The official video for “BUMMER” has now arrived. Produced by Moe, The Natural & DJ Macky D, the song is the latest single from alternative hip-hop artist, Charlie Slum. This is a completely original production piece. Engineered by Eric “E.” Dan of ID Labs music, who played a pivotal point in careers such as Wiz Khalifa and the likes.
“BUMMER is an anthem. The latest heater out of my catalog – a rallying cry for those who couldn’t sit back & wait to make things happen. It’s a petty rub in the face to all doubters & haters. It’s a flex, a big confidence vibe. It’s THE joint of the summer. Run it up and enjoy. I’m coming for my blessings.” – $lum
Pittsburgh’s best kept secret – because until now the city and abroad seemingly wasn’t ready for his clustered vision.
Charlie Slum is an emcee hailing from Pittsburgh, PA. He is an artist that delivers an entire conceptual work of art within the confines of each and every song.
His visuals, style of writing, and flow take him outside of competition within his marketplace. Slum chooses the most interesting ways & words to convey his take on the realities of life. However, that reality that we as listeners are anchored to is far from clear cut. If anything, Slum is abstract and his lyrics are conveying matters which aren’t usually discussed or put into words at all. Slum approaches his music in this fashion to push himself creatively and the general envelope of music as well. He essentially is trying to create his own subgenre from a lyrical style standpoint, setting out to achieve the title of Hip-hop avant garde at the very least.
Rap – although still a great cultural force and monetary/trend generator, has been on a slight decline (along with the rest of the industry). Record sales have dropped within the decade, performance events that were once staples in the music cancel because they can’t meet expectations and even certain mega multi-genre festivals are a hair away from decline. Hip hop is comfortable, it has grown fairly confident in itself from a point of expression (especially verbally) and financial gain. Not only is commercial rap somewhat limited in subject matter (whether by choice or marketing prejudice), it is thought that you generally can only rap to the average beat a certain way – within a certain time frame and drum sequences. Slum feels limited by this and finds a way to slip in perfectly between each kick, knock, boom, and snare. His flow is modeled to be different, but to a fine extent. Slum has a style & flow that will sound like a new way to rap when heard by a general audience. The listener is left to notice the nuances and interpret Slum’s subconscious streams of thought – it is to be experienced like an art piece within a gallery. Meanings are almost never singular & possibly even more often are left to be entirely up to the listener. Creatively this makes him instantly marketable because when paired or pushed by the right machine, the package can be engaging to everyone.
It doesn’t hurt that he is a PR agent’s dream client either, Charlie Slum carefully words his thoughts and responses in such a way you’d think he was professionally trained and has immense interviewing experience on both the perspective of a podcast journalist & the artist interviewee. Slum is interesting on social media too, far beyond antics and gimmicks. He is engaging, honest, and personal. He constantly opens dialogue in a very similar fashion that he does in his music and has an overwhelming base of people that wait eagerly to hear his interpretation of events both current and old. Yet , there is more to the formula in both social media interactions and the man’s music. Slum is often open about some of his life’s most brutal moments and mysterious about ones that lean closer toward the miniscule. With this duality of openness and ambiguity; Slum is just aiming for the ears of those searching for more, regardless of background. Though aspects of him as a brand are targeted to a core audience as most successful artists are; Slum is versatile, adaptable, and welcoming. His style of branding plays so well into society and the millennial fascination with being inserted into the lives of others through social media and otherwise, yet keeps a fanbase pulled in and yearning to know more – down to what makes Slum tick. Everything the music entails is artistically pre-designed for a cult like following.
He realizes that his out of the box style may be hard to grasp for some and much of this is due to his psychedelic influenced style of thought. His compensation is using his obscure viewpoint to take his audience home in a sense that is so strong figuratively; it’s almost literal. While the majority of his peers in rap culture promote drinking opiate infused beverages, Slum focuses on a more natural affinity – the feelings of tryptamine like drugs and cannabis. It is the expression of these reborn like experiences are part of his appeal to everyone from those into counter culture to religious followers. Opposed to the stereotype of stoner or hippie, Slum is vastly more scientific and calculated; Shamanic even at times. Having an unquenchable thirst for knowledge leaves him constantly teaching his listener while asking questions simultaneously. His subconscious reigns supreme over his writing process which opens the streams of factual information into the steady yet sporadic flow he often delivers. He makes this evident through the subject matter he implants in the music. He’s easy going and his music reflects that. Even at his most aggressive and confident delivery he doesn’t brag, he educates his listener; something most emcees fail to do even when they try.
His grandfather was Chuck Cooper, the first African-American drafted into the NBA & Slum comes from two very progressive black families in Pittsburgh. The legacy of pride that comes with this is evident in his demeanor and although much more than racially outspoken – it plays a tremendous role in his content. To sit down through a Charlie Slum song or project is to be taken through space and time, sometimes tapping into a collective black or human general subconscious. One is brought into a world of poetry and a vivid ‘in his shoes’ perspective, even if those shoes are not those of Charles. Slum is an emcee who is far from the commonplace rapper. Charlie Slum embodies the grass roots, do it yourself, independent, non-conformist artist. He represents the underground with an undeniably strong vision in a lane that’s less traveled. As an activist, vocal engineer, film and merchandising visionary, and highly animated performer (some rappers are solely studio artists) there seems to be little slum can’t do or isn’t attempting to master.
To conclude, Charlie (or Charles) Slum is the antithesis of a monolith or one dimensional artist. Lyrically, he falls somewhere in between a Nas/MF Doom/Kendrick Lamar like soundscape. On a business & visionary level beyond music; Slum shows more similarities with a Kanye West or Tyler The Creator – yet with less aggressive personality tones. Although that doesn’t mean at all that he’s not passionate about social involvement, and his clash of genuine Saul Williams and Tupac Shakur like activism is present within his real life and music content. However, in 2018 some of these references may be less relevant and that may bring out his best musical quality – he’s applicable. Slum’s ability to adapt his sound without sacrificing artistic integrity is both rare and invaluable. Charles Slum is a culmination of great music and great ideas and has the potential to make his way into the space of an American icon.