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Hurricane Chris: 51/50 Ratchet

Hurricane Chris: 51/50 Ratchet

Label:Polo Grounds/J
Release Date:2007
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Al Shipley | Posted 12/5/2007

Hurricane Chris is one the many young Southern rappers to debut this year with a hit song so singularly catchy that they're instantly labeled a one-hit wonder, follow-up be damned. His "A Bay Bay" is the summer's most naggingly repetitive hit, with the better and more airplay-worthy "The Hand Clap" left in its shadow. Both are rapped in the 18-year-old Hurricane's shrill, nasal voice, something that seems to come naturally to rappers from Louisiana, in the tradition of New Orleans' Lil Wayne and Baton Rouge's Lil Boosie.

Hurricane is from Shreveport, and his debut, 51/50 Ratchet, is named for that city's "ratchet music" sound. And while it's not entirely clear what distinguishes ratchet music from a dozen other Southern rap subgenres, the half of the album produced by the style's primary architect, Earl "Phunk Dawg" Williams, buzzes with energy and, frequently, buzzing synths. Hurricane Chris' attempt at singing the hook on the breakup song "Leaving You" is ill-considered, but the song is saved by both Phunk Dawg's burbling keyboard riff and Hurricane's self-deprecating jokes about his own one-trick-pony rep: "'A Bay Bay,' I say that in every phrase/ this supposed to be a sad song, but I said 'A Bay Bay.'" And while Hurricane drops more witty punch lines than any ringtone-rap cynic might expect, he's yet to use his offbeat voice as appealingly as Lil Boosie, who shows up at the album's end for the all-star remix of "A Bay Bay" and single-handedly steals the spotlight with his own inimitable screech.

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