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Chamillionaire scores the ‘Ultimate Victory’

Corbin Hicks | Tuesday, October 9, 2007

For Chamillionaire, slow and steady wins the race.

Two years ago, Houston produced a huge influx of music; artists like Mike Jones led the pack with his huge hit “Still Tippin.” Jones, along with Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Bun B, were able to tap into this relatively new market and capitalize on their relative anonymity to achieve massive album sales. To show how marketable and successful these artists were at one point, Mike Jones had a guest spot on the TV show “Prison Break.” However, one artist who was not part of this Houston revolution was Chamillionaire.

Also from Houston, Chamillionaire was the former rhyming partner with Jones, Wall and Slim Thug in the legendary southern faction known as the Swisha House. But he managed to obtain major levels of success even after he left the Swisha House and signed to a major label as a solo entity. He achieved lukewarm initial responses to his debut album “The Sound of Revenge,” but soon had an unmistakable hit on his hands with the anti-crooked cop anthem “Ridin.” The song even led to a parody by “Weird Al” Yankovic called “White and Nerdy,” which is a telltale sign of crossover success.

While Wall, Jones and Slim Thug are all struggling to get their feet back in the door that was quickly closed on them, only Chamillionaire and UGK are still representing for the Houston rap scene. This says a lot about Chamillionaire’s success considering that UGK became legendary following the cult status of “Free Pimp C” and the undeniable hit with Jay-Z “Big Pimpin.” Inevitably, Chamillionaire would be forced to follow up this initial success with a sophomore album, and his recent work does not disappoint at all.

Chamillionaire’s second effort, “Ultimate Victory,” represents a turning point in his career. In an attempt to distance himself from the post-Don Imus hip hop world, Chamillionaire made “Ultimate Victory” without any profanity – and the result is very different not only from the usual subject matter of most rap albums today. But the other difference is that this album is not what’s expected from profanity-free hip hop, which is generally associated with Lil Romeo, Will Smith and various other rap acts that lack any sort of lyrical credibility. By taking out the usual subjects of money, drugs, women and alcohol, Chamillionaire rests his hate on more political subject matter, even going as far as to name two of his songs “The Morning News” and “The Evening News.” “Hip Hop Police,” which features a guest verse from the legendary Slick Rick, is the natural successor to “Ridin” in Chamillionaire’s take on crooked police officers.

The album’s songs tend to transition smoothly from one to the next, except for the totally unnecessary skit before the song “Bill Collector.” Other standout tracks include “Won’t Let You Down,” “Pimp Mode” featuring Bun B, and “We Breakin’ Up,” a song about Chamillionaire losing his love for the current state of superficial hip-hop music. Another high note of the album is the “Stuck In The Ghetto” interlude, where the featured artist Tony Henry sings about situations the average struggling person faces on a daily basis. He captures the hopelessness that society forces onto certain people, which leads perfectly into the two closing songs “Rocky Road” and “Ultimate Victory.”

Chamillionaire’s sophomore effort is certainly not “Ultimate Victory,” but there are many more rights than wrongs. Hopefully he continues this winning streak and keeps supplying listeners with quality music.