The Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices isn’t the only undisclosed formula from the South that people have been trying to figure out. For the latter half of the decade, our neighbors from down below have successfully taken Hip-Hop and nurtured it as their own; creating a Hip-Hop confederacy if you will.
For the skeptics who don’t believe that the genre is not filled with Southern Hospitality, they’re sadly mistaken.
As they continue to reap the benefits by virtually showing the world why they should’ve been taken more seriously from the beginning, one of their brothers from the Houston chapter is getting ready to make sure Hip-Hop stays right where it is indefinitely.
29-year-old Hakeem “Chamillionaire” Seriki first came onto the scene with the success of his Grammy Award winning song ‘Ridin,’’ from his platinum-selling debut The Sound Of Revenge, but as a true artist, he refuses to let one tune define his whole career.
Since then, he released his second opus titled Ultimate Victory, not to mention the steady volume of mixtapes from his Mixtape Messiah series.
Next up for the H-Town representative is his trifecta aptly named Venom, but before then, you’ll be able to still following his teachings through Mixtape Messiah 6; so be sure to heed his words and take praise.
iHipHop.com: What can people expect to hear from Mixtape Messiah 6?
Chamillionaire: Well on each one, I kind of like switched them up a little bit. I had the role call version on volume where I was imitating other rappers, and then I stopped doing that and got into some Internet tracks where I was just giving the fans some creative content. But on this one, it’s kind of just me spitting on beats and I have people featured on there like Crooked I, Lil Keke, Lil Flip, the Boss Hogg Outlawz, and just people that knew from just grinding it out in the underground.
So we put together this mixtape, and it’s getting received pretty well. The fans love these things, and the mixtape series is already pretty hot. The brand already does well. I had some in-stores a few days ago, and the line was out the door for the both of them; and this is for a mixtape. So I’m just trying to give the audience more content.
iHipHop.com: So you would say that the mixtape game has played a big part in your career so far?
Chamillionaire: Oh definitely man… I would have never been able to do anything I did without the mixtapes. There’s a big audience for those people who grew up off my music, and these are the same people who come to my shows. A lot of them just know my mixtape songs, and half of the time it’s just my mixtape songs that I’ll perform at a show.
So I do think it’s a big part of my success, so that’s why I stick with the mixtape game and respect it. For a lot of people, all they know is what they see commercially, and they’ll be like, “Why the hell is Chamillionaire dropping all these mixtapes?!” But in my world, the mixtape game is big.
iHipHop.com: Is it difficult for you to differentiate stuff you might want to put on your mixtape versus the material you might use for an album?
Chamillionaire: Every now and then it’s difficult, because sometimes I’ll put something on the mixtape, which might be pretty popular, and then when you put out your album people might be like, “Man, I liked what you did on your mixtape.”
So it can become a gift and a curse, because people might start liking the stuff on your mixtape more than the stuff you put on your album.So that’s something that I’m always dealing with, but this time around I do think a lot of the music on this album [Venom] is a lot better than some of the stuff on the mixtapes…
iHipHop.com: What makes you so confident this time around?
Chamillionaire: I think it has to do with me going into the studio, and perfecting songs; rather than just doing 10 million songs, and then I don’t know which ones would be on the album. I actually went back and perfected these songs to make them better…
iHipHop.com: What do you say to the people who think the South don’t produce quality lyricists?
Chamillionaire: So what! [Laughing]… Before I used to try and convince people, but now I don’t even care, because those people don’t matter. How can someone say that the South doesn’t produce good lyricists, when there are a lot of people from the South that are super dope that don’t sell any records, and they’re not getting respect from the same people. Its no secret that the South is killing it, and the South is where Hip-Hop is now. A lot of people don’t understand it, but it is.
There are a lot of people who are lyricists, but they’re not taking over Hip-Hop. But a lot of the time it just be those bloggers that don’t even matter; you know what I’m saying? They need to worry about getting their people straight.
Because there are a lot of people that don’t have lyrics, but they have club beats, and they’re EATING. They’re killing all the ring tones, they’re picking up all the little space that’s left on BET and MTV, and those are the people that matter right now.
iHipHop.com: How do you keep from getting burned out between putting put all the Mixtape Messiah series in short amount of time, while working on other projects as well?
Chamillionaire: Every time I feel like I’m about to, I get some kind of kick from a fan, and that lets me know that what I’m doing is working. Sometimes when you’re doing the free download stuff, you don’t know who your audience is, and you’re spending money on the studio to get something on the Internet every night, and you don’t even know if you’re going to get rewarded back with it.
I just know that hard work pays off; you know what I’m saying? Right now I have a song with Ludacris called “Creepin’ (Solo)” and it’s becoming one of the hottest songs in Texas. So after I see the success of [that] record, it just makes me want to work harder. Seeing your work pay off definitely motivates you.
iHipHop.com: With all that you have going on, do you ever worry about over saturating yourself?
Chamillionaire: Did people tell that to Lil Wayne? Did you see what happened to him? That doesn’t happen when it’s good music. Right now there are so many people who feel like rap is crap, and you even have Hip-Hop artists leaving the genre to do other stuff, because they’re not really into rap anymore.
You have to have a balance, and I think that people get upset about Hip-Hop and say that it’s dead because there is no balance. It’s just all this simple-minded music, and it doesn’t seem to be any content, and the dance club music outnumbers the little content there is.
Even the conscious rappers are doing club stuff to try and fit in. I think you just have to find your lane and attack it. People can tell you not to do that many freestyles, but nowadays, ‘outta sight, outta mind.’ That’s how people are, and they’re consuming content so much because there are so many artists, videos, and freestyles.
So you have to standout… You’re either the person doing it, or the person not doing it—and I’d rather be the person doing it. There might be some people out there that think I’m doing too much, but they don’t matter to me. I’ll know when it’s getting super annoying, and plus you always have the right to not click on it, or download it…
iHipHop.com: So how do you feel about your career up to this point? Do you feel as if you get the recognition you deserve, or do you feel underrated?
Chamillionaire: I think a lot of people feel like they still have something to prove, because when you get in and you’re chasing success, you always feel like you have something to prove. But at this point, I feel like an underdog, and I actually like being in that position.
I always excel under those terms. My first time around when I went platinum, I went around the whole US, and I touched EVERY city. I did a lot of radio, and a lot of other stuff that big-named artists won’t do.
So I’m comfortable with my career, and I’m comfortable with everything that I’ve accomplished. Of course you have those people who will be like, “Chamillionaire only had one hit,” but they don’t know the legacy. Like how many mixtapes I moved throughout the South, and how powerful the brand has been for us. So those people have no idea, and I’m not just an artist that only put out one song…
iHipHop.com: Next up for you is your third album, Venom. Do you feel any pressure towards the projects in terms of it being a hit?
Chamillionaire: Yeah definitely man, it has to be successful. I’m going to drop Mixtape Messiah 7 for free on www.Chamillionaire.com and it’s going to have the release date for my album on it. All I need are the fans that have been supporting me for all these years to come to the in-stores that are lined up around to the block to go out and support my album. If all the people who support me buy my album, we’ll be good. But if they don’t, then there’s no reason for me to keep on doing all these mixtapes.
I’m not going to set a bar for success, and tell you what I think it is. My label will be the ones who tell me if it’s good, because I’m an investment for them, and it’s just like basketball players on a team: The person who’s putting up the most points is going to stay in the game, and the other person sits on the bench.
I don’t want to be on the bench, but if my fans put me on the bench, then I’ll gracefully bow-out. I’ll accept defeat, but I don’t want to, so I would hope that people appreciate the music and support it… But we’ll get a good one from this album here, because I’m confident, and the music is dope…