Chingy | Hoodstar (Slot-a-Lot/Capitol)

While there's nothing wrong with Chingy being proud of where he's from nor writing or rhyming about it, rap fans around the world have grown to not only love Chingy's tender side, but the high-spirited, club-hopping side, as well.

 

cd_chingyThere's no denying Walnut Park–reared Howard Bailey, Jr. reps his 49 Beacon Mobb affiliation nationwide. On the flip side, that pretty boy thug persona "Young Smoove" presented to the rap world with the multi-platinum debut release Jackpot went over so well, the lad would be foolish to stray far from that hit-making formula. On his latest release Hoodstar, Ching-a-ling straddles the fence as best he can, putting his street-wise tales and "Hollywood" swanging to task, splitting a 13-song album into two: a Hood and Star side, respectively.

Accordingly, the album aims to please all (which is nearly impossible), with Chingy blessing the grimier side of his third album with the country grammar-slurred, yet contagious "Nike Aurr's & Crispy Tee's," a song that has bubbled on the STL underground since early summer. "Cadillac Door," featuring a crooning Solomon of Motown signee Midwest City, is another Hood selection worthy of consideration.

The Three 6 Mafia produced "Club Getting Crowded" (featuring the Grammy Award winners themselves) is middle-of-the-road, suffering from a lack of cohesive Midwest-Down-South flavor. "Hands Up" (produced by Poli Paul of SpenCow Entertainment) finds Chingy spitting rugged, macho verses over a slightly tinged, hard-hitting instrumental, while the Lou's second-in-charge reunion with the Track Starz (producers of Jackpot) on "Bounce That" rekindles those old memories of three summers ago when "Right Thurr" blazed the charts.

Fueled by the chart-topping lead single "Pullin' Me Back," the star-powered "Star" side (featuring collabos with Jermaine Dupri, Tyrese, Mr. Collipark of Ying Yang Twins fame, Mannie Fresh, Fatman Scoop, Slot-A-Lot star-in-waiting Spiffy, and producers Kwame and Timbaland) is where Chingy's—and this particular album's—strengths lie.

While there's nothing wrong with Chingy being proud of where he's from nor writing or rhyming about it, rap fans around the world have grown to not only love Chingy's tender side ("Pullin' Me Back," "One Call Away"), but the high-spirited, club-hopping side, as well (second single "Dem Jeans," "Right Thurr"). Nitpicking aside, the album should fare well due to its successful lead joint, potential chart-topping follow-up single, and the overall breadth of this well-produced, easy-to-vibe composition. B+

RIYL: Nelly, Jermaine Dupri, Murphy Lee, Three 6 Mafia

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