Powerballin’

Artist: ChingyTitle: Powerballin’Rating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Clover Hope

When Chingy delivered the memorable (and inescapable) chicken-head-dance anthem “Right Thurr” and the ladies joint “One Call Away” a year ago, he had the backing of his mentor Ludacris and Disturbing Tha Peace. Now removed from his secure constituents since his sophomore release Powerballin’ (Capitol), Chingy looks a little less credible. And the St. Louis native shows it on this follow-up attempt, which tries about 19 times to cash in on his debut single “Right Thurr.” If you heard the lead track, “Balla Baby,” that’s pretty much how the rest goes.

Chingy’s signature slot machine beats—hand claps, cymbals and all—resonate on two-thirds of the album. His suspended delivery, where he statically pauses between words and phrases, is distinct, but annoying after awhile, along with his nasal flow. Not unsurprisingly, girls, strip clubs, fortune and…rims are the subjects at hand. With a list of features as long as the St. Louis Arch, it’s a surprise Chingy has money left over to brag about. But brag he does. “My bank account is amazin’ / I’m ratin’ myself a 20 / I’m takin’ myself on 20s / I’m doing this show for 20,“ he raps on “I Do,” featuring his mediocre crew Get It Boyz (G.I.B.). In the na-na-na-boo-boo song, “26,” Chingy boasts on the hook, “y’all ride 18s / we ride 26s / Big trucks, big wheels, rolling over ditches.”

R. Kelly, whose songs are also beginning to fuse in sound, croons on “Leave Wit Me,” where Chingy attempts to persuade a girl by listing his many possessions. “Lookin’ at ya sexy ass make me wanna write a check,” he rhymes at one point. The rapper even caught the attention of the sultry Janet Jackson, who provides her choral seduction on the decent rap ballad “Don’t Worry”—a replica of “One Call Way.” And Nate Dogg lends his mellifluous gangster vocals on the David Banner-produced “All the Way to St. Lou,” a standout track amongst the homogeny.

To be fair, a few tracks, like “Fall-N” and even “Make that Ass Talk,” with their catchy hooks, would bode well on their own. But these become stale on an album with 18 other songs that sound identical. A clever, occasionally sharp-tongued emcee with potential, Chingy exhibits no noticeable lyrical development or perfection, an often necessary step in the evolution and ultimate success of a rapper. Rather than rolling with the same strike-it-rich theme of Jackpot, it would have been nice if Chingy experimented with his sound and his subject matter. His sudden leap to stardom has not served him well though, as he’s too at ease to detect the mediocrity. But it’s right thurr for all to see.

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