Year of the Underdog
Go back to all the websites and magazines that did one of those next-to-blow type lists for 2006. If any of those lists mentioned Chamillionaire, the staff had a psychic on hand because aside from his entourage, no one (not even KING, damn you Papoose!) believed the Houston rapper would have 2006 on lock like this. "Some people at my label probably didn't even think I was gonna do [well],â€ admits the man born Hakeem Seriki. "People never remember the humble guy.â€
Surprisingly, Chamillionaire remains both hungry and humble even though he has the right to bragging rights for the next year. His debut album, The Sound of Revenge went platinum, and the album's lead single "Ridin' Dirtyâ€ was what the kids call a crossover hit. KING-Mag.com sat down with Chamillionaire the day after he received word of two Grammy nominations and asked him to reflect on his breakout year.
On Weird Al Yankovich's remake of "Ridin' Dirtyâ€ entitled, "White and Nerdyâ€
I couldn't believe he was going to rewrite my song. A lot of rappers in the past might've gotten mad because Weird Al does that and they feel like he might be making fun of them, but they showed respect. The deal that they came with was good. I realized I was going to make money off this. The record was already big, and had done what it's gonna do and he's going to come after it and give it an extended life. We were like, "Yeah let's go ahead and do it.â€ Now I got like grandmothers and all types of people, probably never knew who Chamillionaire was, coming up to me.
White and Nerdy Video
On Weird Al's skills as a rapper
When I heard it, I was like, Man who wrote this for him? And they said, "Al wrote it.â€ He knows everything the nerds like, so he definitely did a good job. He was spitting, especially when he got to Krayzie Bone's part. Then I seen the video, and he's jumping around the video looking just like me. I'm like, Man, this is freaking crazy. Yo see that, to see Weird Al jumping around, mimicking to be Chamillionaires, that's really crazy.
On the popularity of "Ridin' Dirtyâ€
Everywhere I was going it was playing over and over. Some places it was playing and I was getting tired of it, like L.A. man it was just playing so much. I was going to New York and I was hearing it on the radio. It was playing in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, that's when I was like okay, this record's taking off. I was glad it blew because it's actually saying something, and it's actually a cotton candy version of the past. You know, there's like, [Ice-T's] "Cop Killerâ€, and Public Enemy, all kinds of crazy songs. It was a commercialized version of all that. A lot of people don't even realizeâ€¦I've had to go shows and I have to be like, "I know â€˜Ridin' Dirty' is a song and everything like that, but there's a message behind that: Listen, don't get out there acting crazy.â€
On police brutality
I can tell you all kind of situations a cop pulled me in a car, told me I had warrants, taken me to jail, make me pay him to get out of the car. A lot of situationsâ€¦where they put me on the floor and stepped on top of my face and pushing my face through the concrete because they thought I stole my own car. The police are just watching us.
On why he chose a black actor to play the role of a cop in the "Ridin' Dirtyâ€ video
I definitely made sure the cop was going to be a black cop. I knew where I wanted the record to go, and a lot of times, some people make conscious records, but when they make them they don't get the job accomplished because it's too much. So you don't want it to be a situation like that. I'm not just saying it's white cops harassing us, it's racial profiling or something. People automatically stereotype you off your image [and] with police it's a fact.
Ridin' Dirty Video
On rap beef and being a conscious rapper
Everybody's real cool, everybody's beefing until someone gets shot, then everybody for 10 seconds is all sad and you know, we need to stop this violence, we need to do this, and we need to do better. Then, the next thing I know, everybody is back to doing what they were doing before, and it's the same thing. These people are just watching us, just waiting for us to self-destruct and we over here beefing over some dumb stuff. So people really need to be more conscious about a lot of stuff â€“ politics, and stuff in general.
On the importance of ring tone deals
That's the new hustle, honestly. They told me in history, no rapper has ever had one song sell 3.2 million ring tones. The plaques they made for me, they were like, "We are going to model everyone's plaque after yoursâ€. They say the music industry is going down, and record sales aren't selling like they used to, but one thing's for sure, if you gotta hot record, you can sell a lot of ring tones. Artists can have a life on a ring tone. That's a big part of the industry, so you got to make sure and go in there and get a good part of that ring tone deal.
On his verse to the Game's "One Bloodâ€ remix
When I said that on that record, I was basically saying, I take stuff in my own hands. I'm not sitting here crying about nothing. Nobody gotta give me nothing, nobody gotta give me no props, regardless. I'm not one of these people that cry because the game don't give me no props. I'm not talking about game the rapper, but the rap game. I'm gonna get mine.
On the title of his sophomore LP, Ultimate Victory
You gotta realize what Ultimate Victory means. At the end of the day, you can be one of the most successful people and not even enjoy life, so what's the real victory, did you win?. I remember when I used to be fighting to get the biggest chain, the biggest rim, and now that I got the money to do all that stuff, I'm like man, it just seems silly to me. Once you start looking at life in a different way, then you really win. That's what the album title means. They'll figure it out when they get the album.
On why he is updating his website, Chamillionaire.com, which will have a free mixtape available for download
People now are even saying the hip-hop world has turned into a digital world â€“ digitial downloads and ringtones, all that. A lot of the rumors on radio, I be listening to the radio in Houston, and they be saying stuff and I be like, Man they get this straight off whatever website. That's where a lot of information is coming from. You're not going to be able to beat it, you can't beat it, join it. Find a way to make it work for you. I call that power.
On the sophomore jinx and how to overcome it
It's scary, today I don't have that chip. I had so many doubters and haters, against me that's what really forced me to work when I was even too tired to work. But this time there's seems like a lot of love coming my way, so I might need some more haters so it will make me go out there and work a little bit harder. I'm going to do it anyway.