(AllHipHop Features) The region around the nation’s capital is the next locale set to be a major center point of the Hip Hop industry. Chaz French is among the young performers rising from the District of Columbia.
The 24-year-old emcee is already making noise across the country thanks to his well received projects Happy Belated and These Things Take Time. Many listeners have discovered a sense of relatability with Chaz. His lyrics demonstrate an element of fearlessness, exemplified by content that presents intensely personal elements of his life.
“Sometimes the stuff I’m addressing in my music I haven’t addressed elsewhere. I feel like I’m my most vulnerable when I’m making music. So why not be as open as possible?” Chaz tells AllHipHop.com. “I know there’s somebody across the world that’s probably going through the same thing or something similar.”
Chaz’s songs cover dealing with family issues, overcoming homelessness, using drugs, and being a parent. In fact, fatherhood is a central theme of the DC native’s work. The cover art for both Happy Belated and These Things Take Time serve as tributes to his children.
“My number one inspiration are my kids. My dad wasn’t involved in my life as much as I wanted him to be, and I want to be the total opposite,” expresses Chaz. “I don’t ever want my kids to feel like they’re alone or are going to go without. I’m a dad first before anything.”
Chaz’s own childhood began in Washington, DC. His earliest days were spent in the Northeast quadrant of the city before he began attending elementary, middle, and high school in Prince George’s County. He also spent time living in Texas before officially launching his rap career.
The future rapper born Chaz French built a relationship with music early on. His first introduction to the art form came as a church drummer, but it was during an extended time being grounded that he discovered his gift as a writer.
“One day I got in trouble and got put on punishment. I couldn’t really go outside for weeks, so I just started writing music,” explains Chaz. “Then in 9th grade I did a talent show. Everybody went crazy, and that’s when I realized I wanted to take this serious.”
Becoming a rap artist may have come as a surprise to some of the people who knew a young C. French. Especially since it was thought being a pastor was Chaz’s true calling. His ability to combine words and tunes in such an effective way was perhaps a revelation to French as well.
The talented wordsmith admits he was not always a close follower of Hip Hop culture. However, Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon as well as Kanye West’s College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation would eventually help spark a creative fire within Chaz.
“Growing up my parents didn’t like to listen to Hip Hop, so I never had any rap CDs. All my parents listened to was Gospel,” says Chaz. “When I was old enough to buy my own music, those were the first albums I bought. When I was homeless that’s all I listened to - Kanye, Cudi, and Amy Winehouse.”
Anyone familiar with Kanye, Cudi, and Winehouse will instantly recognize the similarities of those three Grammy-winning performers. Each have used their music to confess painful moments they have experienced throughout their life. Chaz exhibits that openness as well.
Happy Belated presents a somber soundscape covered by heavy bars about doing cocaine (“LMGLML”) and dropping out of school (“Primavera”). However, These Things Take Time shows Chaz was in a different state of mind when making that project. The album is a brighter presentation from the 368 Music Group representative.
“I don’t want to be in a dark place forever. That’s what I was going through at that time, but during the transition [from Happy Belated to Take Time] I was happier,” states Chaz. “I was able to provide for my family and my daughter. My relationship with her mom had gotten better. My relationship with my mom had gotten better. I was in a happier space.”
He continues, “Who wants to be in a dark mood all the time? I’m trying to get people out of dark places and let people know it’s cool to be happy, it’s cool to smile, it’s cool to be uplifting, it’s cool to be positive. Positivity is not something that people like to glorify, so I want to be one of those people that brings a positive message and has a positive influence on the youth and my listeners.”
Fans can expect his next collection to be a mixture of Happy Belated, Take Time, and whatever he is feeling once work on a specific project begins. At the moment, Chaz is just recording constantly.
Upcoming efforts will also consist of the religious references that have been embedded in much of Chaz’s music. Take Time opens with the creator’s mother offering a prayer of protection for her son. French later gives thanks to the Man Above on the cut “Let God” which features his blood brother Eddie Vanz and Lito Walker.
“I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I know there is a God. I know He blessed me with a talent, so I’m always going to give back to him as much as I can through that talent,” says Chaz. “I know that’s him speaking through me to somebody that doesn’t have an outlet. It’s very important to put God first, because without him nothing you do would be possible.”
— Yohance (@HUEYmixwitRILEY) February 13, 2016
Chaz French is still a fairly fresh face in the recording business. As his career progresses thanks to introspective tracks and nationwide treks (such as the “Only In Your Dreams” tour with headliner Pell), French is sure to gain more zealous supporters. While a higher tax bracket will likely come along with that progression, amassing wealth is not the sole definition of success for the emerging entertainer.
“When I’m completely happy, when I can look back and say, ‘Everything I did made a difference in somebody’s life,’ when I can buy my mom a house and pay off my kids’ tuition, I’m good,” Chaz states. “Money isn’t everything, but then again, people who say that - we haven’t touched any real money either. [laughs] Of course I want to be rich, but I want to be rich in happiness, love, honesty, respect, and trusting myself. That’s when I’ll know I’m successful.”