In 2009, Chingy was clinging to the final vestiges of what was once a chart-topping career; his fourth album, Hate It Or Love It, became his first since his 2003 debut Jackpot to not break into the Billboard 200 Top 10 albums chart, and it wasn't even close. It had been six years since "Right Thurr" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. His form of poppy, carefree, dance-oriented hip-hop was firmly on its way out the door, and in an industry where five years can be an entire lifetime, it seemed like Chingy's time was up.

But he wasn't done yet; he still had a record deal with DTP/Def Jam, still had a deep connection to his Midwestern roots, and still had his heart in the music game at the time. But then came the false accusations that he'd had a continuous sexual relationship with a transgendered fan, and all of a sudden Chingy found himself without a record deal and without anyone who would return his calls within the music industry. Almost overnight, it seemed as if whatever carpet he had left within the mainstream had been pulled out from beneath him. Dropped from his label, shunted out of the spotlight, Chingy retreated from the business for nearly five years, trying to recover from the rumors and put things back on a positive track. But we'll let him tell the rest of the story.

Chingy: "Do I think like I got blackballed by the industry with the rumors? I certainly do think I got blackballed by the industry with the rumors, man. You know, I've never done anything to anybody in this industry to make them wanna show so much hate towards me like that. And those rumors... It's one thing when you have a well-groomed young man whose been successful, whose doing big things and doing what they love to do, they out there in the world and you see them doing No. 1 videos, spinning on the radio daily, this and that—there's one thing that can tear that down, and it's when rumors circulate when you call someone like that gay or said they had interactions with transvestite-type people. You could tarnish someone's image, you could sabotage someone's career by doing that.

"And you know, it's weird, especially like I said if you're a decent-looking young man. So I noticed years ago, when those rumors circulated, whoever put those rumors out and tried that, that's what they tried to do. And I feel like, yeah, they did blackball me, and they did sabotage my career in a way. And the people allowed it, and it was allowed with no evidence or anything; a person just said something out of their mouth, that's crazy. And those were the consequences. I took all the negativity from the situation, and people... And you know what the weird part is? Throughout that process, while people kept wanting to interview that person who lied, nobody ever said, 'You know what? Hold up. Let's talk to Chingy.' How can you have a one-sided story without talking to the source of who the people lying on? That proved to me that people wanted it to be true. 'Cause nobody—well, a couple people, and when I say a couple, it was a couple—people talked to me. But the way they blew it out of proportion on the Internet and in the media, it was crazy.

"And it's sad, because it will make you not want to take pictures with fans. It all stemmed from a picture that I took with a person who had said they were a fan. But I put it in the past, man, because like I said, that'll never be me. I'm not that type of person, that'll never be me, and I just put it in the past. It's worthless to me. It's beneath me now. Of course stuff like that bothered me—whose not gonna be bothered by somebody putting something out there about them that's not true? Especially when it's getting so much attention?—here you are walking around and these people lied at you, and you know it ain't true, but there's people all around the world that are taking to it. It's just stupid. It's just stupid, man, it's ignorant, it's stupid, but it's in the past. I'm moving forward, I'm working, I got a new single called 'Damn Girl' that we sent to radio a couple weeks ago that's doing very well, and we're still building on it.

"One thing; I get a lot of people that are like, 'Where you been at? Whatchu been doin'?' Well, there was once upon a time when I just got tired of this industry, and I personally just didn't care about anything, because it just became a headache. Dealing with personal stuff, family, dealing with this industry, it can be such a fake business. It can be such a fake business. Everybody wants to be on top, everybody wants to be the big boss, the CEO, everybody wants to be famous, everybody wants to be above the next person. And it can all just get so irritating, and make you wanna say, you know what? Let me fall back for a minute and get back to my personal life and just chill out and have some fun. And do some normal things and let this breathe for a minute, you know what I'm saying? Because it can be an irritating headache. So at one point in my career, I did that, I did back off. But I love music. I wouldn't have these big-ass Treble clefs music notes on my forearm if I didn't." —As told to Dan Rys