By Melinda Cooper
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If you're not in the habit of listening to commercial hip-hop radio, you seldom watch MTV or BET, you don't patronize strip clubs and you don't keep up with the Billboard charts, it's entirely plausible that you don't have the slightest idea who Chingy is. Not yet, anyway. According to the July 12 issue of Billboard, the 23-year-old Walnut Park native has the No. 2 single on the Hot Rap Tracks chart, the No. 5 single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, the No. 3 single on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart and the No. 9 song on the Hot 100 chart; it has also earned the industry rag's coveted "Greatest Gainer/Sales & Airplay" tag. The song, of course, is "Right Thurr," and it's the lead single for Chingy's new full-length CD, Jackpot, which dropped July 15 on Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace imprint (a division of Priority, which is a division of Capitol).
Because of massive prerelease orders, Jackpot is said to have "shipped gold," which means, theoretically anyway, that 500,000 copies were sold before they even hit the stores. Of course, this designation is essentially meaningless: Legend has it that Lou Reed's most abrasive aural fuck-you to the record industry, his notorious Metal Machine Music, also shipped gold; the label sent the necessary quantities to the record stores along with return authorizations, allowing store employees to take the boxes off the truck, place them in the receiving area, sign the RA and then load 'em right back on the truck, which is, of course, exactly what they did. But it's a pretty safe bet that Jackpot, which doesn't offer much in the way of Reedian screech-and-scrape, is gonna hit the, uh, jackpot. Even if you try to remain unsullied by all things pop, chances are good that you've heard "Right Thurr" rumbling and thudding at intersections; it has been getting a ton of airplay on Q95.5 and 100.3 The Beat for several months now. The video, wherein Chingy, his white-hot producers Trak Starz and their mentor Ludacris mentally undress female passersby, is in heavy rotation on BET and MTV. Last week a new video for the remix was shot in Atlanta, with appearances by guest stars Jermaine Dupri and Trina (she of the prodigious rump).
You can practically hear Larry Conners intone, "Could Chingy be the next Nelly?" Probably not, Larry, but he's still likely to get awfully famous awfully fast. Radar Station's been a hopeless fan for what seems like centuries now. Although the song takes sexual objectification to unprecedented heights, only a bloodless drone of the Andrea Dworkin variety could resist its sheer horndog exuberance. Like all the best Stupid Sex Songs, "Right Thurr" is both ridiculous and sublime; it doesn't catch the ear so much as grope it. All grimy, libidinous bounce and bump, the single was, at least according to one insider, first marketed to strip clubs. If this is true, the strategy was pure genius -- with lyrics like "Switch your hips when you're walkin', let down your hair/Lick your lips when you're talkin', that make me stare," it practically tells the pole-dancer what she should do, rather like a nasty version of the "Hokey-Pokey."
Radar Station has been trying for months to interview the rapper, through his and the Trak Starz's various publicists, only to be politely blown off. A source close to the stars told us, in strictest confidence, that they were "skurred" of us. Although Radar Station is undeniably terrifying (just ask Somnia!), how could anyone in the Chingy camp be privy to our terrible career-ending powers? In any case, we told everyone involved that we sincerely love the everlovin' crap out of Chingy and are perfectly willing to go all swoony and Tiger Beat on his high-yaller ass. We truly do want to know his favorite color, the kind of girl he'd like to bring on his ultimate dream date (actually, "Right Thurr" describes her precisely -- think Pocahontas twurking in a fatty-girl halter top) and the exact quality of the loneliness that lurks deep inside his secret heart.
Chingy's handlers apparently aren't buying it: Although they assured us, right up to deadline, that they were "working on it," they haven't hooked us up with Chingy. Lest you think we're whining, bear in mind that getting actual face time with Nelly after he'd already sold eight million records was easier than getting Chingy on the telephone, but, hey, we're willing to abase ourselves as much as necessary, even if it means staking out record-store signings and bribing his hangers-on. Chingy, if you're reading this, contact Radar Station at your earliest convenience: Inquiring minds need to know what, exactly, a "fatty-girl halter top" is and where we can purchase one.