Name at birth: Howard Bailey
The 2003 summer single "Right Thurr" put Chingy on the musical map as a good-time rapper who specialized in catchy, club-friendly beats. He grew up in the Walnut Park section of St. Louis and began rapping in earnest in his late teens, with a slightly reedy tenor reminiscent of Eminem's. Chingy toured as an opening act with Nelly in the summer of 2002 and then became a protegé of Ludacris, who signed Chingy to his newly-formed Disturbing tha Peace (DTP) record label. Chingy's 2003 debut album, Jackpot, sold two million copies, thanks to the boost from "Right Thurr," a danceable homage to distaff pulchritude. (Chingy's star status was sealed when "Right Thurr" was included on the soundtrack of the video game NBA Live 2004.) A second album, Powerballin', was released in 2004 to mixed reviews, and his 2006 release Hood Star spawned the hit singles "Pullin' Me Back" and "Dem Jeans." In the midst of all that recording and performing, Chingy was making headlines for feuds with Nelly, Ludacris and more than one record label. He released Hate It or Leave It in 2007, and Success & Failure in 2010.
According to his official site, Chingy considered the stage names Thugsy and H Thugs before settling on Chingy, a slang term for money… In the same bio, Chingy reports “I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations”… According to Rap News Direct, the title of The Soul of St. Louis is a play on The Spirit of St. Louis, the airplane which Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927… Chingy adapted “Dem Jeans” to make 123 different ring tones for Sprint cell phone customers, inserting popular girls’ names in the line “Damn girl, how’d you get all that in dem jeans?”