"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chamillionaire - Ultimate Victory: Review

“Silly rappers think I’m worried about a punchline/I show more purpose than your whole career in one line” - Chamillionaire on “Morning News”/Line Of The Year

Hey, can you keep a secret? Shhh, but uh, you know, Chamillionaire, right? Well, uhh, it turns out he’s secretly a conscious rapper! Don’t tell anybody. Yeah, I know he’s from the South and raps about pimpin’ hoes and gettin’ money and shit but yeah, he’s actually a better conscious rapper than Common at this point. Yeah, I know, it’s blasphemy to suggest that so keep that shit on the low. I’ve got a reputation to uphold. But, uh...yeah, it’s true.

The focal point of Chamillionaire’s second solo album, The Ultimate Victory, centers around a two-song conceptual punch “The Morning News” and “The Evening News” in which Cham addresses a myriad of issues that plague society from everything from Palestinian/Israeli conflict, the media’s recent silence on Hurricane Katrina, the hypocrisy of the no snitching rule (“Would you tell me you sold out if I executed the no snitchin’ rule/it sounded like a good idea ‘til a murder happened to you”), Don Imus, and even good ol’ Osama Bin Laden. Cham’s witty one-liners are able to indict societal woes a whole lot more effectively than your typical conscious rappers hallow “I’m For The People” mantra.

Ultimate Victory is one of the best rap records (which isn't saying much but still...) to be released this year and of the one best lyrical performances from a Southern rapper in recent years. Cham employs a nimble 50 Cent-esque sing-song flow (although not nearly as lazy) that skates over the beat and is technically masterful. It’s thrilling to listen to Chamillionaire shred his verses over street bangers (Editor’s Note: Uhh, Did I actually just say “Street Banger”? I hate when people describe songs as “ street bangers”.) like “Standing Ovation” and “Come Back To The Streets.” The record establishes Cham as the one of the best southern lyricists outside of Andre 3000 and Bun B and the best young southern emcee working. (Yes, he’s better than Weezy and T.I. I give credit to people who actually have something important to say. Sue me. And he’s technically better than both.) The album starts strong with the “The Morning News/Hip Hop Police” combo and that slowly builds until it reaches a fever pitch around Pimp C assisted “Welcome To The South.” A song in which he both addresses the many critics of the South who claim that all rappers from the South are garbage and as well as addressing the many wack rappers from the South who are ruining the reputation of the South with its simplistic music. The production is a bass heavy trunk rattler the South is famous for and features Pimp C at his charismatic, ignorant glory. Its one of the highlights to the record.

Although, the record is at it’s heart politically and socially conscious, it’s also has its moment where it’s willfully goofy. “Industry Groupie” samples Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (Yes, everybody’s favorite arena rock classic) and is one the strangest songs you will hear all year. It plays like your stereotypical “I Ain’t Love No Hoes” jam if only interpreted by The GZA when he’s in his “Labels/Fame/Publicity” conceptual mode. Cham name checks every major rapper and their trademark phrases to insult a random groupie. The Europe sample is just so ridiculously good that this is the type of idea that Dipset should have done years ago. (Note: Of this song ever gets a video, I have the most perfect idea for the video. It involves Will Arnett, Gob from Arrested Development, playing Chamillionaire and dancing around a stage while Cham shows up dressing and imitating every major rapper in the world. Hit me up, Cham! I’m an aspiring music video director, too! We could win VMA's together!)

This album isn’t perfect by any means. The album does have many of the same flaws that plagued its predecessor, The Sound Of The Revenge. At times, the production can be un-inspired and treads in the cliches of your typical Southern production which is shame because Chamillionaire gives such a strong vocal production over the production. Personally, its still refreshing to hear a Southern rapper aspire to be lyrical and have something to same which really can’t be said for many of the Southern heavyweights outside of Andre 3000. Of the three huge rap records that are being released in the next upcoming weeks, this isn’t quite as good as Graduation but this eons better than Curtis. My advice is to buy Graduation on September 11th, save your money for a week and buy Ultimate Victory on the 17th and then break out your copy of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and get the same basic experience you would get if you actually bought Curtis. Trust me, you’ll be happier.


T.R.E.Y. said...

better than T.I. and Weezy? i dunno man. i heard the mixtape he dropped before this and he has some serious robot-flow issues. it kinda made me doubt the whole "best lyricist outta the South dude!!" hype -- although i guess dude could be a good lyricist who just raps in a real boring way.

but i dunno, maybe that was just one of his off days.

good review though.

DocZeus said...

Well, my thinking on the subject is that he's definitely a better lyricist than T.I. straight up and Weezy is just way too inconsistent for my tastes. As for Wayne, I mean Cham's never wack and you can't really say that about Weezy. Although, that doesn't necessarily make him a better rapper. There are lot components on what makes a good rapper. I do think T.I. and Wayne have better flow than he does and they certainly have made hotter music than him in the past. Although, I will say Ultimate Victory is a better album than T.I. Vs. T.I.P.

Still that being said none of those three are better than Bun B or Andre 3000 (and if and when Brad Jordan decides to "un-retire" Scarface as well.)

T.R.E.Y. said...

where'd you place T.I. vs T.I.P. in the grand scheme of Tip's albums? i think i've gotta be the only person in the world who likes it more than King, but damn if it doesn't seem like people think it's his WORST album. and to me it's easily better than either Urban Legend or Trap Muzik.

King vs. T.I. vs T.I.P. kinda makes me think of my experience with Hov's two Blueprints actually. both of 'em're great, but i feel like i'm takin' crazy pills on the latter. no Anchorman. although with T.I. i definitely like the latter more, where with Hov i can't always decide (BP2 has beats that blow away a bunch of the first one, but that one's more focused)

Daniel Krow said...

Good to hear someone is rapping about how ridiculous the whole "Stop Snitchin" thing has become. I mean, there is loyalty to friends and than there is Cam on 60 Minutes saying he wouldn't tell on a serial killer.

DocZeus said...

I can't really comment on where I would place T.I. vs. T.I.P. in his discography since I haven't heard I'm Serious or Trap Muzik (I know blasphemy!!!) but I will say I loved King last year and I can't say I was much of a T.I. fan before that.

And seriously? You would consider BP2 even in the same league as the first Blueprint? BP2 was just a disappointing snooze fest to me.

txcaddyking said...

Thanks for the review. It sounds like the verses are nice, but what about the hooks? I am getting tired of hearing Chamillionaire singing his own hooks. I am just waiting for him to beatbox a beat, rhyme over it and sing the hook. He needs something other than himself in the hook to break up the album. It worked more when he was with Paul Wall (CCC) because Paul was that contrast.

DocZeus said...


You know I kind of thought the same thing about the hooks on this album. He could use a bit more variety in that regard. I haven't heard "Get Your Mind Correct" but I heard its an underground classic. Can anybody speak on it?

brandon said...

Great review! That 'Final Countdown' beat sounds great and the Dipset connection apt. I recall somewhere reading that Cham is a devout Muslim and doesn't drink or smoke? Rappers say that and it's lip service (you're telling me Pharrell isn't smoking weed??) but it makes sense; Cham seems focused.

T.R.E.Y. said...

yeah i'll be honest, i only got into T.I. when King dropped haha. after i copped this new one though i figured i'd fill in the blanks of his back catalogue. except for I'm Serious, which is one of those records i'm kinda assuming flopped for a reason.

judging from his earlier records i think dude's gotten consistently better though. some people seem to love Trap Muzik cuz it's more "introspective" or what have ya, but some of the production there just sounds super-budget to me, and Tip ain't near as good of a rapper as he is now.

i really love most of the production on BP2, it was actually the final Hov album i got (before Kingdom Come) cuz of its negative reception, and i wished i'da got it sooner. actually, if it wasn't for the two Timbabortions in "What They Gonna Do" and "2 Many Hoes," i'd like pretty much every song there. it's weird too cuz other than that Tim always brings it for Hov. "The Bounce" is hot though.

i actually don't really find the album altogether different from the first one, except it's obviously less focused, and i guess there's more materialist Hov, which ain't necessarily a problem in my book.

DocZeus said...

Yeah, Cam'ron is somewhere sitting near a dirty pool in the suburbs and kicking himself for not thinking of using "Final Countdown" first and not snitching on the serial killer that lives next door.

Anonymous said...

Mayne how can u not mention my favorite song We Breakin UP!! Otehr than that good review