Rapper Chuckie Campbell has made a name for himself as being one of the few hip hop artists from Western New York to be noticed on a global scale. His unique quick-fire style of rapping and generally un-hip hop backing tracks reflect a different sensibility about what the genre can look like, and his pensive and thought-provoking lyrics quickly expose him as the great writer he is.
In addition to being a rapper, Chuckie Campbell writes short stories and poetry and has founded an online arts and literature magazine called Sunsets and Silencers, which gives new writers and artists to submit their work and be published. His passion is clearly centered around the written and spoken word based both on his lyrics and his other projects.
Chuckie Campbell exploded onto the scene in 2013 with his unconventional single The Streets, and the song attracted instant attention. It gained the most overall votes in the Grammys Amplifier Contest with over 95,000 hits, more than any other artist who entered the contest across all genres. He then released Synesthesia as part of his full-length album More Die of Heartbreak, along with a corresponding video. This single really showcased his thought-provoking lyrics, discussing the futility of creating false divisions between race, color and creed.
Synesthesia and The Streets made the music industry stand up and take notice of Chuckie Campbell, and he swept the All WNY Music Awards in 2014 for Best Hip Hop/Rap Performer and Best New Artist. Well-known rap and R&B artists wanted to work with Campbell well before the awards and accolades, as Wu-Tang’s Cappadonna and Solomon Childs, Block McCloud and Cole Jonique were featured on More Die of Heartbreak. Since its release, the album has also been positively reviewed by The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Young Hollywood.
More Die of Heartbreak is comprised almost entirely of unconventional rap ballads. Though the album has a truly urban feel, it is Campbell’s interpretation of urban, through the lens of Buffalo and Western New York. His musical influences are not only hip hop and R&B but classical music, country, pop ballads and rock. The music which backs his unique fast-pitch and soft-spoken lyrics adds yet another interesting twist to his already unconventional sound.
Though More Die of Heartbreak has been out for almost a year, Chuckie Campbell recently released a video for the single All I Meant, featuring Cole Jonique. A slightly less musically intense track than others on the album, All I Meant puts all its fire in Campbell’s lyrics, which are about the drama and heartache which can ensue from a toxic relationship and the pain of walking away. The video mirrors the song, flashing back and forth between a lonely man in a train yard and scenes of him arguing with his partner. Though very fast, Campbell’s lyrics are well-written and thoughtful, and Cole Jonique’s chorus adds a wistful and melancholy feeling to which anyone who has been through a bad breakup can relate. The single is a great way to bring listeners’ attention back to More Die of Heartbreak. Fans were already hoping for a new album, and the video for All I Meant plus Campbell’s impending national tour will bring them to fever pitch, as well as gaining him many more new listeners.
Chuckie Campbell’s aim seems to be to bring good writing back to the medium of hip hop, as well as to tell the story of the new hip hop, which has room for all races, creeds, and even genres of music. He fuses classical music, country and pop, all while spitting fast yet thoughtful and well-written lyrics over whatever genre strikes his fancy. Chuckie Campbell’s More Die of Heartbreak can be streamed on his Soundcloud page, listed below in the Sources, and it appears as though All I Meant and a few other tracks are also available for free download. The album can be purchased in full on iTunes or Amazon. Campbell’s next tour will begin sometime in early 2015.
Review by Layla Klamt