Chamillionaire is an African American rapper from Houston, Texas. His birth name is Hakeem Seriki and he was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. He was raised in a strict, conventional household and was the eldest of four siblings. His parents taught him good values and he worked several jobs as a teenager to support his family, including working at a temp agency, transporting blood and urine for a medical lab, and passing out fliers and promoting for clubs. He first began rapping with his friend Paul Wall and the two met DJ Michael “5000” Watts, who was a popular mixtape DJ from Houston. Watts owned a company called Swishahouse and he invited the duo to rap on his radio show on the Houston based radio station KBXX-FM.
Their rap became so popular that the they soon released a tape of their records and became permanent members of Swishahouse. Seriki adopted the stage name of Chamillionaire (which is a combination of “chameleon” and “millionaire”) and started a group with Paul Wall by the name of The Color Changin’ Click. In 2002, they released an album by the name of “Get Ya Mind Correct” which sold 150,000 copies and was nominated for independent album of the year in 2002 by “The Source” magazine.
They also performed at performed at the SXSW music festival in 2004. In 2005, Chamillionaire released his first solo album titled “The Sound of Revenge”. The album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 album chart but did not climb any higher on the charts. However, the single “Ridin” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and its video was named “Best Rap Video” at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The following year he won he won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance for the same song.
He then followed this album with “Mixtape Messiah 2” in 2006, “Mixtape Messiah 3” and “Ultimate Victory” in July 2007 and “Mixtape Messiah 4” in 2008. His album “Ultimate Victory” was notable for being one of the few rap albums for being entirely free of profanity. In December 2009 he announced on his website that he would be releasing a new mixtape called “Major Pain” in 2010 and the first song titled “The Main Event” was available for free download via iTunes in honor of the 2010 NBA All-Star Game taking place in Dallas, Texas. His album “Venom” was initially set to be released in 2009 but the launch was later cancelled as he left Universal Records.
In addition to music, Chamillionaire has been involved in several business ventures. In 2003, he invested in a Houston based auto dealer called “Fly Rydes” that specializes in customizing cars. His business partner for this venture was Big Ernest. He also established his own record label called “Chamillitary Entertainment” after parting ways with Universal Records in 2011. Other business ventures include a model management agency called ”Masterpiece Mind Frame” which helps people who want to enter the modelling industry to establish themselves in the business. He also owns a tour bus company, with the buses being equipped with amenities such as cable, DVD, internet, studio, surround sound and showers.
Chamillionaire is known for his concern with social issues and the powerful messages he sends via his music. He aims to make meaningful music and not just churn out records for the purpose of making money. After leaving Universal, he is currently working on a new album.