Chingy’s slot machine

Chingy’s slot machine

“Jackpot”, the Southern banger made in Saint Louis

Capitol / Disturbing Tha Peace, 2003

Ludacris’ protégé

Taken very quickly under Ludacris’ wing and signed on Disturbing Tha Peace, the young Chingy will land in the rap game and embody all the stereotypes that the old heads will reproach to the Hip Hop at this period. A Hip Hop of flamboyant, mixing party, pimpology and money, a perfect cocktail for the bangers in nightclub, but much less appreciated by the amateurs of Hip Hop.

The native of Saint Louis will forge a hybrid style between his colleague of the same city, Nelly, and his mentor Ludacris. The comparison is very easy, but it is real. Chingy will have the shiny and pop side of Nelly with a slightly RnB oriented flow and the flashy and pimp style of Ludacris. And this is the paradox of Chingy, he takes the pimp and macho side of Ludacris and at the same time the lover side of Nelly, which clearly proves his commercial intentions.

After all, Chingy could naturally envy his St. Louis competitor and his success, selling millions of records and being one of the biggest Hip Hop sellers of the 2000s. Chingy would get his share of the pie as he went almost triple platinum with Jackpot. When you see the title of the album and the blaze of the character, which means money in slang, the intentions are rather clear. But this is not necessarily a negative point.

A bling bling character with a nasal voice

Money is indeed an integral part of the character, as well as parties and chicks. Recurring themes in Hip Hop, but Chingy made it his trademark with this album, and even after. A conceptual album? Let’s not exaggerate either. Let’s rather say that the background theme is respected from A to Z and it works, even if these bling bling themes can be tiring in the long run. But hey, we came to listen to bangers and not a social science book.

If he is at the crossroads between a Nelly and a Ludacris, he has nevertheless a particularity which can be at the same time very attractive, but also very unpleasant for some: his flow dictated with his nasal voice. Chingy is a rapper with a unique voice and diction, perfect for bangers. His flow works well in his clubbing bling bling register, his slightly sung diction lends itself well to the exercise with a certain melody, but he may lack versatility over the length, in the same way that his nasal voice can sometimes  be boring.

Local production for effective bangers

Entirely produced by the local production duo, The Trak Starz, the album will continue in this Club-Banging logic. Fortunately you will say to me, if they announce us bangers, as much as it works on the dancefloors. And yes, it works, at least partially. The objective is fulfilled, a typically southern album, boasting with powerful basses, pounding drums and big electronic synthesizer strokes.

After an introduction that features slot machine sound effects, just to announce the concept, the first three tracks are really good and make you nod instantly. Chingy brings enough variation to his voice and flow to keep us on our toes on productions that are tailored especially for him. The chiseled production of He’s Herre fits perfectly with his flow, and Chingy does it very well. Represent brings enough drama where Chingy shows that he can be more aggressive. Right Thurr comes close to a Jermaine Dupri with a bit of an alarming beat where Chingy once again shows his versatility.

Still, one should not dwell on the lyrics, Chingy does not have the pen of Ludacris to bring smashing punchlines. The themes do not allow for beautiful lyrical poetry either. Even if it’s not what we came for, some nice punchlines or clever puns are always welcome and can easily raise the level of an album, even a banger album. 

A blockbuster that lacks excitement

After this top trio, the album will clearly be in sawtooth. Chingy seems to be lost in the theme of One Call Away, and is totally different from the album. If all the blockbusters need a lover moment, Chingy is definitely not made for the exercise, he must leave it to Nelly. The beat of Wurrs My Cash is way too slow for Chingy, and even though he can show versatility, he fails to grab the beat properly, yet the pimp theme was sticking with him. Chingy Jackpot has an interesting production with a little G-Funk touch, Chingy slides over it with a fast, if slightly pushy flow. We find him a little more in his element with Sample Dat Ass, he brings a little variation in his intonation with a nice sung chorus, but it is not at the level of a Right Turr.

A new Banger arrives, Gettin It, which appeared on the soundtrack of 2 Fast 2 Furious. A perfect track for the clubs where Chingy takes the beat with an excellent jerky flow. If the production doesn’t particularly move me, Chingy’s flow wakes up and makes you shake your head. Holidae In has an interesting beat with some attractive synth touches, but the contributions of Snoop and Ludacris are so commercial that they become anecdotal. Snoop sends a correct chorus, but not enough to jump out of his chair, the flow of Ludacris brings a good alternative to the nasal voice of Chingy.

Juice is reminiscent of Ludacris’ Word Of Mouf bangers with a repetitive chorus a la Move Bitch and Chingy manages to take over the beat very well, which is quite attractive with a guitar chord over pounding drums and a synthesizer sound effect on the chorus. The album ends with a production by DJ Quik who beautifully samples Curtis Mayfiled’s Ain’t Got Time, the only sample on the album. The beat oscillates between Funk and Soul for a beautiful melody where Chingy manages to tame the rhythm. A small wind of fresh air that comes very well to conclude the album.

If the first tracks of Jackpot are very successful with a very fit Chingy, the rest of the album can become slightly boring on the length, either on the production or on the flow. There are tracks that work well, others that sound like failed attempts. Alternatives to the bangers are obviously welcome, but you have to get them right. Chingy fits his character perfectly and goes to the end of his concept. Taken as a whole, the album has a particular appeal if you take it for what it is and wants to be. And we can hardly blame him for being what he is, a southern banger. In its field, it is well done.

By Grégoire Zasa

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