Chamillionaire :: Mixtape Messiah 3 ::
as reviewed by Arthur Gailes

"Rap will never die, it's gon' live as long as I'm alive."

The mixtape messiah is back again, with a free album for his fans. One of the hardest working rappers in the industry, success hasn't made Chamillionaire lazy at all. After the huge success of "The Sound of Revenge," Chamillionaire no longer needs to make money from hustling mixtapes, so he just gives them away to be nice. As he says, "money already made."

With nothing to gain and nothing to prove, Chamillionaire nonetheless drops one of the most inspired works of his career in "Mixtape Messiah 3." From the moment he jumps off on "Get Ya Burners Out" Chamillionaire is on fire. King Koopa has mastered his craft at this point, and over some of the most popular beats of this year, Chamillionaire drops some of the hottest verses heard yet. Brimming with skill and confidence in it, "Mixtape Messiah" is an amazingly consistent and inspired album.

It may be intended to hype his upcoming album, "Ultimate Victory," but "Mixtape Messiah 3" is at least as good as his first release. Without the pressure of succeeding in the mainstream or producing a career-defining work of art, Chamillionaire returns to his roots as a free-spitting rapper, concerned only with writing good verses. At this, he succeeds incredibly well.

There's not much depth to be found here; Chamillionaire is mainly concerned with boasting about his success. Unlike many of his contemporaries, the Mixtape Messiah maintains a likable charm throughout, as the boast are so over-emphasized that they can hardly be taken seriously ("I'm so authentic, the word 'authentic' jumps out of the dictionary like, 'I'm in love!'").

Far from casual, his re-interpretations of '07's hits are uniformly funny and well done. Hidden behind the humor is a considerable amount of skill, his boast are delivered with an extraordinary eye for imagery among punch lines. It's not all fun though, as he takes the occasional moment to get serious. He takes a breather to air out his dissatisfaction with hip hop over Common's "The People," expressing his complaints with the industry and its participants, even himself. The highlight of the album, however, is the auto-biographical reflection, "It's Just Pain" and the subsequent discussion with God:

"So I keep saying his name, and he say I call it in vain
And he say the only time I call is when its in pain
Tried to mess with my sis, and I threw some salts in your game
Cause I knew you was old enough to be one of our parents, man
But a shame on you, shame you the only person to blame
When a 25-person gang tried to jump me and take my chain
I was the only person that got wet from those punches thrown in the rain
And I couldn't hold any grudges, I said "I forgive you man"
It was true that he had a temper; my father wasn't being gentle
At night, I'd wake up to knocking, my momma trying to get in the window
Turn on the TV; try to act like I'm trying to play the Nintendo
The house done burned down forever, and no longer sentimental
They live, and they lovin' life, 'til his girl had fell off that bike
And he happened to still survive, but the future don't look as bright
I admit I got mad at you and wished that we both could fight
When I knock at them pearly gates, just don't tell me to take a hike"

Besides these momentary breathers, the rest of the album is nothing but a display of technical superiority and charismatic cleverness. Remakes of Fabolous' "Make Me Better" and UGK's "Int' Players Anthem" both contain hilarious choruses, the latter with a clever Outkast reference. That said, it's not exactly perfect. There are a couple of ridiculously stupid skits, and while Chamillionaire is generally good on hooks, he doesn't need to handle all of them personally. Also, over the 21-track album he does seem to run out of idea's near the end. That said, most of the songs are fairly short, and without the "Roy Jones Jr Skit(s)," the album hovers at a perfect length, not lasting long enough to evoke boredom.

Whether serious or playful, Chamillionaire has come with every tool in his arsenal on this album. The vocal deliveries, rhymes, techniques, themes, and punch lines are all razor sharp here. Combine that with the hottest beats of the year, and you have a quiet classic on the part of one of mainstream hip hop's brightest hopes. "Mixtape Messiah 3" serves excellently both as a holdover for hardcore fans and an introduction to the unfamiliar. If this is any indication of what is to come, "Ultimate Victory" should not fall anywhere short of excellence. Until then, there is no shortness of greatness to be found on "Mixtape Messiah 3."

Music Vibes: n/a of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10

Originally posted: August 14, 2007