Going on the road with Nelly in 2002 paid tremendous dividends for Chingy, the newest member of Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace family. The St. Louis rapper studied Nelly's every move and learned the ins and outs of artist promotion. "I watched how everything goes," Chingy says. "From meet and greets, tour buses and backstage, I was new to all that."

Influenced by LL Cool J, Run DMC, DJ Quik, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Ludacris and others, Chingy quickly built a solid reputation in St. Louis and earned himself a slot opening for Nelly in 2002.

Now, Chingy is ready to put his experience to work with his explosive debut album entitled "Jackpot". A sizzling collection of celebratory selections that focus on having fun and beautiful women, "Chingy" is sure to get the party started.

Already enjoying radio and club play in Atlanta and St. Louis, single "Right Thurr" features Chingy rapping over a thick, percolating beat about the type of woman that will always catch a man's eye, even if he isn't looking. "Say you're riding, doing well and then you see a girl that blows your mind," he says. "You've got to have that 'Right Thurr.' You want to follow her."

Odds are, women will want to follow Chingy after hearing this addictive cut. "She threw it at me like a shortstop," Chingy boasts on the song, and with this type of hit to his credit, there's no reason why women wouldn't.

Chingy then teams with Murphy Lee of the St. Lunatics on "Sample Dat Ass," an irresistible club track with blips and stutter scratches that will have every dancefloor in a frenzy. The heavy bass and stuttery beat of "Hit the Club" works well with Chingy's festive lyrics about dancing and parties.

If Chingy sounds like a natural rhyming on these types of club cuts, it's because he enjoys being out and about, having fun. "I be clubbing and kicking it and that part of my personality just comes out when I'm making my music," he explains. "I'm a fun person. I try not to get down about things. That's why the club songs, you're going to get them a lot from me."

But Chingy knows that there's more to life than partying. To this end, he delivers "Let's Get Ends." Here, he retraces his steps as an aspiring rapper. Hip-hop fans will notice that the "Let's Get Ends" chorus plays off the chorus of Whodini's classic "Friends" singles, one of Chingy's favorite songs.

Elsewhere, Chingy teams up with Disturbing Tha Peace members I-20 and Titty Boy on the boast-heavy "Where You From" and shouts out virtually every major city in America on "Chingy Jackpot."

Regardless of topic, Chingy makes a point to keep his lyrics lively and relevant since he knows that good writing helps strong songs become hits. "I try to write clever," he says. "You've got to write clever in order to make sure everything flows from one sentence to the next."

As Chingy flows, it's the production work of Trak Starz that makes his music magical. Also from St. Louis, the Trak Starz were discovered by Disturbing Tha Peace executive Chaka Zulu. Even though Chingy and Trak Starz knew each other from the St. Louis hip-hop circuit, Zulu put them together officially and the results, as evidenced throughout "Chingy," are masterful.

"They're the best producers right now," Chingy says. "They're steaming hot and they've got a different sound. It's an edgy, rough, street calligraphy sound."

Growing up in St. Louis, Chingy saw plenty of edgy and rough situations. But, he chose not to dwell on the negative that sometimes greeted him in his native Walnut Park section of the North Side of St. Louis. Instead, Chingy maintained a deft balance of the streets and school before deciding to dedicate himself to rapping.

By the time he was 8, Chingy was a mainstay in St. Louis recording studios. Recording came naturally to Chingy, a life-long music fan. "I love the sound of music," he says. "I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations. Music made me think, and party. I wanted to express myself like those artists were. Talking on a record sounded like a good idea to me."

Even though Chingy knew he wanted to be a rapper, he had a hard time deciding on his stage name. Thugsy and H Thugs were his original choices, but he had second thoughts. "I didn't want to be known as a thug," he says. "My friends would say that Chingy had a nice ring to it."

So does his music.

 

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