Charles Hamilton emerged from the void earlier this year with a new record deal, new management, and a new approach. The once-prolific blog rapper's output has been uncharacteristically but necessarily slow, to say the least—thus far, all we've heard from him is "New York Raining," the song he recorded with Rita Ora for Empire. His comeback EP The Black Box has seen several delays. (Originally slated for August, it's now expected to arrive later this year.) But today he's started the ball rolling again with the release of his a new single, "Down The Line."
An immensely personal track featuring ghostly backing vocals from London singer Laurel (who also co-wrote and co-produced the song), "Down The Line" is an immensely personal track that finds Hamilton taking his troubles—his bipolar disorder, 2009 XXL Freshman cover, Sonic the Hedgehog obsession, social media, etc—head-on. "This song addresses many of the pitfalls I've faced and still face," he explained in an email to The FADER. "Though melancholy, it's still triumphant."
Of the accompanying video, he explains: "On my journey so far I could certainly say I've had my share of dark moments. This video represents me transitioning through the world seemingly alone, struggling to make sense of the pain and darkness I had frequently experienced. It felt like I had lunged into an abyss where I was haunted by career and life-altering outcomes that literally led to loss of liberty, contemplating whether my end will come by my own hands or someone else’s—staring death in the face. To survive that journey, I found support and the strength to face my demons. I took ownership of what I could change about Charles and chose to live."