In the late 2000s, Shreveport, Louisiana rapper Hurricane Chris scored the platinum hit “A Bay Bay,” a shoe deal with Fila and the best selling ringtone in the country. At the time “A Bay Bay” producer Mr. Collipark was the king of “snap music,” a critically derided subgenre accused of watering hip-hop down into rhymed jingles from artists known to quickly fade away. A millionaire before 18, Chris followed his successful single with minor ones including “Halle Berry (She's Fine),” but his second album, 2009’s Unleashed, failed to chart. In 2010, Chris left Sony’s Polo Grounds imprint (now home to the likes of A$AP Rocky) and retreated from music. Many assumed his career rightfully fizzled out. He silently endured insults. Novelty rapper. Talentless. Has-been. But that’s not the whole story.
Chris’s teenage success was dramatic, sudden, and dangerous. Now 27 years old, he concedes without getting into specifics that he suddenly found himself doing things he’d promised he never would. He struggled to navigate the music business and spent months on the road with limited adult guidance. His days were spent blowing money and pushing away at his moral compass. What the public doesn’t know is that Chris retreated from music on his own terms. Hurricane gave birth to a son and wanted to prioritize family.
After three years off, Chris is returning to music on his own terms. In 2014, he released “Ratchet” with fellow Louisianian Boosie Badazz and dropped the gratifying Hurricane Season mixtape last year. With a clear head and full creative control of his sound, he spoke about the reality of sudden fame as one of rap’s first viral artists.
You were one of the first stars to go viral on the internet. Did you have an understanding of the web at the time?
Hurricane Chris: I had zero understanding of the importance of the internet. When they were trying to make me do Myspace, I was like, “What the fuck? Get out of my face with this shit. I don’t want to do this shit.” I told him to let my media guy do it, and the media guy did it, and I didn’t even really fuck with Myspace. That’s why you realize Soulja Boy took off on the internet, he got it, he understood it. He was the young kid that understood the internet. All of the ideas that I was lazy on, he was like, “Hell yeah, I want to do all of that.” He was the young energetic kid that was like “hell yeah, let’s do it.” They used to just hold the camera in his face all day and he didn’t mind doing that stuff.