Houston we have a problem. It seems nowadays that Houston is having everything but problems. With the resurgence of Southern music on the forefront, all sorts of talent is definitely making sure to get in where they fit in and Houston born rapper, Chamillionaire is no exception. Now signed with Universal after selling over six-figures in albums as an underground talent, Chamillionaire is here to prove to the world that he is more than average. After an unfriendly split with former partner Paul Wall and disassociation from Houston mixtape powerhouse Swishahouse, Cham is no stranger to conflict. More on that later...
We last checked in on him a couple years ago. Lets see what up with Chamillionaire at this stage in his life.
AllHipHop.com: What is the title of your upcoming solo album? There are two titles being tossed around in press.
Cham: The name of my album is called The Sound Of Revenge. It was gonna be called Controversy Sells, but the indie label that I put out my first album on, just put out an album with that name in an attempt to try to capitalize off the street promotion I have been doin’ with that title. They put out a CD with old material tryin’ to fool the public like it’s my new album, and the underground fans aren't really feelin’ what they tried do.
AllHipHop.com: When is it slated for release?
Cham: The Sound Of Revenge will drop summer 2005 on Chamillitary Records. I know the world is really startin’ to see a lot of action comin’ out of Houston right now, but I’m not gonna rush. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my music, and I’m not tryin’ to put out anything less than the best album to come out. People will know I’m the truth when they hear it.
AllHipHop.com: I read in an interview where you said that you really don't feel that you have to be signed with a major to make it, what made you decide to finally sign with a major?
Cham: I guess it was just meant to be. I had been doin’ a lot of underground records sayin’ that I wouldn't sign with a major unless everything was completely right. One of my producer homies from the Beat Bullies called me up and told me he was gonna get my name on the VIP list for a Nelly party that was goin’ on in New York. I wasn't even planning on goin’, but the guy that is now my manager called me and told me that one of the head guys from Universal Records saw my name on the list and was hoping to see me there. I paid for a ticket to New York, but by the time I got there it was just about over. I went and got a hotel and in the mornin’ when I woke up, I saw a lot of New York area codes on my missed calls log. Next thing you know, I was going from meeting to meeting. I met with various labels. Every meeting went well to me except for one, where the executives were stuck on an ‘American Idol’ type concept. I didn't like the whole idea and the approach they was doin’ where you have to rap and dance for them. They passed on me, but I’m glad because I got the deal that people were tellin’ me that I wasn't gonna be able to get.
AllHipHop.com: Now you started in the industry doing promotions for everybody, do you feel that entering in that way gave you an advantage from a business standpoint?
Cham: Definitely. It doesn't matter what venture you tryin’ to get into. If you want to be successful, you need to learn about it first. You don't dive head first into water with out knowing how deep the water is. Promotions helped me to learn the game before I jumped into it completely. Watching the lives of other people helped me know how I was gonna keep my life in tact. I got to see other people pass and fail, and got to see who was really makin’ the money behind the scenes.
AllHipHop.com: I know that you and Paul Wall started in this together but recently we have been hearing that you two are not on good terms?
Cham: Yeah, we came up together but now he is back with the Swishahouse, and I’m not. We aren't cool at all anymore because a lot of personal stuff that I’m not even gonna begin to try to explain. He [recently] made a comment in XXL saying he has a feeling that I’m gonna start dissin’ him, but he won’t diss me back because he thinks that is childish. My response to that is everyone knows that he has been subliminally dissin’ me on all his records, and now he's trying to act all innocent. Him and his homies are goin’ around everywhere tryin’ to turn people against me, and tryin’ to make me look like a bad guy. There is nothin’ they can say to anyone to keep me from being successful. They can pray for my downfall now, and be disappointed later.
AllHipHop.com: Now that you are a solo artist, do you think you can make an even larger impact than before?
Cham: Even though I sold over 100,000 units on my first independent record, I was still considered an underground artist. It's bigger than that now and the stakes have been raised a lot higher now that I’m on a major. The independent album and all the mixtapes served as training for me. I’m still gonna do all that stuff but when I drop this first major album, people will be able to see that I don't just make underground hits I can make nationwide hits.
AllHipHop.com: You have done a lot of songs on mixtapes for Swishahouse, why didn't you ever sign with them?
Cham: When I was in the Swishahouse, it wasn't really a real label at that time. It was kinda like a bunch of rappers spittin’ on screwed mixtapes. I never saw any contracts at all. We were never signed that's the reason why we were able to start our own thing when our street buzz was hot enough. I got tired of watchin’ all the money get made and not being able to financially profit from it. I was told that I had to pay dues when I was askin’ about getting paid for a show that I was performing in. I did hundreds of mix tape verses and a lot of shows and wasn't makin’ money doin’ it. So I got out and did my own thing. No one puts a salary cap on me or tells me when I get paid now. I am thankful for the experience though because I learned from it but what I went through is also the reason why I separate myself from everything they got goin’ on over there. I respect what that label did to get me where I’m at, but I’m not a sweatshop worker or a slave and this Rap is how my family eats.
AllHipHop.com: I hear there are a lot of beefs going on between you and Swisha House, like with Mike Jones. Are you going to continue to with the beef considering the fact that Houston is finally getting some shine.
Cham: I’m not a gangsta. I’m a businessman. So beefin’ is not what I’m here to promote even though I know the controversy in a rappers personal life can help record sales sometimes. I haven't built my career on that and don't plan to because when you are better at making music than your competitors, you don't have to. See there are a lot of personal issues that the public doesn't know that has been goin’ on between me and them guys. That’s part of the reason why some people go against me, because I’m the person that will say exactly what I feel is the truth instead of giving the politically correct answer. That’s mainly why I don't really go into too much detail about the personal stuff. Because when I speak on it, I’m gonna have to give my truth. And I know once them skeletons they got come out of their closets, it’s gonna go to a whole different level.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, fair enough. A lot of Southern artists and artists in general are now creating their normal sounding CD’s, but then re-releasing a screwed and chopped version. Are you planning to do that as well to maintain loyalty to your underground fans?
Cham: Yeah, the mixtapes and the screwed versions won’t stop. You can’t get signed and then switch up what ya doin’ that got you there. There is a difference between a fan that likes you because they see you on TV, and a fan that has watched you grow and mature your whole career. The fans that watched you grow will stick around if you keep it real with them. The other fans will jump back and forth between who has the hotter single so I gotta keep feedin’ the fans that have been down the whole ride. OG Ron C used to be a co C.E.O. of the Swishahouse but he split up with them also, and is now my official DJ. All my screwed versions will be done by him.
AllHipHop.com: What producers are you working with for the album?
Cham: I been in the studio with a lot of big producers, but it’s too early to say what will make the album.
AllHipHop.com: Last but not least, what do you want people to know about you that they don’t already?
Cham: I’m not just some rapper who talks big to tries to over-hype and exaggerate what I have done. Most of the rappers of today all have the same story, but I’m a new breed of MC with my own success story. No gimmicks, just good music. For more information you can check out my website www.chamillionaire.com.