Howard Bailey, Jr. (born March 9, 1980), better known by his stage name Chingy, is an American rapper, singer, and actor.
Chingy grew up in the T. B. Watkins section of Kansas City, Missouri and began rapping in earnest in his late teens.
Chingy lived in the Walnut Park section of St. Louis, a neighbourhood he has referred to as the “Bad Blocks.” He was the middle child with two older brothers and two younger sisters, along with other family. Chingy became a music fan at an early age.
He began writing lyrics at age 9 and was recording raps at age 10. He was originally known as H Thugz and was in the St. Louis group Without Warning on 49 Productions with M.G.D. & Mysphit. They recorded “What’s Poppin Off” together, which became a local hit. H Thugz and Augustin also recorded a music video for the song. H Thugz later chose the alias Chingy, a slang term for money.
Chingy attended McCluer North High School in Florissant, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. During high school he was known to his friends as “Howie” and he continues to prefer this name amongst close friends and family.
He asked Jay-Z for a record deal, but was turned down because of the content of his music. He toured as an opening act with Nelly in the summer of 2002 and then became a protégé of Ludacris, who signed him to his newly formed Disturbing tha Peace (DTP) record label.
The rapper’s 2003 summer debut single, “Right Thurr”, put him on the musical map as a good-time rapper who specialized in catchy, club-friendly beats and simplistic lyrics delivered in a sing-song, nursery rhyme style.
Chingy’s debut album Jackpot was released on July 7, 2003 on Disturbing tha Peace. Unable to secure a distribution deal through Def Jam, Ludacris negotiated a deal to distribute the album through Capitol Records. Guest appearances included Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Murphy Lee, I-20, Raindrop, Tity Boi of Playaz Circle, Trina, and Jermaine Dupri. Fueled by “Right Thurr”, Jackpot produced the hit “One Call Away” featuring J-Weav and “Holidae In” featuring Snoop Dogg and Ludacris. The album was produced by St. Louis production crew The Trak Starz. The album was received well by critics. Within a year of the release of Jackpot, It was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
Chingy’s 2003 debut album, Jackpot, sold two million copies, thanks to the boost from “Right Thurr”. A second album, Powerballin’, was released in 2004 to mixed reviews, and his 2006 release Hoodstar spawned the hit singles “Pullin’ Me Back” and “Dem Jeans.” He released Hate It or Love It in 2007, under DTP records. The album’s lead single is “Fly Like Me”, featuring Amerie. A studio album entitled Success & Failure was released in 2010.
Unhappy with the way he felt Capitol was promoting their urban artists, in 2007 Chingy jumped ship and returned to DTP Records, which was by-then a part of the Def Jam family. When questioned about this move, the St. Louis rapper said: “I don’t think Capitol really knew how to work urban artists, They’re really stuck on pop and they didn’t know how to market me.”
Chingy announced in 2011 the progress of his fifth album No Risk, No Reward. Due to the lack of funding, the album never saw the light of day. Instead he released a mixtape on March 3, 2012 called Jackpot Black, and later on an extended play album Chingology released in 2013.
During the same year Chingy became more public about his moral agenda, and announced his studies on Kinesis Science and in claiming the belief of the Black Hebrew Israelites after a period of soul searching.
He no longer involves himself in mainstream rap with offensive lyrics, and instead steered himself to a wildly different flavour as evident in his single “King Judah” which, according to Chingy himself, is about the Illuminati. Some posts in his Instagram account talked about conspiracy theories. He studied ancient Egyptian philosophy at the University of Kemetian Sciences and has earned degrees in astrology, cosmology, and numerology. He favoured a more humble and active lifestyle, and through his lyrics he wanted people to find their inner self.
He also attributed his withdrawal from vices to his daughter and two sons.
He released a mixtape Fulldekk Fullosiphy in May 2014. More recently, he announced in his Twitter account that he has ideas on a commercial with Holiday Inn.