Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Reliving the glory of Chamillionaire’s one and only hit single, “Ridin’”

Illustration for article titled Reliving the glory of Chamillionaire’s one and only hit single, “Ridin’”

In his ongoing webseries One Hit Wonderland, YouTuber and pop music critic Todd In The Shadows has been spotlighting ”bands and artists known for only one song.” So far, the series has leaned heavily on the music video era of the 1980s and 1990s, but Todd has deliberately been looking beyond those years for his most recent episodes. Last month, for instance, he deconstructed Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction” from 1965. This time around, he chooses a song from the current millennium: Chamillionaire’s smash hit “Ridin’“ from 2006. In keeping with his online persona, the host reviews the song from the shadows, obscuring his face in a dark hoodie. Other than that affectation, the video is chatty, humorous, and informative as it breaks down the arc of Chamillionaire’s career.

Born Hakeem Seriki in 1979, the rapper—also known as Chamillionaire and King Koopa—was part of the mid-2000s boom in Houston-based hip-hop, alongside such acts as Paul Wall and Mike Jones. As the general public’s interest in the Houston scene faded, Chamillionaire largely dropped out of sight. His follow-up single, “Grown And Sexy,” failed to capture the public’s imagination the way “Ridin’’ had. Though Todd maintains that Seriki was “not that interesting” as a rapper, he points out that “Ridin’” has a killer chorus that still holds up today. Also, the lyrics, with numerous references to racial profiling, were more politically oriented than most popular hip-hop of the time. Besides, the song also inspired the hugely popular parody “White & Nerdy” by “Weird Al” Yankovic.


So what happened to Chamillionaire after ”Ridin’” fell off the charts? Musically, after just one more official album, he mostly went back to making mixtapes for the Houston scene. Professionally, he didn’t have a thing to worry about. The video points out that Seriki has allocated his money “very, very wisely” and is, in fact, a millionaire many times over. He’s been extremely successful as a venture capitalist and investor, and music is something he’s done for fun. All things considered, he probably doesn’t care whether he gets that second big hit or not.

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