Thursday, May 11, 2023

"Owwww!" by Chunky A

Song#:  4122
Date:  12/02/1989
Debut:  96
Peak:  77
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Rap, Comedy, Novelty

Pop Bits:  In 1989, comedian/actor Arsenio Hall began his six season run hosting The Arsenio Hall Show. The program was an immediate success upon its January 3, 1989, premiere. It was during that first season of the show that Hall developed an alter ego character based off of popular rap artists like Heavy D. and The Fat Boys. Hall donned a fat suit and became rapper Chunkston Arthur Hall, aka Chunky A. Hall would end up securing a deal with MCA Records and would write/co-produce a Chunky A debut album titled Large and in Charge. This first single would be issued out and while the video got some attention on MTV, the song fizzled low on the Pop chart while reaching #23 R&B. A second single, "Sorry," would only make it to #91 R&B. With those results, the album would only get to #71 Pop/#41 R&B. While Hall's TV show would continue to be successful, the lack of interest in Chunky A led him to retire the character.

ReduxReview:  I wasn't a fan of Hall or his TV show, so it was not surprising that I had no idea about Chunky A. Frankly, I would have been fine to never know about this, alas I had to cover the single for this project. I can understand that when the limelight shines on someone, they need to capitalize on the moment while they can, which for many celebrities is to branch out into music. While some legitimately do well, others should have selected to do something else. Hall definitely should have tried something else. Setting aside the awful concept and fat jokes, which would not play well these day, Hall's material just wasn't funny. Several rap artists already effectively included humorous elements in their work, so if you are a comedian who wants to send up or satirize those artists, you really have to double down and be excessively clever and Hall didn't get there. It was juvenile humor at best that might make a young teenager chuckle. All Hall did with the Chunky A project was demonstrate how to go from comedy to tragedy in a short few minutes. Yes, I know I'm hard on novelty tracks, but c'mon. This is supposed to be funny and it couldn't even elicit a minor chuckle or crack of a smile from me.

ReduxRating:  0/10

Trivia:  Thanks to the success of his TV show, Hall had access to celebrities and he took advantage of that for his Chunky A album. He was able to secure a few vocal cameos from the likes of Paula Abdul, Ice-T, Troop, and others. For "Owwww!," he was able to not only use a sample of Cameo's hit "Word Up," but also have them appear in the song's video. For the song "Ho Is Lazy," Hall got clearance to use samples from the Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy."


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