Born Lionel Pickens in Queens, New York, Chinx, also known as Chinx Drugz, began paving his musical path at an early age. Surrounded and influenced by some of the greats of our era, his prospective gave a very clear outlook, “I don’t want to fit in,” he says. “I want people to respect my music. I have the drive to be original and to stay true to who I am as a person and as an artist, and not create a gimmick with my artistry.”
Listening to artists like 2 Pac & NWA on the West Coast, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, Biggie and Nas on the East, growing up Chinx wanted to emulate the freedom of expression that his favorite artists embodied with their lyrics. Raised in Far Rockaway, he was surrounded by a level of poverty that drove people into drugs, the ghetto and the streets. While divulging into that lifestyle personally, music gave him an outlet to convey his experiences, his fears and his ambition. That same ambition drove him as a father and as a musician.
During the early years of his career, Chinx formed a friendship with the late Stack Bundles, also from Far Rockaway. The two created The Riot Squad and continued to record together for several years. In 2005 Chinx was incarcerated and it was during his time inside that Bundles lost his life. His death was heavy not just for Chinx but for fans everywhere, that had a profound respect and admiration for Stack Bundles as a person and as a musician. As personal as this loss was, it awakened the musical child in Chinx, who didn’t want the legacy that Bundles had built over the years to disappear with his death. When Chinx was released from prison, he started focusing on really making an impact with his music. Meeting French Montana through Stack Bundles’ close friend Max B, the two fashioned a genuine alliance. “We were making music together at Max’s house,” Chinx says about first working with French.
“I guess they say real recognizes real, and what is understood doesn’t need to be explained. We never talked about doing business on any level, we just kept recording after Max got locked up and we were just putting out the music that we were making.”
The work that was released generated a wave that grew to become the Coke Boys movement.
With the release of his “I’m A Coke Boy” record featuring French Montana in 2012, Chinx created a wave that perpetuated his popularity not only in the United States, but internationally as well, and solidified his position in the music industry.
Produced by Harry Fraud (who also produced for Mac Miller, French Montana, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa) “I’m a Coke Boy” was released on Chinx’s ‘Cocaine Riot 2’ mix tape, and was embraced by media, tastemakers, and most importantly his fans, with positive reviews all across. The song quickly became a club favorite and in January 2013 Funkmaster Flex premiered “I’m A Coke Boy Remix” on Hot97 with verses from Rick Ross and Puff Daddy, which took over New York radio for the best part of the year.
Along with other members of the Coke Boys, Chinx has been a part of several projects including the Coke Boys mix tape series, with the last edition receiving rave reviews online from magazines like The Fader, XXL, Complex, Vibe, Rap Radar and many more. Independently, Chinx has also dropped his own mix tape trilogy titled “Cocaine Riot 1,2,3,4, &5” along with a EP titled “I’ll Take It From Here”
Chinx was one of NYC’s most promising up and coming rappers when he was slain on May 17th 2015. He was just about to release his debut album,“Welcome to JFK”, when senseless violence stopped his life. The album was close to completion, and with the determination of his team to see his vision through, it was released in August that same year (featuring timeless street anthems that included “On Your Body”, “YAY”, “Go Get It”, “How To Get Rich” and “Die Young”), giving fans and new listeners a chance to see more of the heartfelt talent Chinx was poised to give to the world. The album was well received by fans and critically acclaimed by the industry, covered by outlets such as Pitchfork and XXL, among others. Features include Ty Dolla Sign, Stack Bundles, Jeremih, Meet Sims, Lil Durk, Nipsey Hussle, French Montana, & Zack.
A little over a year after Chinx’s untimely death, Four Kings Productions released a second album from Chinx, titled “Legends Never Die”, on September 16, 2016. Chinx’s manager, and album executive producer, Doug “Biggs” Ellison says, "Legends Never Die is yet another example of the incredible talent that was Lionel Pickens. It is such an honor to uphold his legacy, and continue to bring his musical dreams to fruition. This project embodies the street chronicles that Chinx was known for, and displays his ability to satisfy what we consider mainstream. Chinx will live on forever through his music, and is truly exemplifying a legendary status under the worst of circumstances."
The highly anticipated, second posthumous album features French Montana, Movado, Chrisette Michele, Bynoe, Stack Bundles, and Meet Sims, and includes singles “All Good” “For The Love “ “legendary” and “Match That”.
With plans to release a new album, going back to the roots of where it all started, “CR6” is already in the works! The new project continues to prove Chinx’s music will live on forever, because legends never die.