Who is Chamillionaire, and what did he contribute to music?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hakeem Seriki was born in Houston, Texas, and changed his name to Chamillionaire when he began his career as a rapper. The name, of course, is a combination of the words "chameleon" and "millionaire." Clearly he had intentions of making a lot of money even from the beginning. 

He recorded many of his albums with other artists, but he continued to find a following. He also continually had strife with his record labels. In fact, one of the albums he was about to release (entitled Venom) never made it to market because he split with his label and they refused to let him release anything he recorded while he was with that label. 

Chamillionaire is perhaps most known for his Mixtape Messiah series. "Weird Al" Yankovic parodied one of the rapper's songs; he called it "White & Nerdy." One of Chamillionaire's tracks, "Grind Time," was also featured on the NBA Live 06 video game. In 2006, he won the Best New Artist Award at the BET Awards. 

While he has had a lot of success in the music industry, what Chamillionaire is perhaps best known for is his extreme entrepreneurship. In 2003, he in vested in Fly Rydes, a Houston-based automobile company specializing in customizing cars. He began this venture both to make some money and to gain some exposure for his brand. 

Chamillionaire has also started a model management agency called Masterpiece Mind Frame. He hopes to give a chance to the people who have something to offer the world and have dreams and ambitions but do not quite know how to make it happen. He says:

[I]t’s called Masterpiece Mind Frame because in the word mind frame, your MIND comes before your frame. Print modeling can turn into movies and other stuff, and you can just step all the way up the ladder. It’s like that with males and females, and if you’re trying to go somewhere, just walk up the ladder, you know, and take it to the next step.

The rapper also owns a tour bus company, and most of the buses are equipped with cable, DVD, internet, studio, surround sound and a shower. In 2009, he and Quincy Jones III launched something called the Global Innovation Tournament held annually at Stanford University. It is part of the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar Series. 

His most personal enterprise is his own record label, Chamillitary Entertainment, following his continual troubles with record labels in his career. A quick glance at the company's website shows that he is using it as a marketing tool for his own music and products, of course; however, he also provides news articles about entrepreneurial issues and how to make the most of what you have. The articles are mostly inspiring and encouraging, no doubt aimed at the young people who listen to his music and need some inspiration to follow their own dreams. 

Chamillionaire is still based in Texas and is said to have a net worth of $15,000,00.