Review Summary: "I got a degree/But my felony wont let me get a job/Life is so hard/And just today somebody stole my car and bus don't run my way/I think i'll walk the street today"
Chamillionaire just came out of fu
cking nowhere. This month was supposed to be a battle between Kanye and 50 for both the best and highest selling hip hop album. However, those two pretty much fumbled the ball and instead of really pushing forward, relied on what they’ve been doing for three albums now. But then, the dude who everybody thought had an awesome song in “Ridin’” but was pretty much discardable otherwise, put everything he had into a little album called Ultimate Victory
. The result? A cohesive and complete album in the world of Southern rap.
“The Morning News” and “The Evening News” both play on the same concept of Chamillionaire acting as reporter, giving us a rather unabashed take on current affairs and some tie ins with hip hop. While “The Morning News” is a great opening track and sets up the stage for Chamillionaire’s blunt intelligence (tackling issues such Al Sharpton’s hypocrisy, the giant divide between upper and middle class, and the disowning of educated black people), the real gem here is “The Evening News.” More of an attack than “Morning News” was, it features one of the best verses on the entire album:
We still haven't found Pac's killer, still haven't found Biggie's either,
30 minutes into the case they got tired and took a breather,
Snoop Dogg just got arrested, everyday he get a new subpoena,
Innocent when murder was the case so the prosecution got a middle finger,
Hip-Hop is sweeping the nation, but the contents seem so degrading,
Most rappers got new albums that white kids are anticipating,
If you don't like it on the radio or the television then switch the station,
Flavor Flav get a lot of ratings, Bill O'Reilly somewhere is hating,
Kanye just said WHAT? the president ain't got time for that,
The White House is going to stay white even tho' we know Obama's black,
9/11 was a calculation, and some would say it was a timed attack,
He gave a speech on CNN, "They bombed us, now we're bombing back",
Where the heck is Osama at?
The album isn’t about political discourse for the most part, though. Chamillionaire addresses the main topics every southern rappers got on his mind; money and women. However, it isn’t bragging anymore; instead, he sings about the jealousy hes encountered since he became big time, the backstabbers coming back to him asking for help, and them nappy headed hos. In fact, the song “Industry Groupie,” a hilarious song about how Chamillionaires sick of all those “golddiggers”, “culos,” “strippers,” and any other number of derogative terms for money grubbing women that have been said in the past few years. Its actually one of the most honestly fun songs you’ll hear this year, with “Don't try to lie, Don't try to cry, Ain't nothing more for us to talk about Like Unk said take 2-Steps towards the door and just walk it out”
causing multiple laughs from the crowd I was around listening to this with.
There are far too many good tracks to attempt to talk about all of them. Theres the smoothness of “Pimp Mode”, the song which discrowns “P.I.M.P” as the pimp anthem of the new millenium (well, at least to this white guy). “Come Back to the Streets,” the token song about selling out on the album, where Cham announces his dedication to the street and putting down the rappers who shamelessly embrace the high life. Then there iss the completely out of nowhere song “Stuck in the Ghetto.” The emotionally charged song on the album, Tony Henry gives a fantastic performance as an educated black man that through his mistakes is still stuck in the ghetto, but still cant help but love it. It’s the point on the album that it really hits you; Cham hasn’t tried to recreate The Sound of Revenge
at all, and has completely avoided creating another song like Ridin’
Perhaps he should have had included a club banger on here though, instead of one of the few missteps Cham takes. Of course, any collaboration with Lil Wayne is bound to fail, and “Rock Star” is certainly no exception. It’s just a takeoff of all those songs like “Party Like a Rockstar” and any recent Paul Wall song. “I Think I Love You” is a clever song about love for money, but after the novelty wears off its just a generic and under-whelming song about money. Finally, “You Must Be Crazy” just sucks. There iss nothing in particular about it that makes it bad, its just terribly unspecial and sounds more like a 50 Cent song than anything else. Not inherently bad, until you consider it sounds like a song from Curtis
really is Chamillionaire’s victory over everybody else in the game right now. He not only trumps the big names in rap like 50 and Kanye, he even beats out traditional “intellectual” powerhouses like Common and Talib. That’s all without considering “Hip Hop Police” the best song on the album and the first single. A short story about what amounts to pretty much any rapper being blamed for the violence in the streets. Slick Rick makes an ill appearance, and the concept is an encapsulation of the most important message Chamillionaire is trying to send with the album. Hip hop is dying because of unfounded attacks and criticisms, calling hip hop the reason black society is “falling apart” or what have you. It may not hold much weight coming from a white kid who grew up in an almost-okay neighborhood, but the message that hip hop is just a reflection of the streets and not the other way around is the most important thing hip hop music can be saying right now.