Too much skeet, skeet over thurr

As Chingy's Hoodstar begins by stating, "Here comes the king of the Midwest scene," I could only assume he said this because he saw the king approaching and wanted to let us know.

He doesn't specify who this approaching royalty is: Nelly, Kanye West or maybe an aspiring Lupe Fiasco. And then, to my great dismay, I realized he was referring to himself, and I was underwhelmed.

It's possible this mistake occurred because Chingy literally mistook himself for Nelly. The two seem to share a love for the letter "R" and an inability to go 30 seconds without shouting out "The Lou."

And for a rapper whose biggest knock in the industry has always been that he is just a second-rate clone of Nelly, he does nothing to distance himself from those accusations on this album with tracks such as "Nike Aurr's & Crispy Tee's" and "Ass N Da Aurr."

The album does have a few glimmers — unfortunately, none of them actually involve Chingy. The single "Pullin' Me Back" features an impressive chorus sung by R&B crooner Tyrese. The track hints at the possibility for a deeper, more refined Chingy who deals with themes of relationship intimacy. But ultimately, he comes up short as his verses come across as materialistic and self-absorbed.

Another highpoint of Hoodstar is the production. The album serves as a who's who of Southern rap producers and is highlighted by Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri on both current singles, Three 6 Mafia and impressive newcomer Poli Paul.

Poli Paul produces "Cadillac Door," the lyrical highpoint of the album. The track personifies the everyday struggles of growing up in the projects. And the Three 6 crew lends both production and vocal help on the hypnotic club track "Club Gettin' Crowded."

But the overlying themes of materialism and misogyny and the potential for so many tracks from this album to be future strip-club anthems really overrides any redeeming qualities the album displays. The demeaning comes full throttle on "Let Me Love U," a track where "Ching-a-ling" drops some knowledge on his club research that sometimes you "ain't even gotta say nothing to a girl, she just gonna give it to ya."

Call me a feminist, but I just don't think telling a girl to "Call me Mr. Miyagi, cuz that ass I'm gonna be waxing" is really the key to her heart. In fact, I would assume that line puts as much of a lockdown on the fun parts as admitting that you're actually a Level 5 Dungeon Master.

The wooing continues as Chingy describes this girl who has caught his eye in the club: "I can't stop staring. Damn, she got ass and things." We can only assume the things Chingy alludes to here are personality and a juicy set of morals.

And the materialism is enough to make Sam Walton proud. There are two songs that reference buying new shoes in their title ("Brand New Kicks" and "Nike Aurr's & Crispy Tee's"), and Grey Goose Vodka gets referenced so often you would think he was rapping on commission.

But the heart of this album seems to be the philosophical questions it suggests. On "U a Freak (Nasty Girl)," Chingy confesses that "Clap clap skeet skeet ... is all I really wanna do, but she don't come cheap." I think this brings about the question on all of our minds. What a playa gotta do these days to get some free skeet-age?


Artist: Chingy
Album: Hoodstar
Release Date: Sept. 19
Record Label: Capitol
Most Listenworthy Track: 'Cadillac Door'
Reviewer's Rating: 1.5 out of 5Ms

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