Charles Hamilton, Normalcy [REVIEW]
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