Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Unless you were on a different planet 2 year’s ago, you’ll remember that Chingy’s ‘Right Thurr’ was one of the jams of the summer. You’ll also know that the track seemed to explode onto the scene from nowhere catapulting the relatively unknown St. Louis native to instant stardom. Of course the catchy hook was gonna mean this song sold out the ass, and coupled with his membership of Ludacris’ Disturbin’ Tha Peace crew, it seemed obvious that big sales of the single and big requests for the video, would easily translate into mega numbers for the album.
However, nothing is ever set in stone. You may be aware that after the platinum success of Luda’s 2nd Def Jam album “Word Of Mouf”, the stage was set for the DTP crew to ride his coat-tails and do their own big numbers with “Against The Grain”. But the lack of a strong single meant that the album stuttered badly and faded away quickly despite the presence of the charismatic Luda all over it.
Obviously a lesson was learned and the smokin’ lead single off here is the result – and sales are looking good. But is the rest of the album worth a look?
Opening cut, ‘He’s Herre’ certainly suggests that Chingy ain’t a flash in the pan. This, like all but one of 17 cuts on “Jackpot” is produced by in-house production team Trak Starz, and follows the same formula as ‘Right Thurr’ – bouncy beats, a catchy hook, and Chingy’s southern drawl always riding the beat lovely, although not really saying anything of substance.The fact that the same producers do similar things throughout the album makes it hard to describe the differences in tracks – almost every one bangs in the ride, and has a can’t-get-it-out-your-head hook, while falling into two camps – the quicker thumpers like ‘Right Thurr’ and the like, and the slowed down pimped out cuts like 2nd single ‘Holidae Inn’. I ain’t lying – ‘He’s Herre’, ‘Represent’ (where Chingy trades rhymes with DTP posse members Tity-Boi and I-20), ‘Gettin’ It’, and Quiksta-produced ‘Bagg It’ all sit comfortably in the first category. Likewise, ‘Sample Dat Ass’ with Murphy Lee, ‘Juice’, and ‘Madd @ Me’ all rub shoulders with the slowed down thump of the Snoop and Luda-featuring ‘Holidae Inn’.
Like I said – this ain’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s no denying that taken on its own merits each song does what its intended to do – the beats bang and the sing-along hooks make the shit instantly attractive. However because of the similarities in tracks throughout its often hard to distinguish when one track ends and the next begins.
Its when Chingy momentarily steps away from the ‘formula’ that things become really interesting. The EXTREMELY chilled out ‘Wurr’s My Cash’ and ‘One Call Away’ which retains a nice rugged edge despite being one of the most radio-friendly singles on the album, are two of the standout examples. On the former, the beat slows way down, smoothes out, and let’s Chingy get into some standard pimp talk : the beat covers up any slips into already-done land – the shit is mellowed out heat. ‘One Call Away’ meanwhile features J/Weav on the r’n’b-tinged hook as Chingy demonstrates how he’ll always be there for that special woman in his life. Both the beats step away from the standard running-plan, and ultimately serve to break up the it-all-sounds-the-same-feeling.
Lets get it straight – Chingy ain’t bringing nothing new to the table. He’s working a popular formula almost to the point of exhaustion, but somehow he does just enough to deflect the charges of MC-Hammerdom. This particular formula works : and Chingy is pimpin’ it. And you know what? If the music sounds THIS good, then why shouldn’t he? I don’t think he’s gonna be around forever, but with this album he’s definitely provided a decent way to pass an hour, and it does have a certain repeatability factor. So yeah : if commercial Southern stuff is your bag, then you may just be interested in hitting the “Jackpot”.