As we walked into the warehouse off Commerce Street where a music video was scheduled to be shot for Chamillionaire's recent single, "The Main Event," Slim Thug pulled up. In style, we might add (above). We let the boss and his posse head inside first, then followed them to the roof. "Where the video chicks at, fool?" Slim asked Cham, who had just complimented our black T-shirt with white lettering that simply read, "HTOWN." We laughed, and Cham told him to ask the director, then proceeded to discuss his upcoming (and long-anticipated) album with us. "I was going to drop [Venom] June 22, but I had to push that back, because Eminem's dropping that day, and Drake is dropping right before that," Chamillionaire said. Koopa told us there is definitely some work to be done before the album is ready, but that it's close. He also told us that he's had to constantly fight to keep the album's direction where he wants it to be.
"Originally, I had a concept forVenom
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, and the label started coming in trying to turn it into some pop stuff, so that's why I was like, 'Oh, I'm not dropping Venom then.' Cause they was all, 'Oh, just call it Venom. Nobody's gonna' know.'" Cham said, with a sneer. "And I was like, 'How you gonna' call an album Venom, then try to do all this pop stuff?'" Chamillionaire, for as comical as he can be at times, always has an air of seriousness about him. Even his recent satire-ridden songs - "Hip Hop Police," "The Evening News," "Groupie" - have a lot of substance to them, and his fans appreciate that. "I'll go play stuff for [the label] now, and they'll be like, 'Oh, that's dope, man. How come you wasn't making stuff like that before?'" he said. "And I'm like, 'This is the same song I had before, you idiots.'" At this point, the Mixtape Messiah let out a laugh. "They're not very bright, man, but it's all good; we're going to get it together." But the musical style of his upcoming album hasn't been the only battle Chamillionaire has had to have with his record label.
"They was trying to make me get rid of this Pimp C track - featuring Pimp C, produced by Pimp C. Ain't nobody got that, and ain't nobody heard it either," he said, furious his label would try to make him cut a song featuring one of his idols and mentors. "They hadn't even heard it, and they was trying to take it off." Eventually, Cham got pulled away from us to shoot some of the video, so we went to talk to Paul. At this point, Slim was nowhere in sight, and we had heard him telling Cham earlier that he had a flight to catch, so we assumed that he had left for the day. Paul wasn't exactly sure when the music video would be out. "It'll be done by the end of the week," he said. "But it all depends what Chamillionaire's label decides to do with it." We've been a fan of Houston rap since we can remember. And we've noticed that all the local rappers whom we have had the opportunity to meet are both approachable and friendly with their fans. Chamillionaire even recognized us from a CD signing that we went to a few years back for Ultimate Victory. We told him what we do now, and he had this to say: "Oh, wow. Houston Press. That's gangsta." We don't meant to sound like giddy schoolgirls, but we were first introduced to Houston rap via Chamillionaire, Trae, Bun B and Pimp C, so it was flattering to be complimented by an artist we've followed for so many years. So thanks, Cham. It means a lot. Stay trill.Chamillionaire & Paul Wall play House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, tonight at 10:30 p.m. Call 888-402-5837 or see www.hob.com/houston for ticket information.