Chingy to Tour, Mesmerize

Rapper set to tour with Snoop, release vodka, video game and sister's LP

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After chillin' in Louisiana with his family over Christmas, Chingy will hit the road with Snoop Dogg and Juvenile in support of Powerballin', his follow-up to 2003's triple-platinum Jackpot. "I'm gonna headline this tour, going out in January," he says.

Beyond touring, the twenty-four-year-old rapper finds himself taking the plunge into the wide-ranging world of hip-hop merchandising.

First, there's his flavored ("probably a fruit punch") vodka, Mesmerize, due in 2005. He's also in the new Need For Speed Underground 2 video game. "I got my own Chingy truck," he explains. "It's got my face on the side with some dice, and I got a song in it." Chingy expects to feature as an animated character in the next NBA Ballers game as well.

The rapper, whose lawyer is handling the suit against his former label, Disturbing Tha Peace, has also formed his own record company, Slot-A-Lot. He plans to release an album by his twenty-one-year-old sister, Ziggy (born Anita), who appears on Powerballin''s "Leave Wit Me" and "Make That Ass Talk." "She just represent for the young females out here, whatever the young females are going through," says Chingy. "Whatever she's experienced in her life, that's pretty much what she'll be rhyming about." Slot-A-Lot will also release a Get It Boys project. "It's hardcore street -- harder beats, harder lyrics about coming from the streets," he explains. "It's more of a G-Unit type of thing."

As for his own material, Chingy has been hard at work. "I've got a gang of music you haven't heard," he says, much of which he believes is more serious than his usual sex-clubbing-money tracks.

This is a shift in tone no doubt influenced by his work with the Chingy for Change Foundation, a group the rapper founded a year ago to give back after seeing so much good fortune himself. "Thanksgiving, we were able to give food and turkeys and stuff," he says. "And this Christmas, we're going to do a toy drive for poor families, give them gifts. Sometimes I even throw free concerts for the kids."

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