EP Review | Charles Hamilton – The Black Box

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I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about Charles Hamilton on my blog for a long ass time. First of all, he has 181 fuckin’ mixtapes, so there’s no fuckin’ way I’m doing a Charles Hamilton Marathon. Honestly, I’d never even heard any of this guy’s music until late last year. Hold up; lemme slow down and actually explain who this guy is for those of you who don’t know. Charles Hamilton was one of the first rappers to blow up through blogs. It was around 2008. He was supposed to be the next big thing. A lot of fucked up shit happened tho. Hmm. I don’t even know if I wanna talk about all this shit. It’s really complicated. Well, I guess you don’t really need me to tell you. Long story short, depression happened. If you really want to know more about who this guy is, just watch this interview…

So, yeah. He’s back from his hiatus. It sucks that shit like that happens. It seems like a lot of the best rappers always suffer from depression, which results in a long hiatus. Well, I guess he technically hasn’t really been on hiatus at all. He’s been dropping a fuck load of mixtapes. He just got dropped from his label and people stopped paying attention to him. I’m probably getting a lot of the facts wrong; all I know is that he can rap his fucking ass off. The first time I heard about him was when he randomly showed up at the BET Hip Hop Awards last year. He was in one of the cyphers, and he fuckin’ killed that shit. His verse unfortunately got kinda overshadowed by Joyner Lucas, who was also in the cypher, but he still killed it. So when I saw that I was like “WHO IS THIS GUY??” I watched his interview with DJ Vlad, and I was like “damn.” It’s always sad to hear shit like that. That shit doesn’t matter tho. I looked up a few freestyles from him, and OH MY GAWD. This fool is fucking incredible. You need to see this shit…

I think he has an album slated for a late 2016 release, so I figured I should at least check out this EP he dropped late last year to maybe get a taste of what’s coming. It was released on December 11th last year. I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s entirely self produced.

Track 1: Face The Music

This beat is dope as hell. The first verse was pretty short, but it was still really good. “My hood is gentrified so the soul is leaving / So are the people who need a reason to stay / Perhaps the finances and a chance for the sky / You have to try the manuscript of handling mine.” I’m not in love with the hook. It’s not bad enough to ruin the song tho. This beat is really dope. The second verse was dope as hell. It was really short again tho. Oh shit. It just ended. It’s not really that short of a song. I just wish he spent more time rapping and less time reciting the hook. It’s still good tho. I enjoyed this track. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 2: Crayola

Wow. This beat is fucking awesome. I don’t know how to describe it. You don’t hear a lot of beats like this. It’s kinda experimental. Kinda. Not really. There are just a lot of sounds in it that you wouldn’t hear in other songs. It’s dope af. The first verse was great. Oh shit… Damnit. This hook, man… It’s not so bad that I can’t enjoy the song. I don’t even really mind the melody that much. Charles Hamilton just doesn’t sound very good singing it. It thankfully doesn’t last as long as the one in the previous track. The second and third verses were dope. I really fuck with this one. The hook kinda hindered my enjoyment, but I think I like this track even more than the previous one. It’s really dope. I wasn’t aware that Charles Hamilton could make beats like this. This shit is dope. 4/5

Track 3: Lessons Feat. Sam Bruno

This beat isn’t as interesting as that of the previous track, but I still like it. The first verse was dope, even if some of the lines did seem a bit overdramatic. “I’d forgive him, but my heart bleeds.” Damn. I really like the way the production changes during the hook. This Sam Bruno chick sounds pretty good. The second verse wasn’t bad. This is a really emotional and dramatic song. “If there’s anything I’ve learned while living this life, it’s that there is such a thing as giving too much of yourself. I ask myself every day, but as long as when you do you have a pure heart, the universe will restore you. Say to yourself ‘this is my restoration, these are my lessons.” I don’t know about this one. I definitely don’t think it’s that bad of a song, but it’s just not really for me. The hook is a little too Pop-ish for me, and that dramatic Spoken Word interlude that I just quoted was a little corny. I understand it tho. There’s definitely not anything wrong with Charles Hamilton venting about shit like that; it’s probably good that he’s doing that considering his depression, but it’s just not something I’d wanna listen to again personally. It’s not bad tho. It’s alright to me. 3/5

Track 4: Down The Line Feat. Laurel

This beat is really dope. I don’t really mind this hook from Laurel at all. It serves it’s purpose. She kinda reminds me of Adele a little bit. Is that a fair comparison? Probably not… Whatever. The first verse was dope af. I feel like this is how you make an emotional song without it being overdramatic and corny. The production probably has a lot to do with that. It’s a simple, piano-driven beat. It’s not overproduced. The second verse was dope af. “I knew you niggas would think Sonic was some lame shit / But he was all I had as a lame kid / And my theory was based on the ancient / But y’all know better than me, so I don’t say shit.” I don’t really have any problems with this one. I think this is a really good track. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This EP is great. It kinda left me wanting more, but that’s to be expected from an EP with only four tracks. At this point I just wanna see what he can do with a full length album. I think he’s a really talented producer. He’s just a really good songwriter. I wasn’t really expecting it to sound like this. He didn’t just get a bunch of dope beats and wrap over them. You can tell he actually put effort into making these feel like complete songs. The only complaint I have with this project is that I just wish the verses were longer. I probably just feel that way since I’m spoiled from hearing half-hour long freestyles from him. Anyway, I don’t think this is an amazing or mind blowing project by any means. I enjoyed it tho. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Down The Line

Least Favorite Song: Lessons




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