REVIEW: Chuckie Campbell – ‘More Die Of Heartbreak’

Chuckie Campbell

Artist: Chuckie Campbell
Album: More Die Of Heartbreak
Genre: Rap, Spoken Word

Up until this review, Chuckie Campbell wasn’t a name I was familiar with in hip-hop, and that’s unfortunate as this New York emcee has a lot to offer the genre. His extensive education is evident in his lyricism and it makes for a refreshing listen as his intellect takes the lead in his work much like other well-read rappers such as Illogic, Eyedea (RIP), Aesop Rock, Sage Francis, and Cecil Otter. Campbell’s newest effort, a 12-track LP entitled More Die Of Heartbreak, is as somber as its name might suggest, but the impressive arrangements combined with Campbell’s aforementioned skillset makes for an effort that you may find yourself smiling about.

More Die Of Heartbreak isn’t your typical banger-loaded hip-hop release. It’s shrouded in an elegant veneer with an honest, and ofttimes, visceral undercoat in the form of words derived from real-life experiences and worldviews. This release is smart and it knows it. Chuckie Campbell knows it. It’s carefully crafted and it shows. Through the whole of the album, the music takes a backseat to the lyricism and on a release such as this, that’s the way it should be. Nothing is masked in over-produced beats, synths, and snares or claps; the production is subtle and at times extremely minimal even, making for segments of almost spoken word-like offerings. The accompanying arrangements that are present, though, suit Campbell’s style and delivery ideally with an ebb and flow of strings, piano, and down-tempo beats. “Behind Her Eyes” is a perfect example of this as the instrumentation evolves in a slow-burning atmosphere, setting the backdrop with gorgeous strings and piano as Campbell’s vocals lead the way in the revealing of a love past.

“Turns around and faces out / where the sun once down now rises up / Did she tell me time was up? / Before I knew, my time was up / I’m still on top that building, drunk / staring out to the setting sun / We’re still on top that building, drunk / staring out to the setting sun.”

“Father’s Hands” is another track that specifically touches on the realism of the album’s themes and the heart that went into the entirety of this release. The eloquence and reflection in Campbell’s stories can be both revealing and relatable for any listener.

“We didn’t have much but we had us / for some, it would never be enough / and, we had love but we grew up rough / I learned what it meant to be a man / plus, my father’s hands calloused and tough would teach me how to throw a punch / with, the very same hands that the very same man once held his newborn son.”

“Deus Ex Machina” follows a similar path in representing the album in an honest portrayal of past experiences with focus on a friend that had taken his own life, but only after changing Campbell’s drastically after a vicious attack leaving him with a broken jaw and far too many questions. This influence alone had a large helping hand in the driving force for this album’s creation and the conviction in Campbell’s words and delivery shows the energy he can absorb from both positive and negative occurrences and transfer into a creative vehicle for others to experience from in turn.

More Die Of Heartbreak is extremely accessible for any fan of hip-hop but if you’re only hunting for big beats and something to move to in the club, Chuckie Campbell isn’t going to be your guy. More Die Of Heartbreak is a smooth listen beginning to end but on repeat visits, it seems to lose a little of its replay value as the songs can start to blend together. This could be due to a lack of variation in vocal delivery or a somewhat repetitive approach for the instrumentation in the arrangements, but regardless of my stance on it, I’d highly recommend giving this record a spin. I see no reason why Campbell can’t break more into the scene that Atmosphere and rappers of their ilk have found success in. As long as he finds time in his busy schedule amid being a professor and running publications on the side, Chuckie Campbell’s dedication to his craft will certainly pay off if it isn’t already beginning to. It won’t be long before his deep lyrics serve as the Facebook statuses you find yourself liking on your news feed or the tweets that you favorite and reflect back on at a later date.

SCORE: 8.2/10
Review written by: Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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