Chuckie P is often overlooked as one of the original pioneers of hip hop and rap. The sad fact is most people who claim to be hip hop gurus don't even know that Chuckie P was doing this gig before they thought it was cool.
His Hip Hopcrasy is in your face with rhymes like, "You are the one spitting on the beat/Claiming you are from the street/." The song takes a direct jab at the music industry's penchant for running with the latest fad and promoting artists who are out of synch with their songs. "Some of the people doing urban music don't live in an urban environment and they never see any of it," P says.
"I give Eminem his props because at least he comes from Detroit and the streets. He is talking about the streets he lived in. I have said that in some interviews and right away they erase it. I don't think you have to be in a war to write about it but man it sure helps," says P.
P was born Chuckie Perez to a Hispanic father and a Texan mother. His music provides a kaleidoscope of ethnicity. P first appeared on the music scene sixteen years ago with a Christian record label and packed out the venue in Nashville during his first major performance in the city. His act featured dance moves, glow in the dark shoes and a yet to be discovered musical genre that would grow into Hip Hop music.
He says of that first glimmer of fame, "The next day people were coming up to me nonstop. It freaked me out. I thought this is the coolest. I went back on a high (note) then reality set in as to how the music business works. I wasn't accepted everywhere. I started getting rejected. I went places and they didn't want me. They would say, "You are Hispanic and we didn't know that. The next year at GMA (Gospel Music Association Week) I was yesterday's news."
P by his own admission went through the next few years writing cheesy market driven songs that really did not reflect his heart. He says, "I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I wasn't doing it for the right reasons. I was trying to have the next great record. I just said forget this, it isn't fun anymore."
For the most part he walked away from the recording industry for ten years. He started writing music for television and film. However as his song "Couldn't Keep Me Down" says, "Guess who's back in town?...that's right all, Chuckie P's back in the house." P says, "Now I have something to say. I went into the studio and all the songs (for A Page From My Life) came within a matter of days."
The issues that P's music deals with are just as diverse as the cultural settings. His musical statements are just as hard hitting as his opinions. He describes his song "The Party", "It talks about a girl whose whole life consisted of clubbing. She comes to know the Lord and she continues to party but now it is a different kind of party. The song says it is okay to be down here on earth rejoicing. Just because you become a Christian doesn't mean all the fun ends."
"Break Free" has lush R&B vocals that passionately relate the story of a man looking for an identity in a world that has pushed him down.
Even though P got a bit of a rough ride during the early part of his career he has a word of caution for those riding the wave of garage or basement music studios. He says, "I think if you are a brand new artist it is wise to establish yourself by getting with a label. A label still goes after talent. When I first started off there were a lot of people that I knew who were doing CDs in their garage. They would (do gigs) and sell these cheese ball CDs. It was cheesy quality. They felt like they were accomplishing a lot. I don't want it (the industry) to go that route. I don't want the door to be open for a lot of wannabes just because now they have a little home studio in their computers. Maybe I am wrong but I am not yet comfortable with (that approach)."
Today P wears several hats. He is a husband, father, singer /songwriter and pastors the West Coast Community Church in San Bernardino, California. He also does production work for other artists. He is putting the final touches on a new CD and says, "This next record that I am doing is going to be as urban, R&B and as praise and worship as I have ever been. I am having fun now and that's why I am back. I love soul, I love God, I love ministry. I have seen people's lives changed and I love that part of it. I think being a pastor keeps me grounded."
P takes issue with the format most Christian broadcasters follow. In responding to my question concerning how Hip Hop and Rap music are perceived in the Christian community he says, "It's accessible now but not as readily through Christian radio. Christian radio still hasn't really accepted it. Our top forty compared to the world's top forty is night and day." He went on to make the same comparisons with the acceptance of hard rock music.
"To me it (Christian radio) has not really grown that much. I think the community has grown but the acceptance hasn't grown. I think the negative side of it is that as it grows and as it has grown it has lost its authenticity. The ones that I know who are still authentically doing urban music are not on radio and that's sad."
Chuckie P's music is lively, entertaining and fun. That is exactly how he would like you to think of it. The colorful "My People" has spicy Latino vibes and elements of Rap. It even contains shades reminiscent of Maurice and the Zodiacs 1960 hit song "Stay". The later colorations were completely coincidental and were not realized by P until he had recorded the song.
Just like the song says, "Chuckie P's back in the house!"
Visit www.chuckieperez.net for more information.
Writer: Joe Montague