both gotta take these flights. We wanna squash this thing before we get on the flight. We never get the calls we was looking for and before you know it, pimp, we're gone."
Despite his work with McGraw, Nelly said his favorite country record of all time is "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. Fittingly, one of the biggest gambles of Nelly's career — putting out two albums, Sweat and Suit, on the same day — is continuing to pay off with sales and now a Grammy nomination (see "Kanye Scores 10 Grammy Nominations; Usher And Alicia Keys Land Eight").
"I didn't know, but I figured that Suit probably would be [the bigger seller] because it would probably be an album that appealed to fans that listened to more than rap and hip-hop," the master of country grammar said. And as he predicted, that is indeed the case.
Chingy gets mad at Nelly
New Yorkers are always going at it to be the king of the Big Apple, but is there a battle for the crown of St. Louis about to go down? Chingy is the latest cover boy for XXL magazine stands and in his feature story, Ching-A-Ling addresses none other than the mayor of Nellyville.
Ching has taken exception to the St. Lunatics captain on "Another One" from the Sweat LP where Nelly raps, "I like the way you do that right thurr/ Just remember when you do that right thurr/ I made it tight to be country/ They thought country was bummy/ Till country start making money."
"I been rapping just as long, dude, flat out," Chingy tells the publication. "So by Nelly saying that ... I just feel like he shouldn't have said that ... He was threatened by me and I felt disrespected by that because I never said nothing to dude. How you gonna feel threatened when you got millions and millions and you sold millions of records? Do you, and let me do me."
In the meantime, Chingy is currently working on a mixtape to come out around the same time his Powerballin' LP hits on November 16.
Ludacris Declares that all respect is lost for Chingy
The peace in Disturbing Tha Peace has been disrupted, and now Ludacris is telling Chingy to blow it out where the sun don't shine. Over the summer, Chingy abruptly bolted the crew that helped him break into the game. The fire was fanned to the point of no return earlier this month, when the December issue of XXL magaxine hit the stands. Chingy, who made the cover, revealed to the publication that he had monetary disputes with Chaka Zulu, a co-owner of DTP who was acting as Chingy's manager (without a contract).
"This is the first time we hear about his accusations, in a tabloid or through different media outlets, so all respect is lost," Ludacris revealed Thursday, sitting with Chaka Zulu in New York. "He keeps saying it's cool. It's not cool. ... It's completely over. Financially he still is signed to Disturbing Tha Peace, and we'll do what we have to do, but we don't want anybody representing the crew who's gonna make false accusations like that. We have no respect for this individual, basically."
Last week in New York, if you asked Ching-a-Ling about the conflict, he played the whole situation down as a strike toward independence.
"It wouldn't be no beef," Chingy answered when asked what would happen if Luda walked through the door. "I just seen him. It ain't like that. People think it's like that. If we was beefing, you would be hearing about it."
"It's a contract thing," Chingy further elaborated on his departure from the crew. "I don't want to get into that. Me and the management had our differences. Plus I'm trying to develop my business mind. Ain't nobody going to do for me like I'mma do for me. Ain't nobody gonna look out for me like I'mma look out for me. I had to step aside, start my own thing. Now I'm watching what's going on, giving my opinion and word. If something gets messed up, then blame it on me."
Chaka said he and his company EbonySon opened up the books twice for Chingy to dissect.
"Everybody from his lawyers to his accountants said there was no money missing," Zulu said. "There was no problem. From there we was like, 'Now can we sit down and talk?' We repeatedly said, 'Anytime you like to talk, let's discuss it. What's going on?' My thing is, [Chingy is] fabricating things to make everything make sense to the public. Don't put out false information."
"He has repeatedly come to us and said, 'I want to talk to you about this situation' and that's all he says; 'I want to talk to you.' He has never talked about it, and now he forces us to talk and speak out against him."
Besides the way his career was being handled, Chingy also said he felt he couldn't grow beyond being number two as long as he was with Disturbing Tha Peace.
"I started my own label, Slot-A-Lot records," he said. "And I had a crew who I wanted to push too. I wasn't really doing that. I don't want to stay down here. I'm trying to grow. I'm trying to elevate, so I'm trying to kick things off."
"That's ludicrous," Ludacris laughed when asked whether there was any jealousy toward Chingy.
"You can tell when somebody's a leader or not," Luda continued. "What was given to him, you can make your own situation out of it. That was perfectly fine. We're gonna encourage you to do that. Nobody wants to be an artist for the rest of their lives. We want you to make entrepreneurial moves — that's what business is all about.
"I'm the CEO of the company. I'm also an artist, but I sign artists with the expectation of every single artist being as big as they can possibly be. That's what makes me happy, because we are a family. You can still internally do your own thing, but still be a part of the family. No one's going to pigeonhole you. We're here to make you as successful as possible because it in turn makes us successful."
Chingy says he's been in talks with 50 Cent to make his Git It Boyz the lead act from a G-Unit South label. Chingy has also signed his little sister to Slot-A-Lot.
Chingy's second album is great
Even by hip-hop’s level of selfreference, Chingy takes some beating. He appears on the cover of his second album wearing a shirt with his face on it and the legend “I trust me”. Through 16 tracks he makes it clear why he is so great, how he managed to sell three million copies of his debut LP and how he has a mesmeric effect on the ladies. He even ropes in Janet Jackson on the funky Don’t Worry to nail home that final point, while R Kelly kindly echoes the sentiment on Leave Wit Me — one of the album’s better moments.
Chingy might lack the radio-friendly finish of Nelly, but there is something charming about a rapper who references Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car simply because he has just bought a fast car.
Powerballin’ might not go anywhere more meaningful than on a journey into its own bling-encrusted navel, but the shameless braggadocio means that you will enjoy the ride.
Chingy celebrates his new album PowerBallin'
Hitting the Jackpot with a triple platinum album in 2003 with the smash single "Right Thurr" was inevitable for Chingy. Currently holding the number 1 position in single sales, number 10 on the radio charts and number 5 most played video on BET with the first single release "Balla Baby'" from his second album PowerBallin', the St. Louis rapper has a reason to be excited.
To celebrate the release of his second album and the American Music Awards (AMA), on November 14, the "Powerballer" himself will perform live at an ultra-exclusive record release party at the Highlands Nightclub located at the Hollywood and Highland complex.
"I'm honored to be taking part of the AMA's which salutes the entire spectrum of music in one night and even more excited to be celebrating my album in the city that makes it all happen," expressed Chingy. Keeping himself busy, you can catch the Powerballer presenting at the AMA's and performing at the Vibe Awards. On his album's release date, (November 16th,) Chingy will be performing live on 106th & Park during the day, and chatting with Conan O'Brien at night. You can also catch him on Ellen Degeneres November 22nd and Jimmy Kimmel Live November 23rd.
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