150 Pop Stars' Real Names
Chamillionaire Jonathan Mannion

After many public gripes with Universal Records, Texas rapper Chamillionaire has finally parted ways with the label.

According to Chamillionaire, the label wanted to make him more"pop" and wanted him to recreate his biggest hit to date,"Ridin Dirty." "I think nowadays labels feel rap doesn't sell that much, pop does. So what they are doing is they are trying to turn rappers into that," he told Billboard.com's The Juice."'You infiltrated pop culture with 'Ridin Dirty,' now do it again.' That's what they wanted me to be, and if I came in with something that was more me, they wouldn't support. But 'Ridin Dirty' wasn't a pop record - it was myself."

Chamillionaire, who got his start along former partner Paul Wall, says it got to the point where he made a conscious decision to just not put music out if it meant compromising his vision. "It got to the point where I just refused to put out a project if it wasn't going to be right. I decided to pause - I went cold. I knew if I did that I had a better chance of getting off [the label]," he says. "I was fighting against this company and it was just an abusive relationship. It wasn't beneficial for either of us."

Moving forward, Chamillionaire says his plan is to go the independent route and "gain the confidence of the consumers" by giving content directly to the fans and applying his own innovative ways to make money. "I have a better way to monetize - I have a plan and that's why I don't want to bash my major [label] all day. I don't hate [Universal] and I'm glad they let me out [of my deal] because I have an innovative way to [make money now]."

While the details to his "plan" are still under wraps, Chamillionaire did reveal he will host two Ustream sessions tomorrow (Jan 14) on his channel, ustream.tv/chamillionare at 6:30 CST and another at 9:30 CST. During that chat, he will let fans know what the status of his oft-delayed third album "Venom" is, and will talk about his upcoming panelist gig at this year's SXSW event.

"I'm just an artist that makes good music and has a good idea to make money off of that," Chamillionaire says."I know how to think outside of the box and be creative. I have some ideas for things nobody's done before, and some are ideas bigger than me that I might be able to pull off, maybe."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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