Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chamillionaire The Sound of Revenge (Universal, 2005)
Boom. The Sound of Revenge. Remember how big this album was? You probably don't. Just consider this: "Ridin," the Play-N-Skillz-produced megahit, is the most commercially successful Houston record of all time. Of all time.
It was nominated for two Grammys, won one, won a MTV VMA, was lauded by critics, sold 3.2 million downloads, cured polio, took a non-blurry photo of Bigfoot, slept with the hottest girl from your high school and did 56 push-ups in one minute. And not those pussy push-ups where you only go down three-quarters of the way. We're talking legit push-ups.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 44 percent
This number seems a bit low at first, but think on it for a bit. It's right. Despite the unparalleled success of "Ridin'," it's kind of hard now to recall any other songs from the album. We mean, sure, fans of Chamillionaire can rifle off a few, for certain, but your run-of-the-mill person won't be able to. What was the second most popular song from that album? "Turn It Up"? "Grown and Sexy"? Yeesh.
Best Song on the Album: "Rain," feat. Scarface and Billy Cook
"Ridin'" was the most successful, but this was the strongest musically. It's smart and well-constructed and well-executed. Cham delivers two subtly strong verses. Scarface is Scarface. Even Billy Cook, who almost hits a point in his songs where he goes just a little too far with the vibrato, keeps his urges in check. If people weren't so dumb, this song would be more fondly remembered. People are the worst.
Worst Feature on the Album: This will come as a shock now, but Lil Wayne's spot on "Fly as the Sky" is the weakest guest appearance on the album. Listen to it again. It's all uninteresting glitter and glam. Wayne would crush "Fly..." now, or at least make an out of the ordinary metaphor about cunnilingus (the wonkiness that drives the song is the sort of the thing leeches the most creativity from him).
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Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Look Smart:
- "Grown and Sexy," the third single from the album, didn't even chart in the U.S. It you want to be a total music douche, you could argue that it actually was a really good song that simply had the unfortunate luck of having to follow up "Ridin." You could maybe say something about how it was meant as a long-form metaphor on the role of women in society or some nonsense like that.
You could even go so far as to liken it to The Shawshank Redemption, pointing out that that movie didn't get its due because it came out the same year as Forrest Gump, even though it was clearly excellent. And some people might even believe you. Of course, you'd be completely in the wrong. It just wasn't a good song.
- Another thing to think about: As big as "Ridin'" was, it never settled into the hearts of Houstonians like it probably should have. It's just not a song people bring up when they talk about Houston's most beloved rap songs. Cham has made it clear throughout his career that he always intended on making music that appealed to more Houstonians. There might not be a finer example of that than this instance.