Chopper City In The Ghetto was B.G.’s fourth solo album, all of which had been released under the Cash Money Records imprint.
Chopper City in The Ghetto is his highest-selling album by far. B.G. (Christopher Dorsey) was a veteran member of Cash Money’s roster and had previously released group albums (with Lil Wayne & The Hot Boys), in addition to solo albums like Chopper City and It’s All On U (Volumes 1 & 2).
Dorsey already had a cult-like following in New Orleans, but CCITG would be his initial entrance into the mainstream. The label itself capitalized on a growing buzz thanks to Juvenile’s 400 Degreez album and their subsequent record deal with Universal. Chopper City In The Ghetto was released on April 20th, 1999.
Like all Cash Money Records albums of this era, Chopper City In The Ghetto was produced entirely by Mannie Fresh. The label’s in-house producer made every beat and composed every track on the album.
Chopper City In The Ghetto was released on April 20th, 1999. It was B.G.’s fourth solo album with Cash Money Records and his sixth total (counting group albums). It was the second release of the Chopper City series, with his original Chopper City album released three years prior, in 1996.
B.G.s album sold over 1.8 million copies in the U.S, with 140,000 of those sales coming in the first week.
The album featured label-mates Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Turk, Birdman, and Mannie Fresh. Cash Money albums were often limited to in-house features, and this album did not stray from its policy.
Birdman and Slim (the label owners) preferred to cut costs on unnecessary features, especially when they possessed enough elite-level talent on their own roster to keep fans engaged.
The album featured two singles: Bling Bling and Cash Money is an Army. Bling Bling is the most commercially accessible song on the album and the record most responsible for the album’s platinum certification.
The song features the entire Cash Money roster (at the time), which led to confusion about which album it was released on. For example, Hot 97 host Peter Rosenberg mistakenly attributed the song to Juvenile’s 400 Degreez album.
In contrast, Cash Money is an Army had a more cult-like following among hip-hop fans and was later referenced by other artists such as Jay-Z.
Having been recorded simultaneously as other Cash Money Records projects, which records ended up on which albums were not always planned. You’ll notice half of the tracks include at least one other member of the Cash Money roster.
In theory, these songs could have ended up on various projects from Juvenile, The Hot Boy$, and The Big Tymers. Mannie Fresh indicated that he chose to include Bling Bling on B.G.’s project to contrast the artist’s street image.
The label felt a crossover track like Bling Bling would allow the album to reach a wider audience. Though Dorsey already had a cult-like following, the decision to include Bling Bling expanded his market reach.
Mannie Fresh produced albums of this era with the SP 1200. He is also believed to have used various keyboards along with live instrumentation.
Chopper City In The Ghetto only uses one known sample: Space is the Place by Jonzun Crew. The sample was used in Bling Bling.
As a general rule, Mannie Fresh did not use samples in his beats so that the label would not have to pay royalties. Fresh found creative ways of maneuvering around this rule using samples of his own beats and one-shot sound fx.
Ranking Among Other B.G. Albums
Though it’s B.G.’s most successful album commercially, Chopper City In The Ghetto is not considered his best album. That’s hardly an indictment of the record, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews.
B.G.’s standing as a cult-like figure in the New Orleans hip-hop scene positioned his previous releases as classics and, therefore, superior albums in his fans’ minds. The original Chopper City is considered his best album.