WIRTB Review: @CharlesHamilton's This Perfect Life

By now, you know the story of Charles Hamilton. He was a dope backpack rapper who was entranced into the Sonic the Hedgehog mythos. He was nerdy as hell, but people loved it. He gave internet rappers everywhere hope, though, because he got noticed and signed by Interscope. "Brooklyn Girls" was a fire-ass track.


But, his bipolar issues held him back. And because of them, he often did some shit that a lot of people didn't get. I called him out on this at one point myself, kind of in a pot calling the kettle black situation. I mean, I'm also bipolar and had my moments of undiagnosed unhinged "craziness" prior to my full acceptance of the diagnosis in 2013, and again in 2015. So, as I said before, I apologize to Charles and, as a fellow bipolar sufferer, I want him to succeed.


In celebration of his newest documentary, I'm going to look at what would've been Hamilton's debut album. Now, this isn't a traditional WIRTB Review. Spoiler alerts aplenty, I love This Perfect Life. I still have songs like "Tears of Fire" in my streaming playlists to this day. It had some classic moments. So, because of that, this WIRTB is more of a "should people give this project another listen" sort of WIRTB Review.


The project is a time capsule of that late '00s/early '10s style of backpack rap that's still gritty enough to be played in the whip. However, it still has a bit of a timeless feel to it. Sure, we got a lot of self-discussion and some self-degradation. But, for every "I'm a loser, but I accept it" moment, we got some heat. Going back to the aforementioned "Tears of Fire," featuring the current KXNG CROOKED (Crooked I for the old-schoolers), this is a song that just rips at you. The beat is dramatic as hell, sampling Jennifer Rush's "I Come Undone." It's synthy as hell, but the chipmunk vocals keep this one grounded and emotionally dense. 


You add in lyrics like "I'm the product of a cheap condom accidents happen/My dad never knew he had a bastard kid rappin'" from Crooked and "...is it a crime?/To love your niggas and wish they were fine/At the same time, you ain't fine..." from CH and you get a dope track. You get a track that discusses the pain of being a bastard child and the pain of wanting to see your friends succeed, even if you're in the thick of bullshit. You get a track about self-hatred, but still a desire to have self-love. It's a complex track in a lot of ways, like the rest of the album. Everything in the project is multilayered, which was--and is--one of Hamilton's strengths. No punchline or lyric is to be taken at a face value.

Listeners, on TPL, get complex lyrical meanings added with lyrics that aren't overly off-the-wall, but still have that "BARS" feeling to them. They also get some solid production (look at "Barbara Walters," for instance) and a look at what rap would become in some ways. So, is TPL that bad? Again, I'm always a fan of this album, so I couldn't ever say it's bad. Should someone, in 2016, for prep of Hamilton, Charles, give it a peep? Oh hell yeah. If you want to know where Charles was at back in the day when he was at the first peak of his resurrected career, this is a great start (along with stuff like Sonic The Hamilton).


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