If you frequently visit our pages then you have more than likely heard about Charlie Curtis-Beard, the young Chicago native who offers an extremely unique & uplifting sound. I first came across Charlie maybe about six months ago when he contacted me to premiere his visual for “Fried Chicken”, and considering how theatrical & dope it was, I agreed. Not too long after that I knew I had to include Charlie in a Q&A segment, so we chopped it up about a month ago & talked about his new music, his early days, his influences and much more. I want spoil it for you though, take a few minutes below to learn about Charlie & afterwards give him a follow on Twitter here!
EM: Before we dive into the questions, give our readers who may not be familiar with you a brief introduction of yourself.
CCB: I’m Charlie Curtis Beard, I’m a rapper, producer and songwriter
EM: Where are you from?
CCB: I’m originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. But now I live in Chicago
EM: What is your earliest memory of music?
CCB: I was born and raised in a church so my earliest memory is me dancing in a church with my siblings to Gospel.
EM: When did you first start creating music?
CCB: Its weird because I was always like writing it. I didn’t start producing and creating music until the end of my middle school, because I had a a lot of extra time just chilling in the library. From there I kept growing and I didn’t start to take it seriously until high school because I got into slam poetry and really good at producing beat, then I was like this is what I want to do.
EM: How is it balancing school with music with college?
CCB: Being a full time student is like a job, and then you try to focus on your side stuff but something usually falls through the cracks. It’s hard to maintain all of that, it’s do-able, but hard. It’s cool though because Columbia kind of helped me put my foot through the door, they gave me some opportunities and allowed me to met some people that I still work with.
EM: What/who inspired you to become an emcee?
CCB: I got really heavy into rap because of Vic Mensa’s Innanetape, as well as Kendrick Lamar, Kids These Days. But something about that 2013 Chicago vibe made me feel like I could really do it.
EM: How would you describe your music to someone who has never listened before?
CCB: Neo Jazz Soul Hip-hop fusion. Something like that. It’s like if hip hop was trying to be the internet with vibes of Kaytranada.
EM: Who are your top five biggest influences musically?
CCB: Donald Glover, Vic Mensa, Kendrick, Saba, Goldlink
EM: What are your top five favorite albums of all time?
TPAB by Kendrick
MBDTF by Kanye
Ego Death by The Internet
Kaytranada – 99.9%
Daniel Caeser – Freudian
Section 80 by Kendrick
Innanetape by Vic Mensa
Acid Rap by Chance
Bucket list by Saba
Cilvia Demo by Isaiah Rashad
And After that we didn’t talk by Goldlink
EM: What was the first album you ever bought?
CCB: My parents only let us listen to gospel music so I could never really buy rap albums. The first one I ever bought was J Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive once I was in college.
EM: If you could collab with one person dead or alive who would it be?
CCB: Frank Ocean
EM: What is your favorite music video?
CCB: Down On My Luck by Vic Mensa is the first one that comes to mind, but I would have to really think about that one.
EM: How did Fried Chicken video come about?
CCB: I just always got ridicule about dating a white girl, from security guards at my job saying “black people aren’t suppose to date anyone other than black people”, I had a talk with his parents, etc. But basically I was listening to the base line for Fried Chicken in my girl friends living room and she said that I should make a song about interracial dating, and I was like that’s genius because that’s what I’m hearing right now. Then I thought of the concept for the music video and I met up with Reed Carson & Darren Bui who shot all my videos. I met up with them and chopped it up about some ideas, we wanted it to resemble old times with a new feel, as well as a crap ton of Harolds.
EM: How did you deal with the negative black lash from Twitter about “Fried Chicken”
CCB: I had a feeling that black women would take it in a certain way, but I felt like I made it clear in the song that it wasn’t like that. I went to a bunch of my close friends (men and women) and asked their thoughts on the video before I put it out, everyone I asked agreed that it wasn’t offensive. It wasn’t until this girl on Twitter with 30K followers put it on her page saying “I’m tired of Black men & their racial insecurities” and that’s when all the hate started. I had extremely high expectations for the Fried Chicken video and was disappointed that some people thought I was being offensive, but even the negative press is still press so I wasn’t bothered by it because I knew in my hear what I meant. It’s wild to me that it got to Jemele Hill and that she posted it on her Facebook, it’s wild to me that it reached you and thousands of other people.
EM: The National Anthem or The International Players Anthem?
CCB: International Players Anthem!
The National Anthem that you hear at games you only hear the first verse or four, and in the third verse they celebrate killing slaves. The guy who wrote the national anthem was a slave owner, the funny thing about it is that America covered it up and didn’t do anything to fix it.
EM: Are there any local Chicago rappers that you have been listening to?
CCB: Marcellis, Ajani Jones, Isaiah Oby, Kiraly
EM: Who are some bigger name Chicago artists that you want to work with in the future.
CCB: Saba & Lupe Fiasco
EM: The feature from Leah Jean on “Fried Chicken” caught my ear, can you explain who she is/your relationship with her?
CCB: I met Leah through school originally. I have known her for so long, I don’t know why it took so long to actually met her. It was one of those things were we were both talented and dope but never got around to collabing, when it finally happened it turned out really good.
EM: Explain what the Weird Kids are.
CCB: Really we are all just a bunch of friends, but before shows we would say “hands in weird kids on 3” and that’s kind of how it started.I t’s just a bunch of really good energy, we are all really good friends and we bring out the best in each other personally and musically, being around them is where I get the most genuine laughter from. These are my people, they aren’t going to judge me, it’s like a family.
EM: Who is all involved in the Weird Kids?
EM: How did you come up the title for your latest album “Existentialism on Lake Shore Drive”
CCB: There was a time in my life I was in between relationships, and there was a mixture of me going to parties to meet other people because she was meeting other people, and then there was the other side where I would just sit in my room, make music and get high. I was drunk at a party one day and I called an Uber home and he took Lake Shore Drive and I just felt Existential as hell, I was so inspired and felt like I could write ten songs, so I wanted to bring that concept to life.
EM: What can our readers expect from you for the rest of 2018?
CCB: push shows, more music and more music videos
EM: Last question, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
CCB: I want to tour, I want to change the world, I want to do good stuff, be more than just a musician, I want to work with my friends