Hate It Or Love It

posted January 11, 2008 09:18:19 AM CST | 33 comments

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Admittedly, Chingy has gotten rich off of simply saying "Right Thurr." Sure, there may be a little more to it but that's been difficult to see. For the past few years, the rapper has showered his fans with catchy singles, St. Louis slang and popular club hits. But he's also become a poster child for why Hip Hop largely sucks these days. Despite his early success with his debut Jackpot, his career has been on a consistent decline. After carrying on a feud with Ludacris and DTP Records, Chingy re-joined the label for his latest offering,  Hate It or Love It. Back with the camp where he saw his most success, he is faced with the task of proving he is capable of doing more than simply repeating "Right Thurr."

Surprisingly, Chingy navigates through the LP by combining what he's known for with what he isn't known for doing. He starts the album off with more complex rhyme schemes than he's ever shown before on a Co-Stars produced track that sounds very much like a Ludacris song. No, he hasn't turned into Pharoahe Monch or anything, but he definitely shows some improvement. Plus the beat is real dope, so it's a welcome start.

Unfortunately those hopes are quickly dashed out the window on the absolutely insipid Check My Swag. Label mates Luda and Bobby Valentino join Ching-A-Ling for a potential hit with the Full Scale produced "Gimme Dat." It isn't any good, but it'll probably work. After a few more danceable tracks, Chingy decides to get a little more introspective to discuss the importance of women in his life ("Lovely Ladies"), and the world in general. L.T. Moe creates a guitar-inspired melody for "How We Feel," which sees Chingy and Anthony Hamilton discussing life's experiences as black men in America. Rick Ross follows this up by appearing on the Cool & Dre laced "Roll On 'Em" where mediocre lines meet the bumpin' C&D beat.

Obviously, Chingy isn't exactly dropping mad science, or even 6th grade science. He's still there for the club loving, dance floor rattling fans and certainly has some beats for them. He's still willing to repeat the same phrase over and over to catch someone's attention.  However, he also surprises a bit by displaying a little versatility on this album. Despite any improvements Chingy made, things barely even out in the end. For every cool track like a "Lovely Ladies" or "2 Kool 2 Dance" there are embarrassments like "Fly Like Me," "All Aboard" or "Spend Some Time." Chingy shows he is capable of producing more than just "Right Thurr"-like tracks. By opening up to a different style, sound and topical selection (even if only for a little bit), he's allowed himself to grow beyond what was expected by many. That is not to say the album is amazing, but that right thurr is commendable.

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