With his new album, Ultimate Victory, freshly released to stores, Chamillionaire looks as if he might have caught a case of the sophomore slump. But he is quick to remind listeners that his last record took more than half a year to reach platinum status, so there’s no need to jump ship just yet. While out on the road promoting his latest effort, Chamillionaire caught up with Rap-Up.com to discuss his return to the hip-hop playing field. Here, he reveals the pressures he faced to create another “Ridin’,”Â his experience rapping alongside Slick Rick, and the price of fame. After all, in his words, “Fame can be a really powerful drug.”Â
Ultimate Victory debuted at #8 on The Billboard 200 selling 78,039 copies. Were you disappointed in the sales?
Of course they could be better. But I’m not going to give up on a project because of seven days of sales. My last album, I did good, but it took me a whole year to do that. I didn’t give up my first week, so it’s like I’m back to square one again and I’m trying to do the same thing as the last album by just working and going on the road.
What do you think is the reason for your sales?
It’s a combination of everything. Nowadays, even with all the top artists, it’s hard for people to sell. It’s downloading and all these different ways that people are getting music. Back in the day, you used to have a Discman or a Walkman and you would go buy a CD and that was it. Now, it’s iPhones, all these digital downloads… There’s so many ways to get music that we train these people to think they’re going to get it free. Now they’re just not paying for it.
What was it like working with Slick Rick on the first single, “Hip-Hop Police”Â?
Slick Rick was real cool, because he was one of the people I actually got to get into the studio with, and we talked about the state of hip-hop and how it’s changing. We just wanted to do a record that was a creative record, but at the same time, he wanted it to be him, and I could be me. And I feel like I wanted to tell a story on the record, and I was trying to find someone who would be a good storyteller that wasn’t on everybody’s record, and he was the perfect person.
“Industry Groupie”Â is the next single. Is it a concept record?
Yeah, it most definitely is. That record sounds like it’s about a girl, like you’re a groupie, but first of all, you’re high maintenance and I thought you were in love with me, but you weren’t, because you were letting all my homeboys sleep with you for free, so you must be a groupie. I’m shouting out all the homeboys in hip-hop that I feel that she’s messing with. And really I’m just talking about music, because music, I think, Kanye said you were a gold digger, and T-Pain said you were a stripper, just always talking about music. Music is just mine. I used to have an intimate relationship with music and then now, it’s just like letting anybody in.
You had so much success with “Ridin’.”Â Did you feel any pressure to make another record in the same way?
They sound kind of alike. Originally, when I did this record, it had a sample, and I was listening to the old Bone Thugs-N-Harmony record, and I had Krayzie Bone come back and remake one of their old songs, and it was the “Bill Collecta”Â song that they had. That was one of my favorite songs I was jamming when I was listening to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, but because of sample clearance issues, we had to change that. The label was trying to put the pressure on me to create another “Ridin’,”Â but I feel like another “Ridin’”Â should be another song to reinvent yourself. And all the big artists over the years, they have all different types of stuff. Like Kanye, his new record “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”Â or “Stronger”Â doesn’t sound like “Gold Digger.”Â That’s why I decided to go with “Industry Groupie”Â instead of that. Of course, the label wanted that one, but I liked “Industry Groupie”Â better.
You’re in the public eye a lot. Does that affect you when you see yourself portrayed in a certain way by the media?
To me, I’m still kind of getting used to it. They had a Forbes special and they put me on, and they talk about how much my earnings are on TV. Every time I see that, it’s hard for me to grasp it. I cannot believe people are throwing a show to talk about what I’m making, my life. It’s weird that there are people at home in the audience who really listen to it and really care.