Chingy Hoodstar

Of all the unambitious, untalented and aggressively commercial rappers in mainstream hip-hop, perhaps no one seemed less likely to release a concept album than Chingy. Hoodstar proves that there was likely no one less capable, either. Okay, so it’s not much of a concept: the first half of the album is the "hood side” and the second half the "star side.” Even that seems to be too much for Chingy, who comes at the "hood” material with all the hard-earned street menace of a Stitches commercial. Meanwhile, both halves feature pervasive product placement and brand name-slinging, particularly on "Brand New Kicks,” "Dem Jeans” and the profoundly awful "Nike Aurr’s & Crispy Tee’s.” Chingy brings nothing to the table; his flow a tedious monotone and his punch-less lyrics bordering on pre-school poetry. The Black Eyed Peas proved that no hook is too retarded for the club-humping masses and Nelly proved that the charts might overlook even the most blatantly corporate-sponsored "rapvertising.” Chingy’s Hoodstar proves that even that most cynical brand of depths-plumbing is harder than it looks. (Capitol)