El Chronicle de Houston went long Sunday on local rapper-payaso Chingo Bling, who rated not only the cover of the once-fusty Zest section (“Chingo Bling Gets His Shine On”---some hep talk, that) but also was accorded a blurb that ran higher on the front page than that recurring one with the odd full-body shot of the paper’s nebbishy SciGuy (who may indeed have the “sharpest” eye on all things hurricane but lacks the true mad gleam necessary to whip up a genuine panic).
The Chingo Bling profile took the typically happy-ass and unquestioning approach the newspaper takes to almost all its profile subjects, including Death Row inmates. Nevertheless, there were some interesting facts in the story (we assume they were facts---if that turns out not to be the case, please disregard this posting), which was occasioned by last week’s release of Mr. Bling’s big-label debut, They Can't Deport Us All, on Asylum Records/Warner Music Group (the “Asylum” label apparently having changed a bit since it was home to Jackson Browne).
One would assume that the use of the first-person plural in the CD’s title means that Mr. Bling is residing in the United States illegally and thus subject to deportation (uh huh, right) by the “they” to which he vaguely refers, although the subject of his citizenship or lack thereof is skirted throughout the entire longish newspaper article (not that it would be relevant, of course, when you call your CD They Can't Deport Us All). That’s par for the course at El Chronicle, where the question of a person’s standing as legal or illegal, which is at least occasionally relevant to whatever proceedings are at hand, is almost always avoided, unless he or she has gotten shit-faced and killed three people in a car wreck.
But another item hints that Mr. Bling, whose real name is Pedro Herrera III and whose parents, according to El Chronicle, “Came to the U.S. from Valle Hermosa, Mexico,” is probably a citizen in good standing: The newspaper relates that Pedro III is a graduate of Trinity University* in San Antonio “with a degree in business administration and a concentration in marketing.” So much for the street cred.
Whatever his status, this revelation strongly suggests that Mr. Bling’s us-vs.-them La Raza bullshit is simply a clever marketing ploy designed to relieve the gullible of their $18.95 or however much a CD runs these days, in advance of Pedro III’s eventual move to West University Place or River Oaks, depending on sales (parking on the lawn is prohibited in both locations, however).
One important matter regarding Pedro III went unaddressed by El Chronicle, that being the meaning of his nom de rap. As all Leon Hale readers know, bling is the gaudy jewelry and other shiny consumer items associated with the hip-hop lifestyle, while chingo, as any schoolboy in Houston can tell you, is a bad word, a form of the verb chingar, to fuck, although chingar has so may uses and variations and meanings and shades of meanings that Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz---no relation to future Nobel winner Chingo Bling---actually undertook to address that subject in his exploration of the Mexican mind, Labyrinth of Solitude.
Since “I fuck bling” makes no sense, at least to us, we turned to the authoritative Urban Dictionary (hell, it’s as authoritative as anything else these days), which defines chingo as a “large amount” or, similarly, a “fuckload.”
OK, that’s better: A fuckload of bling.
*Awarded the No. 1 ranking by U.S. News & World Report in the category of institutions that offer undergraduate and select master’s programs in the Western part of the United States.
Related: Local blogger fills in the blanks for the daily paper's new teen columnist.