Chamillionare: the Southern Hip Hop Savior?

There is a common sentiment in New York that loosing the top spots to the Southern music is a sign of deteriorating Hip Hop. It is true that the themes in music from Texas or Louisiana are quite different from those of the Big Apple music. However, instead of getting upset at the South for lowering the standards let’s give those artists some props. Afterall Houston and New Orleans did not come from years of the Boogie Down street influence or the BK bravado and QB Bridge routes. It should come almost as a shocking and pleasant surprise that Hip Hop not only spread all over but is represented in full force in the grimiest parts of the country. The Harlem projects seem bad to you? Go down to the ‘bad’ areas of a small town in Mississippi and come back to tell the story. It’ll be a story of poverty and it’ll be a story of genuine people. When 50 cent drops a Platinum record talking about clubs and cheap sluts it is welcomed as a natural occurrence. He is from New York and that’s what New York does. This city stays on top. However, when Paul Wall or Young Joc raps about the same, it’s perceived as settling.

It’s no incident that Lil’ Wayne and T.I. were the only people to put out albums in ’06 and go Platinum in ’06 (well, Wayne’s dropped in December of ’05). Hip Hop has always been about representing people and those two made people feel like they had a voice. Don’t like what they got to say? Thank the variety of today’s music for offering more. Listen to Mef’s 421 or Ghost’s Fishscale. Is it Me and Shakey Dog were slept on by some of the biggest Wu heads. Most importantly, stop hating! Give our brothers the respect they deserve. If the Dirty South represents, there is a reason. The very music New York started is a big part of it.

Chamillionare is a Houston rapper with a talent, rich lyrical content and a mission. Born in D.C., he brings 100% South in his music. Proving to everyone that South can make sharp rap lyrics he even got one of the highest awards any singer can get. His Ridin’ got him a Grammy. Taking it upon himself to demonstrate that he is not like all the others, Southern or not, he’s had a great deal of success doing just that.

Born to a Muslim African father and a Christian mother, he rode the train to fame all on his own. Living in Acres Homes taught him the live in the hood. Listening to Public Enemy and N.W.A. taught him to love rap. Watching UGK and 8 Ball & MJG do their thing locally pushed him to start representing on his own. Making his first steps with Paul Wall, Cham won the local mixtape world. Getting up to 100,000 on sales from one of his mixtapes, he got all he could out of his world of the time. Splitting up from Paul Wall due to creative differences and changing labels, Chamillionare began his solo career.

His first studio album from Universal, The Sound of Revenge, went Platinum and produced hits like Turn It Up, Grown and Sexy and the Grammy-winning Ridin’. Getting Scott Storch and Mannie Fresh on it made it that much more appealing. He even got to work with Big Boi as a part of it.

Now, Cham is one of the most requested Southern artists. From Christina Aguilera to 50 Cent, everyone wants a piece of this man. Even his Ridin’ ringtone went 3x Platinum and Weird Al Yankovich did a remake of the song. There is no stopping for what he started. His new album, Ultimate Victory, will drop in June and it has a phenomenal roster of producers and artists on it. Dr. Dre himself gave some beats to it. Akon put his golden touch in as well. Swizz Beats brought his flava with him. Scott Storch and Cool and Dre worked with Cham again on this one. From Wayne to Busta Rhymes , the rappers line-up is seriously dangerous on it as well. Even Kelis got some love on it, doing the first single off of the album with Cham.

Coming to New York courtesy of MTV, Chamillionare got the stage at the Hard Rock Café. There was swagger, there was bragging, but most importantly there was genuine excitement on his part. The 26 year-old rapper’s first words on stage were “They told me I couldn’t do it”. If perseverance and applying yourself are not 100% American traits, than what is?

Southern Hip Hop has grown well past its initial baby steps. It owns most major music radio stations and TV programs. Most importantly it owns hearts of millions of eager Hip Hop heads all over the country. Chamillionare is a big reason why. New album about to be released and new fans accumulating at an almost geometric rate, Hakeem Seriki is here to keep on making great music. All you got to do is listen.

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