If you’re thinking to yourself if this is the same Charles Hamilton from a half a decade ago, you’d be right. At one point in time Charles Hamilton was one of the most hyped and talked about new rappers in the game. Talked about in the same breath as Kendrick, Cole, and Wale. I don’t know if it was drugs or the pressures of fame and expectations, but he had a major breakdown and stepped away from the music; seemingly retiring. That is until last year, when he popped back up out of nowhere and announced his return, even getting a song onto Empire. Now he was never really my style but I did recognize his talent, and I knew he had a pretty serious following so I was willing to give Hamilton, Charles a chance.
“They said I can’t rap about being dark no more
They ain’t say I can’t rap about Charles no more
Gettin’ doped up in Baltimore
Eatin’ every rapper til there are no more”
The overall feel of Hamilton, Charles is an uplifting one. The production is noticeably upbeat; full of bright, bouncy beats that evoke positive vibes. It’s definitely a sound that stands in stark contrast to the current landscape of dark, lo-fi production. I don’t know if he produced all the songs here, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Majority of the songs share the same backbone of expansive pianos and blaring horns. “Oh Well”, “Everyone”, and “Man’s World” are all real standouts from the album. The production on Hamilton, Charles is fairly well done, but I don’t know what it is, I just can’t shake the feeling that it feels a bit dated.
“I guess it was destiny to elect him to be in the presidency to ensure we could never be free
I’m not an activist
I just actively have a crap to give
My rapping gift was a divine accident”
If I was to describe his overall style, I would probably compare him as a less melodic B.o.B. He’s very unorthodox and frequently switches between rapping and singing. With his singing being far less polished than his rapping. On a technical level Charles is a very good lyricist; he has clever punch lines and some seriously dope verses, BUT, his delivery is atrocious to me. It’s something that I’ve never been able to get past with him. He delivers everything in a monotone dictation that sounds more like he’s speaking than actually rapping, and it falls very flat on the ears. It’s an album lacking in the flair and style of his peers, that unfortunately makes everything come off as far less interesting than it actually is.
Have you heard Hamilton, Charles? What’d you think about it? Were you a fan of his before? Did it live up to the hype? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.