Chuckie Campbell is an American recording artist, poet, fiction writer, editor, publisher, and educator. In the past, he's won A3C's This Is My Year Contest, and took home All WNY Music Awards for Best Hip Hop Artist and Hip Hop Performer, ArtVoice Awards for Best Hip Hop Artist and Best Original Music, as well as Canalside Buffalo's Battle of the Bands. Campbell commonly performs with a live band, including a full horn section, The Black Den, to make for a jazzy, eclectic approach to hip hop filled with fluid instrumentation, lush musical arrangements, and heartfelt poetic nuance. Together, they have touched 46 states and two countries (Canada and Costa Rica), attended A3C as official artists (the largest hip hop music conference in the United States), SXSW (the largest music festival of its kind in the world), NXNE (the Canadian equivalent of SXSW held in Toronto, ON), and shared stages with hip hop legends such as Pharoahe Monch, EPMD, EnVogue, Ghostface Killa, Ras Kass, Pete Rock, Black Milk, Blueprint, Chris Rivers, Crooked I, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Tanya Morgan, and more.
In early 2013, Campbell's song, "The Streets," struck a chord with listeners all across the nation, when it amassed the most overall votes in The Grammy's Amplifier Contest, accumulating 95,058 amps, listens and shares, more than any other artist in any other genre who participated in the contest. The song would be disqualified for improper interpolations of other musical compositions, meaning it used a sample, but amass a large and dedicated base of fans who followed his music. The following year, Campbell debuted his album, More Die of Heartbreak, garnering five star reviews and positive press from online and print outlets such as the Huffington Post, The Source, and Young Hollywood, while receiving selective honors along the way: Hiplanta Album of the Week; Young Hollywood Playlist Pick; Indie Music News Artist Feature; and Esente Center Stage Emerging Artist of the Week.
The album itself is often described as a return to form, drawing on a seven year absence from hop hop music, coming after a violent physical assault that left his jaw broken in two places. The project was dedicated to Ralph B. Prater, his close friend and music mentor, who committed suicide in March of 2011.
When Esente Center Stage selected Campbell as their artist of the week, writer Peter Amara affirmed him as "super-lyrical" with words "that thrust the listener in the middle of the scenario," praising the rapper for his "intricate wordplay" and "incredibly fast flow." Entertainment Magazine said that Campbell "is very comparable to such lyricists as Nas, Dead Prez, Black Thought of The Roots, and Common (pre-movie star)." Kyle Jarmon, in his 5 star review of Campbell's debut album said "Offering a dark depth to the hip hop scene, Chuckie Campbell's More Die of Heartbreak puts the rapper on the map. Each song exhibited is intensely reflective, offering observations intermingled with beats that are laid back and slanted to complement Campbell's voice…More Die of Heartbreak is worth the experience not only for its lyrical depth but for each one of us who have been through something traumatic and prevailed."
Since the success of his first album, Campbell has released a second full-length album in 2018, Taking Back Tomorrow, a venture with carefully chosen, but high profile features, including Ras Kass, Talib Kweli, Quadir Lateef, Heidi Feek, Nicole Atkins, and many more. In 2020, he would go on to put out perhaps his most controversial release, Curious Incidents in Cancel Culture.
Campbell's most recent work, Shadows Resembling God, carves out indie-rap ruminations alongside dusty drum breaks, bright and resonating keys, as well as lush and melodic guitars, all production courtesy of bay-area rapper/producer, Onewerd. Exploring various interlocking but contradictory themes -- such as faith and doubt, adversity and fulfillment, restraint and freedom -- underlying tensions build against the layered soundscapes, only to be released in soaring choruses by Dane Ferguson (Built to Fade), Dave Stewy, and Maya by Name. Never truly resolving the tensions it sets out to explore, Shadows Resembling God, is at its best when it embraces the contradictions it explores and resists answering questions it poses, only to provoke more, interrogating art as a preservation of culture, as an attempt to say the unsayable -- every song like a shadow resembling the divine providence in all.
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