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Trawling through my iTunes the other day, I came across the vast collection of mixtapes and albums that I have amassed over the years by Houston’s own Chamillionaire. 

I’ve always been a fan of Cham, his style of rap and flow was easy to get along with and his beat selection for the most part was spot in my books and when Ridin’ Dirty came along the potential for rap superstardom was clear with a catchy song that was not what one would consider a ‘ringtone rap’ in the fact that lyrically it was quite good, even though ironically it was the ringtone arena that it set ablaze. From thereafter the Mixtape Messiah series blossomed and fans were fed with new music regularly all of which, in my books, were great to listen to apart from a couple of the latter versions before Ultimate Victory came along and the sophomore jinx hit again. 

For me, Ultimate Victory was one of the most underrated albums of the year, full of potential hits but ultimately unable to deliver commercially with lacklustre sales and the superb Hip Hop Police unable to make a large splash. Perhaps it was his insistence on bringing this point out and maintaining consistency as opposed to suddenly changing directions to one of the more radio friendly tracks on his album. Perhaps it was the lack of marketing, dwindling industry sales as a whole or a perception by some that by not cursing he was somehow going ‘soft’ or ‘kiddy’. Ultimately though it was perhaps Ridin’s success that may have inadvertently labelled him a ‘ringtone rapper’ that ultimately leads people to forget after the first hit.

This is a shame because Chamillionaire as an artist produces music of higher quality than many major rappers these days with the ability to make something catchy without selling out and dumbing down. This has led him to have somewhat of a cult following always making the point of his artistry. Check out XXLmag.com for their review on Ultimate Victory and the comments that followed to see this. 

This is probably why Venom has been delayed so long and the desire to find a hit may be proving difficult. And with the latest free releases he has brought out lately it’s clear the potential is there it just needs to spark greater attention. 

I hope there’s not much longer to wait but for now I’ll turn to Bun B’s new album for the South’s latest offering.