Charles Hamilton

posted July 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM CDT | 24 comments

Despite its influential renaissance in the early twentieth century, as well as being home to such emcees as Big L, Black Rob and Kurtis Blow the immense amount of talent coming from the stone-cold steps of the city of Harlem, New York - once a cornucopia of artistically gifted emcees, poet laureates and lyrical treasures each leaving an ingrained workboot-like print in hardcore street rap, perhaps more so than its charismatic cousin Brooklyn – has seemingly hit a rough patch.

Although the likes of Sean Combs and The Diplomats have become the Manhattan neighborhood’s flag-bearers, the flow of gifted rappers has slowed to a sedated drip. However a new breed of rapper has emerged, climbing through the muck of pop-tart singles and clichéd hood talk to deliver an element sorely missed from Hip Hop: the unique.

For young spitkicker Charles Hamilton, “unique” has always been his mantra throughout his career. Now armed with co-signs from today’s high profile artists, the Ohio transplant plans to take his followers on a journey through his eyes.

DXnext
introduces you to the future: Charles Hamilton.

Repping
: Harlem, New York, by way of Cleveland, Ohio.

Influences: While most rappers are quick to name-drop the telltale legends of the game, Charles derives his inspirations from some unlikely musicians. “I’m more influenced by Rock and other genres than hip-hop. I’m a big Incubus, Nine Inch Nails, Modest Mouse and Marilyn Manson fan. [Coldplay’s] A Rush Of Blood To The Head was crazy. However, he doesn’t count out the rap realm just yet. “When it comes to rap, I’d have to say Eminem, early Jay-Z… remember Skee-Lo? Skee-Lo was fuckin’ dope, and a lot of people slept on his album.

On How His Music Isn’t Exactly “Music”
: “At the end of the day, rap is basically how I communicate. I don’t even call it rapping; I consider it blogging on a beat. I don’t really care to be compared to anybody because I don’t think anybody has the same stories as me.

On How Hip Hop Has Saved His Life: “I may do some things to be sarcastic or satirical, but at the end of the day if I wasn’t doing music I’d be somewhere locked up, in a mental ward or I would have committed suicide. Whatever pitfall you can imagine I’m sure I’d fallen into, so I’m blessed to be here.

And I Don’t Need A Hook For This Sheeit…: “When I rhyme on beats, I focus on making sure my sentence is clear. While a lot of cats focus on flow, I would rather be within the beat, like my lyrics are an instrument itself.

On Having One of The Greatest Rappers As A Family Member: “MC Lyte [click to read] is my cousin. I knew she was a big deal, but to me she was always Lana. I actually didn’t know how OG my cousin was until they honored her at [2006’s] Hip Hop Honors.

On Freestyling With Kanye West And The Game: “I’ve always felt that Kanye was great competition for me, and being around those two people was pretty cool. It wasn’t planned; me and Kanye were drinking Roget, and Game [click to read] was smoking wild blunts, and it just went down. It was cool that afterward we all gave each other dap: it was positive energy all the way around, even though we were all coming at each other.

On The Major Co-signs He’s Received: “DJ Green Lantern is my dude. DJ Skee [click to read] is my official deejay. I had a chance to work with my favorite rapper in the world, Eminem, and that was a dope experience. Pharrell and I are good friends… Lionel Richie came up to the studio when I was in Los Angeles, and he’s heard my music. He was like, ‘You got that swagger! You got that swagger!’ DJ Quik, [Linkin Park’s] Mike Shinoda, Crooked I [click to view]: so many people have shown support.

On Why Sonic The Hedgehog Is More Than Just A Video Game To Him: “To me, it’s not fanaticism: I take it dead serious. People laugh like, ‘Yo that was a fun game,’ but to me it’s a philosophy I came up with over time. Hedgehogs bury themselves under the ground, and sonic means ‘sound.’ So I bury myself in the sound of music, because other than that I’d have nothing. And because I stay in a positive zone, which is a state of mind, I feel that I can do anything that lives forever. It’s more than just than [hums theme song], it’s how I look at life. It sucks how people think it’s just a gimmick, kind of like the whole ‘pink’ thing. I feel like God is a woman, and pink is the color of life since pink is the color of the inside of the woman’s womb. And it takes a man to enter a woman in order to create life, and – of course – a woman had to create a man, so God is a woman.

What Makes Charles Hamilton DXNext-worthy: Mix in a bit of Kanye-level arrogance with the sensibilities of a Lupe Fiasco and an avant-garde style of lyricism, and you have one video game-philosophizing, witty yet humble, pink polo-rocking rapper from Harlem.

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