Chingy :: Powerballin' :: Capitol/EMI
as reviewed by Paul 'The Gooch' Cantor

Purists can hate all they want, but when Chingy churned out hits such as "Right Thurr," "Holidae Inn," and "One Call Away," all within a few month's time, it was hard to deny that St. Louis had spawned a bonafide superstar, and his name damn sure wasn't Nelly. More importantly, he had Disturbing The Peace in his corner instead of the glorified back-up dancers known as the St. Lunatics.

Yet Chingy has since parted ways with DTP, and if there's any assumption that there would be dis records aimed in their direction, there are clearly none offered on his sophomore LP, Powerballin'. In fact, it seems like it's all fun and games in the land of Chingy, and those fun and games provide mixed results.

On "Balla Baby," Chingy rides an infectious pimped-out groove that instantly reminds you of something Nate Dogg would ride shotgun on. And then, all of a sudden, surprise, there's Nate Dogg on the hook. It's the borderline generic nature in which this whole record comes across that makes it less likely to pick up in the way the techno-inspired "Right Thurr" did.

But if there's any doubt that Powerballin' will deliver hits, it's laid to rest when the synthesizer growls of "Make That Ass Talk" kick in. In his kiddie-ish Southern drawl, Chingy rides the strip-club bound 16th note hi-hats: "Get her hair and nails done by the chicks down the street/ and got a Get It Girl tattoo on her left ass-cheek." It's here, in his ode to women with asses round and profound, where Chingy sounds comfortable and at home with his flow.

The same can't be said for him on the 808-driven "I Do." This weak attempt at a trunk-rattler, complete with cheesy horn stabs and poorly executed drum programming, comes off sounding contrived and lacks the "umph!" of Chingy's past hits.

And that might be the biggest problem with Powerballin'. It's not that the album isn't good, it's that it pales in comparison to "Jackpot." A bottom-heavy song like "26's" which features New Orleans golden boy Young Weezie himself Lil' Wayne does little to show any real artistic growth for Chingy. Even having said that, the track's squeaks and much welcomed clap sounds (as opposed to 808 snares) do make it one of the more surprisingly entertaining records on the album. And while the subject matter of "Powerballin'" is rehashed in just about every rapper's catalog these days, the songs are still fairly hit or miss. In the past, Chingy's hit. On this go round, one can only hope that some of the obvious misses somehow manage to do the same.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Originally posted: November 16, 2004