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As with any musical genre, many artists tend to fall into styles reflected by popular trends. Since his debut album “Destiny,” Local hip-hop artist Charod has been working to create a niche in the local hip-hop scene.
Last time Lagniappe Weekly spoke with this local rapper, Charod was promoting his Mob*ILL collaboration with fellow artists Mika Nicole, Elijah McCreary, Jr. and DJ Rodski.
Now, Charod is building his local reputation with the appropriately titled EP “Legacy.” With local Grammy winner Rosco (Hippomeat Productions) once again joining him in the studio, Charod uses “Legacy” to showcase both a fresh batch of hip-hop anthems and impressive featured artists such as Tariq and Pap Star.
Music Editor Steve Centanni sat down with Charod to discuss his absence from the hip-hop scene as well as the future of his Azalea City musical legacy.
Centanni: Last time we talked, you were doing the Mob*ILL collaboration at the SouthSounds Music Festival, and we haven’t heard much from Charod since. What made you want to move forward with this EP?
Charod: After the MOB*ILL project, I kinda ventured off and got into a few different things, but I knew that I still wanted to put some more music out. I knew that I wanted to put together a project. I wasn’t in that position, mentally. Sometimes, you just need to take a breather. Once I re-energized my focus, I started anew and had a new mind and a new goal to put together what we hope to be a solid project. The music is always going to be there. I know that it was a long time, but we’re all constantly talking, working and vibing and trying to create music. It’s a passion that we have.
Centanni: I see that you were back at Hippomeat Productions again with Rosco for this EP.
Charod: Absolutely, he and I executive produced it. He was pretty much the chef when it came to everything. From the sonic perspective, every sound is him. I can’t say enough good things about him. I know that you saw that he won a Grammy. I feel like our connection works. We have a good chemistry. That’s why you see Drake recording with 40 all the time. When you have a comfort level and a relationship and chemistry, it just makes it easier. To me, it was a no-brainer.
Centanni: One thing that I noticed about this release is that it’s a versatile sounding EP. I noticed on the second track (“Pink Panther”) that there’s this Tribe Called Quest/Digable Planets vibe going on. What was it like putting together the tracks and coming up with your sonic goals for the EP? Did you want a diverse track list?
Charod: Absolutely, as an artist, I think when you go into making a project that the different sounds and sonic display needs to make the listener feel like they’re traveling somewhere. A lot of time, concepts come to me while I’m driving. Sonically, you want to take the listener different places. At the end, you have to make them feel like they went on a journey with you. You want to show some growth and progression and put something out there that the listener can enjoy and experience something. That’s the essence of music.
Rosco always calls me the Pink Panther. He calls me that because he hears me when we talk and says, ‘You like speaking ahead and progressive and ahead of your time.’ He came up with the concept of the song ‘Pink Panther.’ He said, ‘You gotta do this song called the ‘Pink Panther.’ It’s everything about you. It’s straight hip-hop, and we’re going to make it like an alter ego or some power that you display.’ It was such an easy track to do with Rosco just putting the energy into making that song, and it was a fun one to make. It’s one of my low key favorites too. It’s one of my opportunities to try something different sonically and the flow scheme.
Centanni: I also like the opener “Strong Mind/Legal Money.” It’s not just a commentary on yourself but also the hip-hop scene at large. What are you trying to tell people about yourself at this point in your career?
Charod: Where I am right now, I’m still in the thick of where I will always be, which is trying to put out quality music. I work with some artists and always looking to grow and expand. You hear features on my project like Tarik and Pap Star and even Rosco. These are artists that we’ve had deep relationships with for years. So, those are individuals that I’m seeing coming up in the game, and I’m doing what I can. They remind me of myself in content and character. At this point, I’m in the midst of enjoying it and just making a point to have content for the people who follow me and fans. I liken it to a currency. Lyrically, I feel good. Musically, I feel great. I’m just in tune and appreciative for the opportunity to put out more music.
Centanni That’s the “Strong Mind” part. The “Legal Money” part seems to echo throughout the EP. It’s all about treating your art and music like a business, which is an idea that we share. So, with that said, what’s been your challenges on the business side and what have you learned?
Charod: It’s more of an application. You perfect your grind. I had to go back and fine-tune some things within me as an artist and as an entrepreneur and see where I could get better. I’m always trying to learn. I think that’s a common obstacle. It’s going to be an obstacle going forward, because you’re always going to be trying to push yourself and try to grow your brand and grow your sound. I think that more and more I can tell that I am developing more of a core audience and following. The people who follow and enjoy the music and are part of the movement show me what they expect of me and what they expect to hear. I think that I have my finger on the pulse of what needs to be said. I know it’s what they want to hear. It’s all about learning my audience more. It helps you personally grind harder. That’s the number one thing. I know everybody’s identity in this sphere, including me.,
Centanni: One thing that you’ve never shied away from criticizing the hip-hop scene at large. If there’s one thing that you’d like to see changed in hip-hop, then what would it be?
Charod: I think that everything has to grow and evolve. If there was something that I’d like to modify or change, it wouldn’t be the skills. It would be the artform. A lot of things that we build around here, there’s a manual to it and a million different parts. It’s not like you’re crafting something. It’s a pattern that everybody’s following. I’m not knocking that. Hip-hop has waves of different levels, but it’s the stories and the scenarios and showing your skills that way. I’m into the poetics and the artform and the elements of the picture, whether it’s a story, or you’re spittin’, or just a song. You should display your skills. How do you utilize your words? That’s something that I would like to see more.
Centanni: With the EP available, what’s the next step?
Charod: Well, we have a couple of different videos about to drop. We’ve got some features that we might consider going into and do sort of a B-side part of ‘Legacy.’ We’re just out here working. I’ve been doing some work with DJ Blayze from WBLX lately, and we’re just pushing the project. We think we have a solid body of work that can take us far. We’re just enjoying the grind and making sure everybody is aware of the music and giving them more content. Of course, we have events on the radar, but we’re just trying to get everybody on board and getting their minds wrapped around the music. It’s just forever a grind.
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