Q&A: Chingy

The powerballin' rapper talks sex songs, getting shot at and the Eminem-Jacko controversy

Rapper Chingy performs at the 21st Annual ASCAP Pop Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on May 18th, 2004. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

CHINGY WOULD LIKE TO WIN THE LOTTERY. That or make shitolad of money in the music biz. Jackpot, the St. Louis rapper's 2003 debut, with stuttering club grooves such as "Right Thurr" and late-night-sex anthems, has sold more than 3 million copies. Now, with his new disc Power-ballin', Chingy says, "I'm upgrading. With this album I'd like to sell 6 million." He needs the scratch to support his expensive tastes - his watch alone (by hip-hop's favorite, Jacob the Jeweler) cost $50,000. Rolling through Manhattan in a black SUV, Chingy, 24, smokes Newports, sips an Absolut-cranberry and takes a rare toke. In a dressing room at BET, he switches to Patrón tequila and Snapple. Later, en route to a meeting with 50 Cent, we stop for a twelve-pack of Heineken. Says Chingy, "'Power-ballin'' is about having clout, showing it off and living how you live."

Are Your parents musical?
They aren't musical one bit. When I was growing up, they had the Temptations playing. My mama had the Marvin Gaye and Isley Brothers, all the old-school stuff.

What's your favorite Temptations song?
I don't know exactly what it's called. [Sings] "You got a smile so bright/You know you could have been a candle...."

"The Way You Do the Things You Do."
Yeah. And [sings] "I know you're gonna leave me/But I refuse to let you go." "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."

What was the first thing you wanted to say in a rap?
I was young, about seven or eight. The rapping and the beats were a motivation to me. I was just battle-rappin', talkin' about "your mama."

You're from St. Louis; you opened for Nelly. Why aren't you in his St. Lunatics posse?
Because I'm not. That's his clique. I'm from a different part of St. Louis. I know them, and they cool guys, but I'm a Git It Boy.

What do the Git it Boyz think about Michael Jackson?
We grew up with Michael Jackson. You can't fake the front. Man, you gotta love Mike 'cause Mike is Mike, regardless of how people try to portray him and all that bullcrap.

What do you think of Eminem mocking him?
I don't judge what to other man does. But that's Eminem, though. He's always gonna come up with something really crazy that'll make you say, "Eimnem, he's silly."

Do you fear anyone in the hip-hop world?
Fuck, no! Who is there to be scared of? Except God. I don't want to get God mad at me.

Do you listen to your own music when you're ballin' chicks?
Yes. Always. I done played "One Call Away"-a song where I'm talking about when I'm having sex - and "Gettin' It." I done played my whole record [laughs]!

How much ganja do you smoke?
I don't really smoke. I used to, and I got the right to talk about it. But I quit, actually' cause I got paranoid.

About aliens?
No, about being shot. I've never been shot - where it went in me - but I've been grazed a couple times.

Does getting shot earn you clout in the hip-hop world?
It don't have nothing to do with clout. There ain't shit about it that's cute. I'm where I'm at because I make good music.

What beats from the past few years do you wish you'd had?
The Young Bloodz's "Damn!" and Jay-Z's "Dirt off Your Shoulder."

Your've mentioned writing songs in bathrooms. Is that where you wrote "Make That Ass Talk"?
You crazy....I know girls that know how to dance. When they're shaking, and their butts be wigglin', sometimes it looks like they're talking, like they got lips. [Sings] "I hurr it real clurr when you walk for me/So bring it hurr and make that ass talk to me!"

Nice! What's the funniest line on Powerballin'?
When I say, "I can take on ten girls with my one pipe/And knock them all down like a bowling pin on strike." That was pretty funny.

Do you lie your ass off on records?
No.

Everything you say is the truth?
Everybody exaggerates - over-exaggerates - about all the money. Ninety percent of my shit is true.

Is that tattoo on your arm a treble clef?
[Rolls up sleeve] Yep. Some white dude did it about five years ago. It just shows that I love music.

Who else in the hip-hop game is powerballin' like you?
Suge Knight is powerballin'. R. Kelly, 50 Cent, Snoop. Lots of people: Russell Simmons, P. Diddy - and Beyoncé is powerballin'. Ladies can too. Don't discriminate

What are your favorite rock & roll songs?
I like the recent stuff from U2. And Blink-182. I've been on the road with those guys, and they cool.

If you could blast some music in Bush's ear, what would it be?
Some Public Enemy from back in the day - "Don't Belive the Hype."

When did you first hear your music at a strip joint?
In St. Louis, at the Pink Slip.

Did you freak out?
Nah. I was doing my thing, getting a lap dance.