Chingy

Powerballin'

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Delivered a little over a year after his multi-platinum debut, Powerballin' initially comes across as a futile attempt to position Chingy closer to the street and further away from pop. However, it eventually becomes apparent that the album is not much different in scope from Jackpot. Apart from further emphasis on fame and riches -- as indicated in the addition one more vehicle, three women, and a lot more jewelry on the otherwise similar cover -- what separates this from the debut is the high number of deflated hooks. So, in effect, it seems less pop-oriented. The Trak Starz are on board again, but they share a good amount of the production duties with a couple newcomers. David Banner produces and Nate Dogg assists on "All the Way to St. Lou," unsurprisingly one of the best tracks on the album. Most of the other guest spots are for naught, including a sleepwalking Janet Jackson appearance on "Don't Worry." Chingy does little to help his own cause, improving little -- if at all -- as an MC. One moment in "Balla Baby," the lead single that isn't half as sharp or excessively fun as "Right Thurr," takes the cake as the dumbest rhyme in a 2004 hit: "I like 'em black, white, Puerto Rican or Haitian, Japanese, Chinese or even Asian." This, admittedly, is almost evened out by a so-bad-it's-good line in "Leave Wit Me," an otherwise flaccid R. Kelly collaboration that recycles "Holidae Inn" and Cassidy's "Hotel" for the umpteenth time: "Outside I got a fly drop/You hungry?/Round your girls up and we can all go to IHOP." Jackpot is superior in every aspect, indicating that Chingy's cannon-shot success left him too self-satisfied and complacent. Powerballin' also sounds rushed, which could be chalked up to striking while the iron's hot. In Chingy's case, a subpar 2004 follow-up would surely fare better commercially than a polished 2006 follow-up.

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