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Charles Hamilton, Normalcy [REVIEW]

Charles Hamilton
Normalcy

Beats: L
Lyrics: L
Originality: L

Normalcy isn’t the normal performance you’d expect from Charles Hamilton on a mixtape release. After taking a self-imposed hiatus during the second half of 2009, the Harlem-reppin’ rapper known for his affinity for Sonic The Hedgehog and the color pink isn’t on top of his usually good-natured game here.

The problem isn’t that Hamilton doesn’t have the same witty lyrics he had when he burst onto the Internet rap scene in 2008. To the contrary, on the mixtape’s best track, the menacing “New Music From Charles Hamilton,” he proves it by rapping, “I run the Web like backslash/H, double T, P, colon, kiss my Black ass.” Likewise, he takes aim at his critics on the aggressive “Enter The Scope” and successfully breaks down his skills on the mic on the catchy “See & Say.”

But not all of Normalcy follows this formula. Rather than rely on his deft lyricism, Charles resorts to obnoxious chuckling on the hook to the otherwise appealing “Workin In The Lab.” Likewise, he cleverly samples Gloria Estefan’s “Bad Boy” on the female-friendly “She’s Purrty” but butchers the chorus with AutoTune. And on one of the mixtape’s more bizarre efforts, Hamilton weirdly does his best to explain that he’s been immunized against the dreaded “Coodies.”

Fortunately, Hamilton is talented enough to make the majority of Normalcy listenable. But if he wants to achieve any level of success in the future, he probably needs to think about the problem he comes across on the aptly-titled “Loserville,” where he raps, “Smart as a whip but artistic/All my targets get hit but y’all missed my thoughts.” From the sound of things, Normalcy is anything but a standard effort from Charles Hamilton. —Chris Yuscavage

  • Enlightened

    Unless he somehow became less corny, I’m not really trying to hear dude.

    And somebody on here tell me, do y’all really listen to mixtapes?
    Maybe it’s just me, but I wanna hear from a fan who really listens to any of the 5,000 mixtapes that come out every week.

    I’m like fuck mixtapes. I listen to albums. Unless it’s maybe a local cat who CAN’T do a real album. But maybe that’s just me.

    • AZ40

      I don’t listen to every mixtape of every unknown cat but there are a few that are better than albums being released and are even worth paying for if they weren’t free

      Fashawn/Alchemist-the antidote
      Mickey Factz-The dark phoenix alpha
      Pac Div-Church League Champs
      Cool Kids-Gone Fishing
      yelawolf-trunk muzik
      and there are plenty more

      • KS

        J.Cole: The Warm Up

    • Ken

      I listen to mixtapes, and I listened to all of Charles Hamilton’s mixtapes…What would you like to talk about? The unnecessary discrimination against mixtapes that you hold?

    • Ken

      Enlightened……i hope you know that you are one of those people that make hip hop the genre that it is. The artist has to be liked as a person and what he does personally, its not even about the music anymore…..You said it yourself…. Your on a music site saying, “With me though, it’s like the shit is mental. It ain’t even about the music.”

      What the fuck….Who wants to hear your opinion on what you THINK is going on in someone else’s mind? Stick to thinking about what YOU are thinking, maybe your shit will come out a little clearer and thought through.

  • http://www.sylermusic.com Syler

    Yo, review my project already.

    • http://xxlmag.com Tha Truth

      THEY NOT GONE REVIEW YO WACK ASS MUSIC

      • http://www.sylermusic.com Syler

        How many times do I have to type a response and not have it posted? It’s not even worth all the effort to get back at this idiot.

  • that nigga

    Enlightened: Mixtapes be better than niggas studio albums. Trust em, they get to be more creative. Some hit, some miss but its worth a listen. Especially an artist that you really listen to. Since we talkin bout mixtapes, i just heard Diggy Simmons mixtape, yes, Run’s son and he’s ten times better than Jo Jo. The kid is gonna be incredible id he’s writtin his own shit. (which I somehow doubt or maybe its just in his blood? If so he may need to pen Jo Jo some shit).

  • alderman j

    THE reason SOME mixtapes are better than albums is because they dont have to get samples cleared and they can use other peoples beats, voice overs, and ad libs, like take cams boss of all bosses mixtape, he got a song on there with a michael jackson sample, no way that would have been cleard for an album, also they dont have a label exec asking for a radio single and a song for the ladies they just go in and do what they want, so it is easy to figure out why “some mixtapes” are better than albums!!

    • Enlightened

      Yeah. Most definitely. With me though, it’s like the shit is mental. It ain’t even about the music. I know a lot of mixtapes are better than albums, but it’s something about the history to me.
      Like being able to look back 5-10 years later and talk about the official releases. Even though 50 Cent dominated the mixtape game, when I think about him, I think about Get Rich or Die Tryin and go from there.
      Just like nobody talks about the fact that Nas’ first Jay-Z dis was the “Stillmatic” freestyle off a mixtape. People go right to Ether because it came out on an actual album.
      It’s like if I can’t look that shit up in the archives and think back to when it officially “dropped” that shit don’t exist.
      Like I said, maybe it’s just me.

      • Sincere

        @ enlightened i think people remember what they heard first. When i think of fifty i think of LAPD/NYPD ghetto quran wanksta all mixtape stuff when he was really on his game and then GRODT. Also people think of ether because it was the better track.

        • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

          “If you get shot & run to the cops, ya not like me…”

  • klm1015

    This nigga Hamilton is garbage, a disgrace to hip hop.

  • jay

    I liked normalcy the quality of beats improved alot hamilton is good at making good music

  • Gkid12345

    My favorite artist C.H, yall crazy this mixtape is fire. Can’t wait for the next one.

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  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    HipHopDX.com has an EXCELLENT mixtape collection in their audio section. Sometimes I open two tabs and play mixtapes on one while reading XXL on the other one. I recommend everyone check it out. Oh yeah, it’s free.

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Just like it’s been said, if it’s some newbies(Pac Div for instance) I’ll listen ’cause it’s a team that can’t afford the major release.

    But if it’s a fave, I’ma check it because I know there are some sample clearance (cutting room throwaway) gems on it.

    But with Charlie Ham’s new one, I tried and all of the download links were broken.

  • dez

    These the same cats that gave Gucci Mane and Hurricane Chris first cd a XXL..smh

  • ff1one

    First, I mess with charles and i like that he is trying to be more normal. the dude has talent but hip hop has become the wwf. so he needs to find a gimic. the stage name and talent works. i like the mixtape for wat its worth. especially when you back track and look at the material he put out last year. problem is, people always want ur next to be as good as ur last instead of looking at the next independently. for example, people overlook it was writen because they so caught up on illmatic. each are equally dope projects.

    as for mixtapes

    i gotta agree some are better than albums because they are raw. it really depends on teh ablum the emcee and the approach.

  • http://reverbnation.com/ajb4 AJB4

    an “L” for orginality u got to be kidding me, I don’t trust yalls reviews anymore when u give a Lil Scrappy album an “L” and then give Charles just an L NEGROE PLEASE

  • http://myspace.com/yessyabytchdac Magazeen Critikz

    AJB4 got a point….who r u basing his originality on…his or industry standard because doode always comes original…But keep ya head up chuck…Youknowyouacehoodwhen you charles hamilton

  • D-Lloyd

    CHARLES HAMILTON’S NORMALCY DESERVED AN XL!!!!!!!!!! IT’S MORE LIKE AN ALBUM THAN A MIXTAPE, IT IS GOOD!!!!!!!! XXL REVIEWS ARE NOT TRUE, NOT TRUE AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!

  • RhymnDymnd

    i would probably listen to this guy more if his voice wasnt so damn annoying

  • westcoast

    fire ch is nice xl

  • dalvyn

    CHARLES HAMILTON IS BACK !!

  • georigaboi

    sonic is the best rapper alive wen ur high but wen ur sober u hate em lol either way august rush is HARDDD

  • hiphopdon

    smh ngas will never get charles hamilton . hes a breath of fresh air.. original and creative i make beats.. did you hear the chops on AUGUST RUSH????

  • http://rbx112@gmail.com bobby

    the mixtape is dope… he surprised me considering interscope dropped him. the mixtape is sold and i hope it continues to get better. the kid is on another plane all2gether..ONE

  • http://www.bf3ars.blogspot.com bfears

    this deserves an XL IMO

  • fastflipper

    im listening to every PAPOOSE mixtapes

    got to hell haters !

  • kb

    one of my favorite rappers out. second only to kanye as far as his musicanship overall as a rapper/producer (dr.dre dont count cause he dont write his own raps). brooklyn girls, lacy duvall, shinin(even if he stole the beat) all sick

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