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.