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.
Say what you will about Chamillionaire's occasionally irritable nature, but the man is a great marketer.
For those of you who don't feel the (sad) need to watch, chronicle and rank the moves of every Houston rapper and their inevitable pop-culture significance relative to our city, Cham effectively held everyone hostage by refusing to drop his latest mixtape, Mixtape Messiah 7, until he was one of the top trending topics on Twitter. And what's more, it actually worked. A little after 11 p.m. on Tuesday "#chamillionaire" was ranked No. 2 among trending topics. Wednesday night he made it into the top five, so bravo to him (and his quick-fingered publicist Nancy Byron).
The immediate reaction to MM7 among Cham's fans has been that it's great, but there's an obvious "swell factor" that needs to be taken into account when judging its quality. See, Cham has two big things working in his favor...
1. He let everyone know in advance that MM7 would be the final chapter of the five-year-old Messiah series. It's arguably one of the most recognizable mixtape series in the country. And now it's over. Even measured alone, that's a very important happening.
2. With his Twitter campaign, he made his fans feel like they played an actual part in the release of the album. Remember when Stromile Swift played for the Rockets? We used to rag on him every chance we could, but one time after a game while he was walking into the player tunnel we caught his attention by hollering something nice about LSU, and he smiled and tossed us his sweaty headband. We immediately loved him. Chamillionaire basically threw a sweaty headband to thousands of people at once. That's a powerful move.
That said, MM7 is very good. It's not the best of the series, which is what some may argue now but, mark our words, that won't be the case over the time. But it does rank in the top three, behind MM1 and possibly battling MM4 for the No. 2 spot. As it stands now, these are the five best songs from the first two discs. Apparently, there are two more discs to be released, but we wouldn't be surprised if they were both just Screwed versions of the first two.
"Best She Ever Had": He flat-out destroyed this. One of the reasons that the Messiah series has been so successful has been because of his ability to adapt hit singles to his own flavor. There was always a legitimate buzz surrounding which samples would be used. Sadly, he explained the new mixtape series would be devoid of that.
"Just Smile": Nice Scarface impression, Cham.
"Internet Thugs Attack": The Internet-themed tracks have been like a series within a series on the Messiah tapes, and this is probably the most listenable of all of them. Fingers crossed that he's able to come up with a quality replacement.
"How We Do It": This is our sleeper pick for "Song That Will Have a Piece Of the Rap Used As a Chorus In At Least Four Other Mixtapes Within the Next Two Years." It doesn't just blow you away, but it feels personal, and sometimes that's really all you need to make a good song.
"Gucci & Fendi": This is a perfect mixtape track. That's really the only way to describe it. And we don't know if he did this on purpose or not, but it's a nice closing of the circle when he makes that Coming To America "royal penis" joke, which he did on the very first Mixtape Messiah.
Have a safe weekend.