After a ten-plus year drought, rapper Chingy is finally gearing up to release a new studio album.
The artist born Howard Bailey Jr. released his latest single “Can’t Blame Me” today, the first track to be featured on his forthcoming album Chinglish. The St. Louis native wrote the lyrics for the new song, which was produced by Fresco Kane and centers on the trials and tribulations of Chingy’s career. It’s a bouncy, classically Chingy track with an easy beat and smooth lyrics that keep the listener nodding along.
“I’m just talking about a lot of the things that happened in my life that hurt my career and a lot of people who were not as loyal as I thought,” Chingy tells RFT about the new track. “And then it comes to the point where I don’t mess with those people no more, so you can’t blame me.”
Chinglish is the rapper’s first studio album since 2010’s Success & Failure. According to Chingy, the album has been several years in the making and synthesizes a variety of styles, including his classic party music and his newer, mysticism-influenced lyrics and beats. In one song, Chingy says it’ll seem like he’s talking about a girl, but he’s actually referring to his “seven chakra system.”
Another one of the songs featured on Chinglish is called “Balling,” which doesn’t refer to balling in the materialistic sense but rather having an inner wisdom and spiritual currency. While he’s keeping some of the early 2000s hip-hop vibes of his earlier music, he’s creating new dimensions that develop his spiritual side.
“That’s gonna be a new side of me for people,” Chingy says. “It’s got elements like [my earlier music], but it’s a different sound.”
Chingy grew up in north St. Louis and has been writing songs since he was nine years old, producing them just a couple years later. As pre-pubescents, he and his friends would gather in one of their houses that had a studio set-up. He’d work on creating beats there, a practice that would eventually develop into his music career, including his work as a platinum-selling hip-hop artist and more recent role as a record producer for his own label, dubbed 369 Creative Mind Records.
The name “369” also takes spiritual meaning for Chingy. He likes finding connections with astrology and overlapping meaning, and through that, he explains how in numerology, his life path number is three, which “has to do with death of the old and birth of the new.” His children all contribute to this numerological meaning-making too, as his daughters were both born on the third and his sons were both born on the ninth, like Chingy.
“The numbers just all match up,” Chingy says.
He’s best known for his mainstream success on Jackpot, his debut 2003 album, featuring hit songs “Right Thurr,” “Holidae Inn” featuring Snoop Dogg and Ludacris, and “One Call Away” featuring J-Weav. More recently, Chingy’s single “Right Thurr” was featured in the opening scenes of Netflix’s 2021 film Don’t Look Up featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.
That track’s unique and St. Louis-specific pronunciation of the word “there” is another example of how Chinglish got its album name.
“We grew up to learn English. Well, I have a different type of terminology, so I just called it Chinglish,” Chingy says. "It’s the language of me, myself and I. My truth and my being.”
The full Chinglish album is due to drop at the beginning of 2023, which will mark the 20th anniversary of “Right Thurr,” Chingy’s biggest hit. The timing is one he says he couldn’t have planned better considering this new material deals with connecting to the past and future, all selves linked.
“If you appreciate me, you’re gonna appreciate this album,” Chingy says. “If you appreciate a different sound and growth, you’re gonna appreciate this album.”
Listen to the new single, "Can't Blame Me," below:
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