A few years ago while in Massachusetts attending a regional fraternity meeting a few Frat Brothers and I decided to hang out and do some catching up. During the car ride a discussion about music came up and during that discussion someone mentioned that I dabbled in the occasional freestyle. Before I knew it an instrumental was being played and just like that a cipher was born!
One Frat , Louis Harris from Boston, happened to be an up and coming artists by the name of Charmingly Ghetto. That night would be the first time I heard him spit a rhyme! I knew at that moment this was not your ordinary cookie cut rapper! His content is symbolic of the role Hip Hop played in it’s Golden years when there was always some sort of a jewel or a lesson being learned. He mixes a slew of lyrical ability with his own unique world view. There are many artists out there but few have a sound totally their own! I can honestly say that CG is a part of that talented few! When I got word that he was working on an a new project “The Opening Act: The Birth of an MC” I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down and pick his brain!
“There are a lot of great MCs out there on the come up and those
who create timeless and diverse music will be the ones that thrive”-C.G.
Sundiata: I want to start from the beginning .. Tell me about how you were raised and
CG: Well my Brother where do I start. I was raised in the inner city of Boston -
a city with many faces. Historically, a national landmark but in a
contemporary sense still a city faced with “old way racism” displacing those
that look and live like you and me at a disadvantage from the jump. I grew
up a product of two existences: being given a glimpse at what could have
been attained as well as dealing with the day to day struggle of a young
Black youth. I was raised in a stable house hold that believed in bettering
my mind enabling me to take advantage of the spoils of the world, yet remain
humble and grounded within the stark reality around me.
Sundiata: What were some of the musical influences in your child hood?
CG: I would definitely say I grew up listening to the music my parents would
play, ranging from classic dancehall to classical music. I just learned to
love the sounds of instruments, musical arrangements and tight lyrics. As I
grew older, I was exposed to genres like rock and hip hop from my older
cousin, and my love an adoration from the art grew from there.
Sundiata: Who was your favorite artist as you were growing up?
CG: I feel like my favorite artist growing up was Busta Rhymes. The charisma,
creativity and science that he dropped when he flowed was crazy to me. I
never thought an artist could encompass so many different styles and aspects
in their rhyme scheme…”When Disaster Strikes” created a monster lets
say…shout out to Busta and the whole Flipmode most definitely.
Sundiata: What made you choose the name you have and did you have any other names?
CG: The name Charmingly Ghetto is derived from WEB DuBois’ social
theory/commentary of the “double conciousness”. It basically sums up the
duality of the life we lead here in America as people of color and the
struggle within ourselves created by outside forces. Its also how I define
myself; sort of a “jack of all trades” who can navigate through this
wilderness while preserving myself, my culture and my values.
Sundiata: When did you know you wanted to rhyme?
CG: I wanted to rhyme when I just saw the reactions of people when they could
see you could create something so dope and so fresh and really feel it in their core. That’s what has always driven me to continue to create more and
more; the excitement from the direct mental stimulation.
Sundiata: Did you have a group of EMCEEs around you when you were growing up?
CG: I did; luckily enough in my high school I came together with a group of my
friends and classmates that connected by way of creating a “Rhyme Book” we
would all share and take jabs at each other back and forth in. That
definitely helped honed my skills when writing lyrics and developing
Sundiata: Were you in a lot of cyphers or were you more of a writer or solo spitter?
CG: I rocked with my people on the MIC, in ciphers, etc. My dude Static and I
had a group that garnered attention and rocked shows from Boston to when I
was out at UMASS Amherst. We still are good friends and intend on working
together in the future. My recent pursuit of the music has really been a
soul search for me as I entered this world after college of really defining
myself and showing people who I am.
“I believe my music is a collage of what I have experienced, what I wish I
never experienced and what I hope to be blessed to experience.”-C.G.
Sundiata: How do you feel about the art of storytelling do you think its a lost art?
CG: I never feel like there is anything that is lost. You just may have to go
elsewhere and find it. I mean that you have to derive inspiration from
somewhere to develop lyrics and content in your rhymes that can blossom. I
do feel as though many rappers just aren’t taking a minute to find that
motivation or be moved by thought, whether it is by reading a book,
listening to other art forms; even analyzing visual art and creating
meaning. I mean shit, read a newspaper – that’s probably the easiest step.
Sundiata: Are your songs a culmination of what you been through in your life if not
CG: I believe my music is a collage of what I have experienced, what I wish I
never experienced and what I hope to be blessed to experience. Its art, and
Allah has given me the paintbrush and I will just develop off of what is
within my mind. As I alluded to in the previous question – the inspiration
is the primary drive.
Sundiata: Who are you working with in the studio?
CG: I have been working with a number of different producers – both national and
international. Most recently I have been working with a production team out
if ATL, by the name of Introspective Minds. Talented brothers indeed. We are
collaborating on future projects and just recently collabed on a new single
entitled “1 More Rhyme”. Joint is fire. Stay tuned for more info regarding
the production collabs as time moves forward.
Sundiata: Any collaborations?
CG: As of right now, I’m identifying a couple of collaborative efforts in the
works. I recently collabed on a track with an MC out of New York that has
been making noise for a while by the name of K. Sparks. Great person to look
up to and work with, and I am honored. But hey, if an artist or I can vibe
on a track, lets get it!
Sundiata: How do you feel or what is your opinion about the State of hip hop and the
state of Music in general?
CG: I feel like hip hop needs to just keep creating and keep pushing its own
boundaries. There are a lot of great MCs out there on the comeup and those
who create timeless and diverse music will be the ones that thrive. Simple
as that. Music is and will always be music – an outlet for those that listen
to it as well as those that create it. So I guess music is doing just fine.
Sundiata: What do you hope to accomplish with your album or your music?
CG: I hope to allow people to be moved by the words I say; I hope to develop and
hone the ability to move and control the crowd; I hope to grow out of the
experiences that I have as I learn about myself and the industry more and
more. Success in a number of different ways is what I wish to accomplish.
Sundiata: What is the message your trying to deliver?
CG: My message is clear: I have questions, knowledge, style, and flair to share.
(Boom just hit em with a rhyme in the same sentence. Haha.)
Sundiata: What is your dream collabo?
CG: Man listen I might jinx it, but I’d be honored to collab with an artist like
Styles P. He is definitely a beast on the mic, but I feel like he’d have so
much knowledge and humility to share with me that I could grow and learn
from. Watch out for that collab around this same time in 2012 (the world
better not be over by then…)
Sundiata: Young Brother. I wish you the best!