Dubbed as “one of the finest rap projects of 2018” and described as “the north’s weirdest enigma with bars that warp time” by keen fans on his Facebook page, Charlie Boy Manson is a force to be reckoned with as he is undoubtedly creating waves from Manchester’s underground music scene for UK Hip-Hop. Halloween last year saw the release of ‘Charlie Boy Manson – And The Handsome Family’, the debut project from the adroit artist featuring nine tracks of cheeky, dark and twisted rap over gloom-filled production, challenged by sour ramblings of a tortured soul. The project gives us a window into a mind riddled with cognitive dissonance, in one line we are faced with ego filled boasting and the next confessions of a thinker deep in severe depression. Such contradictions are the fine details that make the alias so potent, painting a compelling image of the absurd world he lives within.
The inception of the alter ego came to fruition from the rapper being frequently told that he resembles the American criminal and cult leader Charles Manson, who so happens to have been a musician also. Thus, the resemblance then became an inspiration for the ambitious artist to go under alias of ‘Charlie Boy Manson’ and this alter ego used when writing in a certain gloomy style of music as he decided to “own it” but claims that he “would never MC a club night as Charlie Boy Manson.”
UK Hip-Hop is said to be a genre and culture that covers a variety of styles of Hip-Hop music made in the United Kingdom, generally classed as one of a number of styles of ‘urban music’. Red Bull Music believes that Hip-Hop was born in The Bronx during the late ‘70s, and soon after artists across the pond were experimenting with sequenced sound system music and rhythmic new vocal styles, as seen on the Netflix 2016 drama ‘The Get Down’ by Baz Luhrmann when lead character Ezekiel finds his voice from paper and performs over scratched records in the streets of The Bronx. Charlie Boy Manson infers that UK Hip-Hop has “had a lot of faces over time” with the “majority of music in the early years coming out of London” from rappers such as “Rodney P and The London Posse, Mud Fam, Skinnyman and Taskforce.” And now, with Charlie Boy Manson coming out of Manchester.
With Hip-Hop said to be having its biggest following yet and triumphing at The Grammys, according to The Guardian in February 2019, the early 20s phenomenon announces how he “hopes to turn the heads of people that wouldn’t necessarily be listening to UK Hip Hop” with the release of a remix album of ‘Charlie Boy Manson – And The Handsome Family’. The rapper recalls “I’ve always been involved in electronic music through my crew Loose Lips, however I’ve never really made music for dancefloors, so I was excited to see what some talented electronic music producers could do with the project and for people within the scene to hear sounds they may not have heard otherwise.” Collaborating with six extremely talented producers, the remix album sees an eclectic array of electronic music from breakbeat to trip hop to techno, with grime and drum and bass fusions – a unique spin with all sounds firmly planted in UK music history.
Indeed, Charlie Boy Manson tell us that he is massively influenced by Manchester, having lived in the city now for over five years he is certain that it has helped shape him as an artist. He proclaims, “it’s a City that has so much to give and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.” When I ask what ambitions he has for Charlie Boy Manson, the rapper responds by saying that he’s not one for planning and has already done way more than he ever thought he would, so he says, “I’m just going to keep doing me.” Kudos.
Most definitely, the future for Charlie Boy Manson seeks to find the crossover and musical diversity within the UK Hip-Hop scene, the rapper admits that there’s “tendency to be a boom bap purist and shy away from other sounds and forms of expression, and I’ve never been about that.” He will be announcing a few gigs around April time and has a couple of festival slots lined up for summer 2019.