Putting artists/producers in a box is not uncommon, especially when it is based on partial knowledge. Charlie Xtreme‘s most popular work has come from production credits for talented hip-hop artists Boogey and Paybacc which would immediately put him in the ‘hip-hop producer’ box. I used to make the same mistake until I listened to his joint project with singer, Tamaraebi. The EP titled Songs About Her is predominantly composed of smooth soul music. CHx creates a graceful environment for Tamaraebi to bleed beautiful sour soul with his disarming vocals. Songs About Her is totally worth checking out.
CHx is a shadow in the light, a silhouette always pointing to the music. His mask is his trademark for unadulterated nonconformity, it’s all about the music for him, timeless music attached to the name and not the face. CHx’ DRUMS, GUITARS AND SONGS on RANDOM SH!T is his third full-length release this year and it is the eclectic producer/artist’s best curated body of work.
While the previously released projects are solid in their own right, DRUMS has an undeniable vintage feel to it. The project is a party which leans into nostalgia for inspiration. Built on a foundation of popular music genres between the ‘70s and ‘90s, CHx relies on the idea of wine getting sweeter as it ages while also adding his spin to song arrangements.
CHx mostly plays the role of musical director, recruiting guests and giving them a suitable environment for perfect execution. Usual suspects, Paybacc and Boogey team up with Jay Okoi for the joyful opener – ‘Get the Funk Up’ which sets the tone for DRUMS. A funky mosh of rolling drum kicks and guitars (apt EP title, btw) kicks against the concept of laziness albeit in a very playful manner. Paybacc and Boogey let their rapper’s rapper cap loose a little and join in the party by kicking playful rhymes without sounding ludicrous. Jay Okoi makes two more appearances on the preject, making him the artist with the highest number of features. The only solo appearance from him, ‘Badman’ has the unmistakable feel of Chaka Demus & Pliers’ hit song ‘Bam Bam’. While the dancehall DNA of the sampled song remains palpable, CHx throws in a faster drum kick pattern.
One of the best spots on the project, ‘All I want’ which features Jitey Peters and Mon Lee brings out ‘80s Disco reminiscent of the legendary CHIC. It is masterfully pulled off by CHx with the help of the sailing vocals of his featured artists. The immediate following songs are rooted in the past but have a more contemporary feel to them, compared to the rest of the project. The affirmative love song, ‘Forever, Never’ which features the talented 3rty (whose Magic EP you really should check out) has a smooth afro-soul feel to it. CHx and Ria Sean use power pop to ward off an ex-lover on ‘Ain’t Enough’. It’s an upbeat song sure to get parties jumping.
Charlie X is also a recording artist in his own right, he handles vocals on the solo tip for two songs. Obviously, his voice isn’t the best for crooning but the use of vocal effects to warble his delivery is totally welcomed. The tight disco feel of ‘Funky Jupa’ is sure to loosen tense shoulders and cause foot tappings. The more languid electro-funk feel of ‘Moon Love’ would fit perfectly into Matt Martians’ recent (member of American Neo-soul group, The Internet) The Drum Chord Theory album. Tamaraebi’s pops up with an uncredited feature on the sweet soulful ‘Mr…’ to close out the album on solemn terms.
DRUMS, GUITARS AND SONGS on RANDOM SH!T is accessible without being sulky and nostalgic without sounding outdated. It twists and turns joyfully at every moment and since the songs don’t tarry, front to end listens are fun and intriguing.
Download DRUMS here, for free.
Words by Dennis, aka DAx, aka @ayo_dennis.