Chamillionaire has it all figured out now: Make sure you actually have your album finished before giving it a release date. After a few different dates, the Houston native says to look for his sophomore LP, Ultimate Victory, September 18.
"I just been working on it," he said Wednesday afternoon about the schedule changes. "This is the first time I'm actually finished with my album. All them other times I was still working. I got a lot of material, a lot to pick from, more than I did last time. Last time I [made an album,] really the only the material that wound up on the album [is what I recorded]. This time, I have two albums' worth of material."
Cham says that when going in, he made sure to eliminate all distractions and focus on making music by himself.
"I put myself in my own type of vibe," he explained. "I separated myself from everybody and just concentrated on music. I never had that before. I've always had that with my mixtapes — there's never anybody in the room. But with albums, there's always people in the room giving different opinions. This time, I just went in there and did everything. When I was done, I let people hear everything. That was a better working process for me."
Koopa's first single is called "Hip Hop Police," features Slick Rick and — like last year's smash "Ridin' " — is another round of bumping heads with the authorities.
"I try to do a lot of records like that on the album that are still jamming records but still have social commentary on them," he said. "The 'Hip Hop Police' record is like a 'Murder Was the Case' record. It's really a concept record. ... Most records now are dance records or for the club. It's so much of that, I need to go a different direction. I think that's why I decided to come with 'Hip Hop Police.'
"It's automatically different because Slick Rick and Chamillionaire, that's automatically gonna raise eyebrows," he added. "Slick Rick has always been one of those guys real good at telling stories. That's what we're doing ... telling a story about a murder. The metaphor means, nowadays, just loving hip-hop and being a rapper and loving music is the same as committing a murder. ... With all the controversy surrounding rap, that's what the record is about."
On the song, Cham plays the arresting officers as well as the perp.
"I get arrested, I'm arguing with myself," he said. "I play the part of the police officer also. I'm trying to pin a crime on myself. The police is saying, 'We looked at the car, we seen the Chronic you had, we seen the Clipse you had. The Diary, The Blueprint. But ... if you think about it, 'the Clipse' is the Clipse's CD. The Diary is Scarface's CD. The Blueprint is Jay-Z's CD. The Chronic is Dr. Dre's CD. It's hip-hop stuff. A lot of hidden stuff. Then, at the end of the song, they say, 'We'll give you a lighter sentence if you pin the crime on your homie.' That's when Slick Rick comes in."
Lloyd, Pimp C and Devin the Dude appear on the album, as well as "Ridin' " co-star Krazyie Bone.
"It's kind of the same formula," he said of his new track with Krazyie. "Play-N-Skillz produced it, the guys that produced 'Ridin'.' It's called 'The Bill Collector.' People might ask you for a favor. People that owe you money, it's time to pay up. What reminded me of that is a record Krayzie had with Bone Thugs back in the day called ['Mr.] Bill Collector.' I ain't gonna lie — that kinda inspired me."
The Grammy-garnering "Ridin'," Cham's biggest hit to date, is still riding a wave of popularity. The record made its way onto "The Sopranos" recently — Tony's son, AJ, is found playing it early one morning.
"Once they hit me and told me they wanted to use it in 'The Sopranos,' I thought it was dope," he said. "That's one of them records that, three years from now, people still going to try and use it for something. A lot of people hit me about 'The Sopranos' thing, but nowadays not much can surprise me. I seen so many things, man."