Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and, sometimes awkwardly, tie it to a bit of Houston rap. It's five videos and occasional cussing. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For some reason, there was this kid that we went to middle school with who, despite only having said about four words to him ever, we never forgot.
He was a burly, hard-looking kid named Detective Torres. Actually, his name was Jesse Torres, but everyone called him Detective Torres on account of his superb ability to sniff out guilty parties during Heads-Up, Seven-Up.
It really was uncanny. It was like he was looking right into your subconscious when he focused in on you. Rumor had it that he didn't have to study because he could just peer at test questions until the right answers stepped forward, although that was never substantiated.
At any rate, as middle school progressed, the other thing Detective Torres became associated with was consistency. He was like a rock. He never seemed too high or too low. His grades weren't superb, but they weren't near the bottom, either. Everything about him was unwaveringly middling. If the 682 kids at that school were ranked on an average of every category possible, we're certain Torres would've been found firmly at No. 341. It's exactly the same way we feel about Chamillionaire.
We mean, yeah, he won a Grammy in '07 with "Ridin'," and we were exceptionally proud of that moment, but ask "Does he make you feel anything when you hear him rap?" and he usually falls flat. He's a good lyricist - better than Mr. Jones and Mr. Wall, certainly - but not great. His tracks can occasionally call forth a tiny bit of fury, but he's far from the bellowing grumble of the Mo City Don. He's occasionally self-aware, but not on that Devin The Dude level. Hell, he probably shoots 50 percent from the free throw line.
Mind you, there's a certain comfort in reliability, so Chamillionaire's consistency can be viewed as an asset too. Technically, we haven't yet heard his forthcoming album, Venom
, but we've heard it: thick bass lines, an assured buzziness, nothing too explicit, a wayward love song, a possible potshot at someone or some music company, etc. It'll be good, solid stuff that you'll be able to listen to for a few weeks.
And now that we're all lathered up and ready to hear Chamillionaire's fuzzy monotone chat, here are your videos:
"Hip Hop Police":
This is a kind of cool song, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that Devin The Dude had a very similar, slightly better song a few years ago, with the same dueling Cop. Vs. Rapper verses. On another note, doesn't Cham make a terrible-looking white man?
"Swagger Like Us Remix": Chamillionaire: 1
Jay-Z, T.I., Lil' Wayne, Kanye: 0
Asher Roth's "I Love College (Remix)":
We're quickly growing tired of young Mr. Roth, but we do like Cham's contribution here, particularly the melody. And it's always nice to see Cham get down with a white rapper that isn't Paul Wall. Zing.
"Rock Star": A lot of times, the rap-rock amalgam comes off corny and overdone, but this lite version is kinda fly. Plus, it gets bonus points for having a totally singable chorus, as well as hinting at the soon-to-be-fabled Lil' Wayne rock album.
"Grown and Sexy":
Note: Despite how well it apparently worked out for Cham, we can not cosign that telling a girl that she looks better from behind is a good idea. Also, which branch of government is in charge of the Chamilitary? Executive?
"Internet Nerds Revenge": :p We've been pwned, we suppose. This is a very, very smart song. (The smartest in Chamillionaire's Internet series
, anyway.) It's easily our favorite Cham effort of all time. You kinda wish that he'd approach every song with this same purpose. It suits him very well, and makes him immensely more re-playable.
Thanks for your support. Have a good weekend.