Charles Hamilton has had one of the weirdest career arcs of the last couple years. He was all the hype on the Internet with his Hamiltonization plan of 2008, but then he started acting funny. He credited J Dilla as a ghost producer on the same album where he stole a beat from Detroit producer Black Spade. He started spouting zany conspiracy theories about butt sex with Eminem. And then he got cracked in the mouth, live on camera. Cue the Sonic rings gif.
But now it seems he’s back, after a slew of mental illnesses kept him deep in his own head. He’s being managed by Iggy Azalea’s management team and his new single “New York Raining” (which you can watch him debut live right here), featuring Rita Ora, will premiere on the season finale of the breakout TV show Empire.
Today, Billboard ran a revealing profile of the 27-year-old Harlem rapper, and it’s stuffed with little tidbits we never knew before. Here’s what we learned.
1. His mother is living with him while he records new music in L.A.
…and he now lives with her permanently in Irvington, New Jersey.
2. He didn’t want to release “Brooklyn Girls” as his single.
This is baffling. How could Charles Hamilton not want to release what is clearly his best song as a single? We know artists often want to maintain every aspect of their image, and they have that right, so maybe Charles didn’t want that single to represent who he was, but damn…it might not have been the best move career-wise to hold that single. “[The label] might have seen me as an uncooperative artist,” he admits to Billboard in the piece.
3. In 2010, he was living in an abandoned building in Staten Island and telling friends he was going to jump off a bridge in Harlem.
He even tried to overdose on lithium, and his mother thought he was going to die. “He didn’t look like my child,” she tells Billboard. “He looked like an alien. He was just not there.”