Ridin TITS.jpg

Date Aired
May 3, 2016
Running Time
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Todd plays "Ridin'" on the piano.

A one-hit wonder retrospective

Todd: Hello, and welcome back to One Hit Wonderland, where we take a look at bands and artists known for only one song. And I said I wanted to get this series out of the '80s and '90s, and I meant it. Last time, I went all the way back to 1965. This time, I'm gonna get as recent a one-hit wonder as I dare.

Video for "Ridin'"
Chamillionaire: They see me rollin'
They hatin
Patrollin', they tryna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty
[Todd dances to it]
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty

Todd: Yes, today, we're going back a mere ten years, which is really not very long ago.

Todd (VO): In fact, I'm risking the real possibility that the artist in question could have another hit any day now. I mean, I didn't think I'd be covering a [brief clip of "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" by...] Mike Posner song in 2016, but here we are.

Chamillionaire: Police think they can see me lean

Todd (VO): The song in question, of course, is "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire with an assist from Krayzie Bone from [promo pic of...] Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and it blew up in that brief couple years when Houston was the center of the hip hop world.

Todd: The Dirty South was, of course...

Clips of Jermaine Dupri ft. Ludacris - "Welcome to Atlanta"

Todd (VO): ...big since the start of the millennium, but it mostly centered around Atlanta, occasionally Memphis or New Orleans. But for 2005 to 2006, it all moved to Texas, and everything was about grills and Purple Drank. [Clip of "Still Tippin'" by all of..] And the hot new names were Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Mike Jones.

Concert footage of Mike Jones
Mike Jones: Who?!

Todd: [with a more enthusiastic crowd] Mike Jones

Mike: Who?!

Todd: I'm not gonna repeat myself.

Todd (VO): But of all those guys, none of them had a bigger hit than this guy, Chamillionaire—a guy who, to this day, has one of the goofiest rap names I've ever heard.

Todd: I need a name that conveys wealth and success, but also that I'm a small lizard. [Pictures of a sharp-dressed lizard...] Richie Reptile... [Michael Douglas as...] Gordon Gekko... I've got it! [...and the album cover of The Sound of Revenge] Chamillionaire! His [screen shot of...] icon was even a lizard. It looks like the logo on a [picture of a neon-green...] T-shirt you'd buy at spring break.

Todd (VO): But the song was not goofy at all; it was hot as hell. More importantly, it inspired the Weird Al parody.

Clip of Weird Al Yankovic - "White & Nerdy"
Weird Al: I'm just too white and nerdy
Think I'm just too white and nerdy

Todd (VO): Not making any assumptions about my audience here, but I'm pretty sure you guys are all...

Todd: ...more familiar with this version. Did you know...

Todd (VO): ...that's Key and Peele at the beginning? Yeah. Okay, I swear I'm not gonna make this whole video about Weird Al.

Although honestly, at the time, I thought this might be one of those songs that got outshone by the Weird Al parody. But no, "Ridin'" has held up. Everyone still loves that song, even though Chamillionaire took his chamillions and largely disappeared. Where is he? Where did he go? Why did he only ever remain a one-hit wonder?

Todd: Maybe...they finally caught him! I mean, that's generally what happens when you go out of your way to taunt the cops! What'd you think was gonna happen?

Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone: Ready or not we bust shots off in the air
Krayzie Bone and Chamillionaire

Before the hit

Promo pic of Chamillionaire

Todd (VO): Chamillionaire was born Hakeem Seriki in Houston, Texas, making him Houston's [poster of Hakeem Olajuwon] second-favorite Hakeem.

Todd: He also occasionally goes by the name King Koopa.

Cover of King Koopa mixtape as "True" plays
Chamillionaire: Here, lizard lizard lizard
It's the almighty King Koopa

Todd (VO): Which is a way better name than Chamillionaire, and hilarious to boot.

Todd: If only he'd done us all a favor and [brief clip of "Break Up" by...] killed Mario. But more interesting than Cham's roots is the rise of Houston in the hip hop world.

Todd (VO): One thing I distinctly remember about rap in the 2000s is that it was extremely regional. Where you were from kinda dictated the style of hip hop you made, and you repped for your hometown in a way that I don't think really happens anymore. [Single cover of "Again" by...] Fetty Wap doesn't really rep for Jersey, not...

Todd: ...not the way that, ten years ago, [pictures of...] Nelly repped for St. Louis, T.I. was from Atlanta, Twista was from Chicago, and so on.

Todd (VO): The Houston scene had a couple acts that got famous before the mid-2000s, there...Geto Boys and UGK. But it really started blowing up in 2004. Chamillionaire got in the ground floor, having released, like, [cover of Mixtape Messiah] six billion...

Todd: ...mixtapes at that point, and two albums with [album cover of Get Ya Mind Correct] Paul Wall, the [picture of Paul] chubby white guy with the teeth. Remember him?

Todd (VO): Unfortunately, by the time Paul Wall got big, they had fallen out. Actually, all those guys had beef at one point or another, I'm not really clear why. Chamillionaire also started his own label at that point, [logo for...] Chamillitary Entertainment.

Todd: Yes, he had a chamillitary. I kinda wish he'd just continued with that. He could marry [pictures of...] Chamila Kunis, his children could be Chamillennials. Anyway, he got a major label deal and released [cover of The Sound of Revenge] his first album. Here is his first single.

Video for "Turn It Up" ft. Lil' Flip
Chamillionaire: Yeah!
Super producer Scott Storch

Todd (VO): Aw, no, Storch?! I hate that guy!

Chamillionaire: Give 'em something that's goin' rattle that trunk (that trunk)
Tip ya cups up until ya get drunk

Todd (VO): Although this beat isn't bad, I guess.

Chamillionaire: ...ollar beat and let me show you what to do with it
(Who that is??) That's the illest rapper choppin' and screwin' it

Todd (VO): I mean, it's not bad, but I wouldn't exactly seek it out. I'm sure recruiting Lil' Flip seemed like a good idea, but he was actually on his way out. He had just had this [clip of "Sunshine" ft. Lea] huge crossover hit...

Lea: ...call you my baby boy

Todd (VO): ...that was unfortunately very, very pop. You never really heard much from him again. Those coattails weren't taking anyone anywhere.

Todd: No, the big hit was to come.

The big hit

Video for "Ridin'"

Todd: Okay, first off, to be clear...

Todd (VO): ...the name of this song is just "Ridin'." [Single cover of UGK's...] "Ridin' Dirty" was already taken. Anyway.

Chamillionaire: They see me rollin'
They hatin
Patrollin', they tryna catch me ridin' dirty

Todd (VO): There was one big reason that this song went to #1.

Todd: That chorus.

Todd (VO): That beat is untouchable right there. Certainly would've preferred to hear more beat from these guys [promo pic of Play-N-Skillz] rather than Scott Storch, but they were kinda one-hit wonders themselves, which is disappointing because this track crushes. This song could've been about anything and be huge.

Todd: Well, let's talk about the lyrics. Something I heard a lot of complaints about is that...

Clip of 50 Cent - "In Da Club"

Todd (VO): ...rap music in the Bush years was too caught up in cash money hos and missed a prime opportunity to say something meaningful. Certainly, there was not much in the way of social commentary coming from Houston, which was primarily known for abusing cough syrup and making music that sounds like it does when you abuse cough syrup. I mean, there was probably a ton of provocative hip hop that I'm not remembering, but...

Todd: ...the way it felt, the sum total of hip hop making a statement in the 2000s was...

Clip from A Concert for Hurricane Relief
Kanye West: George Bush doesn't care about black people.

Todd (VO): Which, you know, is...

Todd: ...not gonna go down as one of the great speeches in history.

Chamillionaire: Laws on patrolling you know they hate me

Todd (VO): But Chamillionaire did something huge by calling out police for profiling and getting the entire country to groove to it.

Todd: I have no idea how he got away with that. Looking back, it's kinda shocking that it wasn't controversial at all.

Chamillionaire: This is a message to the laws tellin' them "We hate you."
Clips of news reports on protests

Todd (VO): If it was released today, you would be goddamn hearing about it, I'll tell you that much!

Chamillionaire: Thinkin' they'll catch me on the wrong well keep trying
Cause they denyin' that it's racial profiling

Todd (VO): What I think is really amazing about this song is that it makes a gangsta anthem out of not doing anything illegal!

Chamillionaire: When they realize I ain't even ridin' dirty
Bet you'll be leavin' with an even madder mood

Todd (VO): I mean what Chamillionaire's bragging about here is basically being hassled by the cops!

Chamillionaire: Police pull up from behind while we sittin' low

Todd (VO): And as I recall, [Clip from N.W.A - "Fuck Tha Police"] in most anti-cop songs I've ever heard, that's a huge injustice! Something that'll piss you off as a symbol of everything wrong with the...

Todd: ...goddamn world! Burn everything down, fight the power! [Shakes his fist in the air.]

Todd (VO): But for Chamillionaire, it's awesome! Like he just punk'd the cops by getting pulled over. It's like Bugs Bunny outsmarting Elmer Fudd again.

Chamillionaire: Can't arrest me, plus you can't sue

Todd (VO): Being unfairly profiled and searched is totally worth it if you can waste a little bit of a cop's time!

Todd: I mean he does make clear that he is, in fact, a gangsta who does illegal things, he's just not doing anything at the moment.

Todd (VO): The cops are searching for entirely racist reasons. I mean I guess he's carrying a gun.

Chamillionaire: It's a full clip in my pistola

Send a jacker into a coma

Todd (VO): That's not really a problem.

Todd: I mean he's in Texas. It's illegal not to have a gun.

Chamillionaire: Got warrants in every city except Houston
But I still ain't losin'

Todd: I am kinda curious how he has warrants in every city except the one he lives in.

Todd (VO): Is he, like, a commuting gangsta? Constantly taking gangsta business trips?

Todd: Of course when I'm talking about unfair profiling, I'm just talking about Chamillionaire.

Todd (VO): Krayzie Bone is, in fact, ridin' dirty as all hell!

Krayzie Bone: I been drinking and smoking
Holy... 'cause I really can't focus

Todd (VO): Unlike Chamillionaire, who's keeping it clean, Krayzie Bone's plan is to...

Todd: ...just...run.

Krayzie Bone: Pop Pop hope cops don't see me, on a low key

Todd: I mean, not that anyone could tell, he's flowing way too fast.

Krayzie Bone: N*gga been sippin' on that Hennessey and the gin again is in again we in the wind

Todd (VO): That was what was so great about Bone Thugs. [Brief clip of "1st of tha Month"] It didn't matter what the hell they were rapping about; the flow was always just so beautiful.

Chamillionaire: Cause the crooked cops try to come up fast

Todd (VO): It's funny 'cause Chamillionaire, as far as I can tell, is not looking to do anything all that different.

Todd: It's not like hating the cops or being a gangsta is particularly groundbreaking.

Todd (VO): But in hindsight, all anyone in mainstream hip hop wanted to in 2006 was get drunk and buy jewelry. I guess it hasn't really changed much either, so Chamillionaire kinda did stand out from the crowd.

Todd: So what happened to him?

The failed follow-up

Clip of "Grown and Sexy"
Chamillionaire: Grown and sexy
From your head down to your toes you know you're fine

Todd (VO): This is the only other single off his first album, "Grown and Sexy."

Chamillionaire: Yeah, you look better from behind
You look better from behind

Todd (VO): Sex jam. It's not terrible, I guess. Although "grown and sexy" is kind of a gross thing to say.

Todd: I mean I guess it's better than saying "not grown", but still, it's like...

Todd (VO): ...one of those things you shouldn't...really have to say. Like, "She's sexy and doesn't have an arm growing out of her back!"

Clip of Ciara ft. Chamillionaire - "Get Up"
Ciara: Get up
I said "Ciara's on your radio"

Todd (VO): He also had a guest verse on Ciara's Top 10 single "Get Up."

Chamillionaire: It's the kids that stay ridin' big
The one the police tries to catch ridin' dirty

Todd (VO): Oh jeez, he had to reference his only hit. When you have to start reminding people who you are and why they might remember you, that's a bad sign.

Todd: I, I heard B.o.B reference himself once.

Clip of B.o.B ft. Trey Songz - "Not For Long"
B.o.B: Nothing at all, nothing on you

Todd (VO): And that's when I knew things were gonna go...

Todd: ...really bad for him.

Clip of Frankie J ft. Mannie Fresh & Chamillionaire - "That Girl

Todd (VO): See the thing is, without the subject matter, I don't think Chamillionaire was that interesting a rapper. In fact, the mid-to-late 2000s were a good time for a rapper [Pictures of album and single covers for Jibbs - "Jibbs feat. Jibbs", Dem Franchize Boyz - "Dem Franchize Boyz", MIMS - "This Is Why I'm Hot", and Shop Boyz - "Party Like A Rockstar"] to have one or two hits and then drop off the map. Also the entire Houston scene itself seemed to disappear around 2007, and I had no idea why. [Clips of T-Pain ft. Akon - "Bartender"...] Maybe because music drifted from chopped and screwed and over towards autotune. [... and Bun-B ft. Pimp C, Z-Ro, Young Jeezy, & Jay-Z - "Get Throwed"] Maybe just because so many of them were [Picture of poster reading, "PIMP C DIED FROM ACCIDENTAL COUGH-MEDICINE OVERDOSE, SLEEP CONDITION: AUTOPSY"] dead at that point. Codeine is...

Todd: ...actually really dangerous, kids! Just say no to drank.

Clip of "Hip Hop Police" ft. Slick Rick

Todd (VO): But anyway, Chamillionaire did release a new album in '07. And he went back to the same thing that made him famous to begin with: antagonizing the cops.

Chamillionaire: So much drama in the industry
Hip-hop police are listening
It's murder (Murder, murder)
Somebody tell em it's murder
Murder was the case, and they blamed me

Todd (VO): Basically a back-and-forth between him and a cop hassling him. It's like that one verse from "99 Problems," except for a whole song.

Chamillionaire: If you are not guilty of anything than why did you run?
Cause you the police, and plus I saw you coking your gun

Todd: Gotta admit, I kinda love this thing!

Chamillionaire: Who was this guy Busta? Who is this guy Snoop?

Todd (VO): He even imagines a world where rapping itself makes you persecuted. Like, even Eminem and Kanye are getting hassled in the video. You know that dangerous gangsta Kanye.

Todd: Like in this world, even will.i.am and Macklemore might get locked up.

Clip of "Evening News"
Chamillionaire: Rest in peace, Virginia Tech
Too many innocent kids dyin'

Todd (VO): Like I said, I don't think Chamillionaire ever intended to be this firebrand railing against authority; he just kinda fell into it by accident. And you know, I've certainly seen gangsta rappers [Single cover for Jadakiss - "Why"] try to be political and do much worse! I wouldn't have minded if this had gotten as huge as "Ridin'". But that was big off the power of the hook.

Todd: And without the hook, songs about police abuse were just too out of touch with what people wanted in 2007.

Clips of D4L - "Laffy Taffy"...
D4L: Girl shake that Laffy Taffy
That Laffy Taffy
...Baby Boy Da Prince ft. P. Town Moe - "The Way I Live"
Baby Boy: This is the way I live
Lil' Boy still pushing big wheels
...Soulja Boy Tell'em - "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"
Soulja Boy: You (Crank that Soulja Boy) Now watch me
You (Crank that Soulja Boy)

Quick shot of Todd sneering and groaning in disgust

Did he ever do anything else?

Todd: The last time I remember Chamillionaire trying to release a mainstream single was back in 2011. It was a kiss-off song to his haters called [Single cover for...] "Good Morning". As in [Imitating a British accent], "Good morrow, haters, and have a lovely rest of your day!" I love sarcastic shit like that!

Clip from said song, which heavily samples Tom Petty - "Free Fallin'". We cut back to Todd briefly to see him lean his head back in confusion.
Chamillionaire: I wanna show all of my haters love
This song's for you
If you had it like me and I was in your shoes
I'd probably hate on me too

Back to Todd, who doesn't seem to know how to react

Chamillionaire: So I wave to you like "Good morning"

Todd (VO): Oh god, poor Tom Petty! This is the...

Todd: Worst thing to happen to "Free Fallin'" since...John Mayer!

Clip of John Mayer covering "Free Fallin'"
John: And I'm free

Clip of "Overnight"

Todd (VO): Since then, Chamillionaire left the big labels and has been strictly independent. He's still only ever put out the two full albums but he still puts out a mixtape like on a monthly basis. But as far as I can tell he only does that for fun. What's he doing instead?

Todd: Mostly, being rich as hell!

Clip of an interview with Paul Wall
Paul: He sold his app for five hundred million.

Todd (VO): Yeah, that "millionaire" part of his name?

Todd: He's not making that up.

Radio DJ: Chamillionaire is literally a chamillionaire! [Laughs] I mean I don't know what that means!
Paul: He's a cha-multi-millionaire!
Clip of Chamillionaire on Fox Business

Todd (VO): Even before he broke mainstream, he was apparently investing his money very, very wisely. [Clip of...] Here he is speaking at Stanford! And nowadays he's also entrepreneur and residence for a venture capital company. And in the past couple years, he's also gotten into tech, investing in an online video company called [Logo for...] Maker Stu--WHAT?

Todd: WHAT?? Wait a minute, hold on, [Picture of Todd's revenue statement from Maker Studio, with the company's logo as well as Todd's information (his ID number blotted out) circled in red] I work for... Well I hope I made you a lotta goddamn money, Chamillionaire!

Miscellaneous footage of Chamillionaire plays

Todd (VO): Uh, I don't know if I have any fans who are cops. Uh, well guess what: you've been putting cash into this cop hater's wallet every time you watch my videos!

Todd: Pfft! [Throws his hands in the air]

Did he deserve better?

Todd: ...did I mention the millions? Who cares?!

Chamillionaire: They see me rollin'

Todd (VO): I don't give one shit about whether his music career should've been bigger!

Todd: Uh...okay, I wouldn't have minded if some of his other songs had been hits.

Todd (VO): I listened to some of his mixtapes; he's a pretty funny guy. He still might have more hits in him. He's finally releasing that third album this year, so who the hell knows? I mean no one was talking about Bone Thugs in 2006 and then Chamillionaire brought them back!

Todd: So yeah, he could very well make a comeback and sell a ton more records. Won't be selling them to me, though! I've done enough work for him.

Gets up and leaves

Chamillionaire: Tryna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty
Tryna catch me ridin' dirty

Closing tag song: Liam Espinosa - "Ridin'"

"Ridin'" is owned by Chamillitary Records
This video is owned by me


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