Chinx Interview With DJ Envy
There isn’t too much more to say about the passing of Chinx (fka Chinx Drugz, née Lionel Pickens) that hasn’t already been said or that can’t be Googled. When a prominent figure in Hip-Hop dies, all of the retrospectives, think-pieces, conspiracy theories (this is just disrespectful smh), tributes, and hearsay flood all corners of the Internets, some from people who knew him and some from people who didn’t. I’m one of those people who didn’t know him personally, but I’ve always followed his career since I was in high school, and it definitely hit me when I heard the news.
Back in the early 2000’s my friends were big fans of Stack Bundles (RIP as well), but to be completely honest he was pretty lukewarm to me at the time. I much preferred tracks that featured members of his Riot Squad crew, as one member in particular stood out to me–Chinx Drugz. Unfortunately, he wasn’t on many tracks (I later found out that was because of his nearly five year long incarceration). When Stack Bundles’ (who I actually grew to like a lot more over the years) life came to an untimely end at the wrong side of a gun barrel and the members of Riot Squad said they’d keep pushing on in Stack’s memory, proclaiming “Riot Squad Forever!” and the like, the cynic in me said “Yeah, right.”
Stack was the most visible of the crew, and so often in Hip-Hop you see the fates of the whole crew hinge upon the successes or failures of their star. When you hit the head, the body crumbles. See Junior M.A.F.I.A. after Biggie was killed, Terror Squad after Big Pun passed, Murda Inc. after Ja Rule fell off, D-12 after Eminem’s hiatus, etc. Riot Squad was nowhere near the level of the aforementioned crews, so I immediately thought well damn, guess we’ll never hear from those guys again.
I was wrong. I started seeing the name of that guy I liked on the old Stack Bundles songs pop up online. I saw that he linked up with French Montana, dropped “Drugz” from his name for mainstream acceptance, and eventually they formed Coke Boys, and I always checked for his music. I didn’t like everything, as his style changed up to fit the times, but I was impressed that he was doing something that is rarely done in Hip-Hop. He reinvented himself, helped to cultivate and develop a new sound, and put himself in position to be a major artist for years to come. He went from being a D-list mixtape rapper turned jailbird to a burgeoning star who could hold his own alongside the likes of Diddy, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, and even the Kardashians. He had some serious bangers for the whip too, as records like “Couple Niggaz” and “Feelings” got consistent rotation in my car to get me amped up for work. I thought it was real cool–dare I say inspirational–that he was able to do all that.
It is said that he signed a major deal three months ago and was working on his official debut, and I must say that I was looking forward to watching his career progress. It saddens me that his story was cut short, but Chinx left us with lots to look back on, so let’s do that.