chingy.jpgChingy may have hit the Jackpot in 2003 with his multiplatinum debut, but in the wake of his departure from Ludacris’ camp, the Midwest upstart saw his lackluster follow-up, Powerballin’, crap out with fans. Hoping that lady luck is still on his side, the St. Louis native rolls the dice for a third time with Hoodstar.

Whether it’s dealing with a drama-filled relationship on the Tyrese-featured “Pullin’ Me Back” or spittin’ game on the Jermaine Dupri–produced “Dem Jeans,” Chingy makes no apologies about revisiting the ballerific formula that brought him success in the past. In fact, on “Nike Aurr’s & Crispy Tee’s,” he spits, “You can catch me in the Benz or the Maybach/Gettin’ head, blown good, sittin’ way back/You can hate, my pockets stay fat.”

Chingy’s Casanova persona can only get him but so far. The self-proclaimed “King of the Midwest” goes bust with limp strip club anthems like “Bounce That” and “Ass N Da Aurr,” which both suffer from juvenile booty banter. Even capable producers like Mr. Collipark (“U A Freak [Nasty Girl]”) and Timbaland (“Let Me Luv U”) fail to inspire much more than a few hollow bars from Ching-a-Ling.

While he fares better alongside Three 6 Mafia on the raucous 808 bounce track “Club Gettin’ Crowded,” it’s not until Chingy takes it outside the club that his musical misfortunes take a turn for the better. On the Poli Paul–helmed “Cadillac Door,” the 26-year-old chronicles his rise from the streets of the Lou to platinum success with intense passion (“See, now that I’m on, people think money make you proud/But I been strugglin’ tryna come up since I was a child/Who are you to judge me for my sins and what I did wrong?/I’m tryin’ to live, don’t want my mama singin’ that sad song”). Although Chingy isn't ready to cash out just yet, Hoodstar, is another losing hand.—MICHAEL HARRIS
86cover.jpgRead the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the
November 2006 issue (#86)