On this day, July 15, in hip-hop…
2003: In the midst of the Midwest revival, Chingy was ready to up the ante to solidify St. Louis’s place in hip-hop. With his catchy hooks and colorful persona, it is safe to say that Chingy belonged as a formidable opponent to Nelly’s comfortable seat as St. Louis’s golden child.
The intense grind that Chingy endured, the sleepless nights, and the struggle to create his own identity was defined with this particular moment on July 15, 2003. Chingy released his highly anticipated rookie album Jackpot and has never looked back. Part of DTP’s (Ludacris’s Disturbing The Peace) label, Chingy was a multifaceted artist that refreshed the culture and ignited a firestorm of hits. 2003 was a colorful time in hip-hop where grills and tall tees reigned as the culture’s fashion statement, and Chingy’s smash single “Right Thurr” played in every nightclub from suburbia to the ghetto, and slurred the vernacular of hip hop’s mainstream.
This added diversity helped hip hop relinquish its inherent insecurity, and made the youth dance again. His heartfelt “One Call Away” reiterated that notion, and even reinvigorated “Rudy Huxtable’s” career with her scantily clad appearance. With producers such as DJ Quick and Trak Starz, there’s no wonder as to why Jackpot went on to sell 157,000 copies its first week and eventually selling more than 2.7 million units in the US. 2003 was defined by Chingy’s rookie album and St. Louis was again recognized as an epicenter for musical glory.—Brandon Matthews