Artist: ChamillionaireTitle: Mixtape Messiah 2 (Mixtape)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Felipe Delerme
If the best revenge is living well, then hell hath no fury like a Chamillionaire scorned. Coming off of a platinum album, a slew of award nominations, record ringtone sales, a hit single about, of all things, racial profiling, and a landmark of pop-culture recognition; a Weird Al Yankovich song-parody, it's safe to say Chamillionaire is living pretty well. The Sound of Revenge indeed. But on his latest offering, Mixtape Messiah 2, available for free on his website, vengeance is the last thing on Cham's mind. The follow-up to 2004's breakout triple disc, MM2 further solidifies Cham's reputation as one of the new lyricists of the south.
Cham shines early on "Hip-Hop Warning," riding over the instrumental for Nas' "Hip Hop is Dead." Here he echoes the guy from Queens' charge of abandoning industry frivolousness, and renewing a focus on artistry and individuality, and just as importantly, shows that there are rappers from the South who weren't personally offended by Nas' album title. The "Show Me What You Got" freestyle is a return to form for Cham, whose originally verbose and abusive flow helped to separate him from the lethargic, codeine-influenced sound of so many other "Screwston," Texas alumni. "Get Your Umbrellas Out," thankfully not another ode to raining dollars, has Cham again sounding off on the state of Hip-Hop. "I use half of my mind capacity/Smarter, people just have to be/ Sarcastic critics ain't getting it if you laugh at me/I'm from the south where your mouth will make you a casualty/Criticizing me but you're snap dancing and Laffy T/...Anyone on the planet/I see you all doing that Joc dance damn-it!" "Roll Call Reloaded," spun over Bun B's "Get Throwed," manages to escape its own novelty by way of Cham's wildly accurate impersonations of all the major rappers in Houston.
Just as much a direct message to Hip-Hop itself as a display of raw ability, MM2 goes beyond the typical mixtape-as-a-highlight-reel formula, providing the listener an intimate look in the mind of Chamillionaire. On the tape's "outro," Cham advises that his next album, entitled Ultimate Victory, drops on March 27th, 2007. While we may have to wait until March at the earliest, victory has been Cham's for some time now.