Chingy: Still Ballin'
Two years can also revert an artists promising career back to square one. Two years after Lauryn Hill became the first hip-hop artist to win five Grammys, she became its own living martyr, folding under pressure amid the rumors, lawsuits and various other issues. Two years after 50 Cents verbal campaign against his crew, Ja Rule (or The Inc. , for that matter) still hasnt been able to duplicate the platinum success they celebrated in the their heyday. And two years since R. Kelly became the most in-demand songwriter and producer in the game, karma reared its ironic head when, during their now-infamous Best Of Both Worlds tour, a Jay-Z associate [allegedly] used The Pied Pipers face as target practice.
St. Louis prince Chingy is currently in those terrible twos. Two years removed from his multi-platinum debut, Jackpot, the Midwest star is at that very pivotal moment where he can either make or break his career. After a very public dispute and split with his former Disturbing Tha Peace family, Ching-A-Ling is now at his own crossroads, balancing beefs with former ally and recent acting phenom Ludacris and Midwest ambassador Nelly with rumors of ripping off his own crew, the Git It Boyz.
But dont tell Chingy about these setbacks (in fact, in an effort to move on from the past, this writer was told not to pursue any beef-related queries with the rapper by his publicist). With the same confidence (or is that arrogance?) that propelled Shawn Carter to president status, Howard Bailey, Jr. drops by to kick some knowledge on the future, expanding his franchise and those pesky beef issues.
Hip Hop DX: So what is a typical day in the life of Chingy like?
Chingy: Im in the studio making songs, interviews and there. Ive been working out at the gym, two times a day, getting my work out on, getting a little cut up. Always kinda busy.
What have you been up to?
Im working on my follow-up to Powerballingonna be called Hood Star. Theres been a lot of hating going on and all the misconceptions at your boy Ching-A-Ling, but at the same time I keep it like a star in the hood. Ive also been working on Slot-O-Lot, my record company, trying to get that off the ground. Ive got some artists on the new album; a group called Hood Stars and my little brother Spiff. Im also trying to get a deal for Slot-O-Lot. Im also working on the Git It Boyz project, thats coming in a hot second. Ive also been looking at movies; I might get involved more with that as well.
Speaking of which, youve also branched out into Television shoes like One On One and Thats So Raven, is that a possible career change?
Naw, I aint gon leave rap game just yet, because my first passion is music, but I wouldnt mind doing the TV show/sitcom thing. Another check [laughs].
How the hell did you get Janet Jackson on your album?
Actually, I wanted her to be on that song. Im a good friend with [her boyfriend] Jermaine Dupri, and I reached out, touched a couple people, let her listen to the song. She actually called the studio while I was working on the song, told me she liked my music, and she did her thing on it.
Youve also branched out West and have done some work with DJ Quik. Can we expect more collabos from you or other Left Coast artists in the future?
I always get down with Quik; youre definitely gonna see more of that. Thats my people. I like The Game, Mack 10, Ice Cube. I grew up listening to West Coast music.
We all know artists use rap as a springboard into other ventures: clothing, liquor, rims, record labels, etc. Any plans to expand on the Chingy name brand?
Ill have a clothing label in a hot second, have that going in a minute. But Im mainly going to focus on the music first.
Powerballin was your first post-DTP release. How did you feel about striking out on your own, as well as how the public received it?
Striking out on my own, I had to do that. I have a company to run that I want to be out there, so I got to hold it down on my own. Im trying to be an entrepreneur; music just opened the door for a lot of other things. Im just trying to keep up.
So how do you feel about the current state of hip-hop?
I think its good. It builds up more and more listeners. But everybody cant get along in this game, with the beefs and everything. If you cut that out, well be at a good pace.
So how do you feel about the beefs?
Its hip-hop, except these beefs are not beefs. Theyre just going back and forth, nothing serious. If that can be cut out, well be all good. It is what it is.
So whats next for Chingy?
I just put out my mixtape, The Scratch Off mixtape, cuz Im about to be done with the whole Powerballin/Jackpot stuff; thats why I made the mixtape. Im about to drop [the single] All We Do Is This, just to put something out there.
Im also about to come with the first single from my new album in September. Expect a harder sound to it, but Im still keeping it fun. Thats what I do. I got Mannie Fresh on the album, Three Six Mafia and Chopper aka Young City, The Hood Stars, Spiff and Jody Breeze. For producers, I have Mannie, Timbaland, Voodoo from Chicago and of course The Trak Starz.