ChaRon  Don
Gig Seeker Pro

ChaRon Don

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF | AFTRA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2003
Duo Hip Hop World




"My focus was on family and home. I was living the life: I was reading a lot.""

ChaRon Don returns after a few years of travel with a new album full of ideas

"My focus was on family and home. I was living the life: I was reading a lot."

By Andy Mulkerin

Traveler, artist and teacher: ChaRon Don
Photo by Heather Mull

Traveler, artist and teacher: ChaRon Don

Album art can often be tangential, an afterthought — once the album is complete, the musician does a quick photo shoot, or commissions an abstract painting. But for ChaRon Don, the artwork on his new album, Voice of the Voiceless, says everything: The Pittsburgh rapper appears in a tuxedo and combat boots, in blackface (he's African American), with a zipper closed over his mouth. On the inside panels, he's seen, still in blackface, draped in an American flag, then in garments with the colors of the Pan-African and Ethiopian flags, then, on the back cover, back in the tux, starting to undo the zipper on his face.

"I kind of wanted to take something that was, in the traditional context, negative, and turn it around and do it how I wanted to do it," says the rapper (real name: ChaRon White). "Put a positive spin on it. Me putting on blackface, as a black person, it was like taking myself out of it, because I didn't want people to focus so much on the artist, but focus on the voice of the artist — which represents the voice of the people, who I'm speaking for and to.

"In another way, it's to say what people consider dark, what people consider unattractive, what people consider evil — no! You could switch that and make it fly. That's why I'm wearing the tuxedo blazer; I'm still bringing the style on. It's not condescending, I'm not looking down; I'm wearing this mask proudly."

click to enlarge
Traveler, artist and teacher: ChaRon Don ChaRon Don's Voice of the Voiceless album art

It's all indicative of ChaRon Don's most cohesive and most politically charged work to date. Don't expect Voice to sound like Public Enemy, though; White, who's been performing locally since he was in high school in the late '90s, took inspiration from the traveling he did starting around the time of his last release, Thee Official.

"It's a great album," he says of Thee Official. "I put it on iTunes and all the online stores, and it was doing OK. Just OK. I never really promoted it; I didn't have the time.

"I was traveling a lot: I started traveling probably three years ago. Went to Africa for some weeks. I got married. My focus was on family and home. I was living the life: I was reading a lot, sitting out on the back porch, reading a lot of history, reflecting on what I'd seen on these travels. I went to Central America, just went on a couple retreats."

In the meantime, White's longtime collaborator, DJ Huggy, whom he'd known growing up, moved to California with the rock band he played with, The Full Steam. Music wasn't gone from White's life, but it wasn't his main focus — until he started toying around with some tracks with another longtime friend, producer Diezel (Londell Robinson).

"I'm his children's godfather," White explains. "I'm always hanging out with him anyway. He could see where I'm at, and [I was] telling him what I need: something warm, has to be live music. You can sample, you can manipulate it how you want to, but I want a lot of live music played, a lot of tribal drums."

That was the framework that emerged for Voice of the Voiceless. Where previous projects had felt to White like they were catalogs of collaborations, this was an album where he and Diezel took the lead and established an aesthetic. There are other artists (and producers, including DJ Huggy) on the album, but the overall product was ChaRon Don's vision, with Diezel's supervision.

"We have a great chemistry already," explains Robinson. "When we got about four or five songs in, he came up with the name of the album and it was like, 'Yo, that's it!' It just seemed like it was out of nowhere — we were working, and the other songs started to fit the mold of the album."

Thematically, Voice addresses social and cultural issues: Reggae artists join ChaRon Don in songs about the state of world affairs vis-a-vis Rastafarianism, as on "Inna These Last Dayz," which features Kabaka Pyramid. And, if the provocative album art wasn't enough, ChaRon shows that he doesn't shy away from the politically incorrect in order to make a point on "Cracker Nigger," a track about social status when one grows up in a mixed-race family. Throughout the album, ChaRon's flow is quick and often feels spontaneous, a product of his background as a battle-rapper and freestyler.

White says a lot of the inspiration for the direction the album took came from Nas and Damian Marley's 2010 album Distant Relatives. "They were speaking to a lot of what I'd seen and experienced, and what I studied, coming up in black arts and culture, Rasta — they were hitting a lot of points. I was like, 'Whoa, I really haven't exposed these parts of myself in my music. I want to do that before I just keep putting out these albums of battle-oriented rhymes.'"

Besides battle-rapping, White came up as a bit of a ladies' man, writing romantic material. While Voice goes deeper than all that, he says that doesn't mean he's moved on completely.

click to enlarge
Lyrics by ChaRon Don Photo by Heather Mull
Lyrics by ChaRon Don

"I would still say 'ladies' is a topic," he says with a laugh. "I didn't drop that. It's whatever the music gives me. I'm not gonna limit myself to writing about one thing. With this album ... I stuck with one topic, one kind of vibe. Even at that, it's different feels."

Tags: Music Features

Urban Music Education Project lets ChaRon Don help raise new MCs

"ChaRon is the greatest role model, because he's totally cool, and kind."

An early chance encounter with producer and engineer Riccardo Shulz — who also sits on the faculty of the music school at Carnegie Mellon University — provided a connection that put local rapper ChaRon Don (real name: ChaRon White) into schools as a teaching artist. Back when White and DJ Huggy were still high-schoolers looking for someone to master their early work, they contacted Shulz, who lived nearby in East Liberty.

By Andy Mulkerin Jul 30, 2014 - Andy Mulkerin

"Charon Don Goes Black Face For #VOTV PROMO | VIDEO"

Pittsburgh’s Own @ChaRonDon released a new CD titled #VoiceoftheVoiceless. Charon decided to go black face to symbolize the past black history struggle for entertainers to be themselves. Charon Don’s fourth LP “Voice of the Voiceless” just dropped, you can purchase a copy at - Muhammad A.

"ChaRon Don "Stolen From Africa""

(Music Video) ChaRon Don Rock Wit Me
New music video “Rock With Me” from SFA extended fam “ChaRon Don” representing from PITTSBURGH,PA!! Big shouts to him for rocking his red Stolen From Africa shirt, perfect addition to the concept!! BIG UP! blurb about:ChaRon Don... - Stolen From Africa Web Series

"ChaRon Don Releases New Video"

ChaRon Don & DJ Huggy drop “Rock Wit Me” from the album, Thee Official. - See more at: - Thomas Agnew

"Charon Don & DJ Huggy: From The Other PA City"

Charon Don and DJ Huggy might sound like your typical MC-producer duo, but they are far from it. Beginning with a chance meeting during high school in Pittsburgh, the pair forged a life long bond, which has endured various attempts at creating groups, record music and finally, sticking together to do their own thing together.

In 2001, the duo self-released their first project Mental Combustion, and locally, it was an album that garnered them recognition, helping them build a fan base to tour for. A year later, in 2002, they grinded enough to gain the attention of indie label, Good Hands Records, where they released their first official album, Art of Life, just this year.

So, while on the grind promoting the new album, caught up with one-half of the group to find out a little more about them and how their careers began, especially being from the other city in Pennsylvania. I understand that you and DJ Huggy hooked up after leaving your respective crews. Talk about that decision and why it worked best for both of you.

Charon Don: Well actually, Huggy and I have been together for ever since we were in a crew. We started out as a high school crew, which grew into a hip-hop group named Justuce in the late 90s. The crew consisted of myself alongside two other MCs and Huggy as the DJ. We got our names out and built a reputation by rocking consistent block parties and talent shows. Once we began to gain recognition, another crew formed with three other artists alongside myself and Huggy remained the DJ. While building with this second group and putting out local albums and rocking a lot more shows, our hunger and passion for hip-hop grew. As time passed and friends slowed up, Huggy and I kept producing and performing thus forming ChaRon Don and DJ Huggy. What intially drew you to DJ Huggy? What was it about his music made you really want to work with him?

Charon Don: Initially what drew me to Huggy was his love and hunger for the craft of DJ'ing and producing. I mean, I respect and look up to any artist who has a genuine and unique style and way of expressing themselves musically. His music was always creative and soulful while maintaining a basement grittyness (probably because he was literally recording and producing in his basement). Not to mention he killed the tables everytime he scratched on them and his sound was just dope. Ok, so you guys are from Pittsburgh, but Philly is basically the hub for music coming out of Philadelphia, and is the place best known from the state. Tell me a little about the scene and coming up in Pittsburgh. How much of a challenge is it to get noticed out there?

Charon Don: Life is a challenge. As an artist getting your "just dues" is hard no matter where your from. It's always going to be a struggle because there are so many artists and musicians in the world all trying to get seen and heard. As far as Pittsburgh goes, those who hate "hate hard" and those who love "show much love," so we experienced both sides of the field. Coming up, we had artists play their instruments right outside of the venue that we were playing at while we were on stage as a form of disrespect. While another day, people bring up cameras and markers for us to take pics and sign autographs. So the things we have and still experience make us strong and focused, yet keep us humble and grateful, for both fields have grew and taught us wisdom. For those who care enough to pay attention, gaining recognition was not hard at all, it's almost like the city was waiting and more observant through time. According to your bio, you self-released your first release, Mental Combustion, in 2001... I'm guessing it was an out-the-trunk type grind. What was your experience like getting that album out there like that?

Charon Don: Hard work, but well worth it. I'm a firm believer that once the seed is planted, other farmers with seeds will help in any way they can to spread and share space and opportunities, so that everyone's harvest will be beneficial. I watched how we did everything that was in our will and belief to do for that album and many doors and opportunities opened from our actions and good intention. From our manager at that time getting the material pressed up, to booking a tour with a group with much more experience and noteriety and traveling across the East Coast, we developed more and more and built our chemistry day in and day out. It was crazy how the people outside and inside of the state were taken to the music and live performance and from there, we knew the value of what we were creating. How much of your local buzz did a part of you signing with Good Hands to put out this new record?

Charon Don: I feel as though our local buzz got us noticed while our passion and gifts gained us respect and love. We had a strong buzz, which helped to push DJ B-Bonics to link Good Hands Records with us while we were out in Philadelphia on this same low budget tour in which I was speaking on. So the label got to first hear how we get down on record and then see us in person rock the mic. This is the benefit and opportunity one can get only if they put in the work and grind. We never set out to get placed in the situations we were in, but we continued to do what we loved and were consistent and open enough to come face to face with whatever might arise. Since that first album, you guys have collaborated with some underground staples like Chief Kamachi and Reef [The Lost Cauze], while Huggy got production credits with some big acts. What's it like to move from a local act to being able to work with artists I'm sure you were a fan of?

Charon Don: It's both a blessing and learning experience. I'm grateful to get up with legends like Kamachi and Reef, because they are authentic and untouchable in terms of what they are bringing to the game. We are A-Alikes who share the love and hunger for our culture and music, so I feel honored to get with family whether their distant relatives or in the same household. Before we talk about your new album, explain how you would describe your music... for the people who haven't heard of you yet.

Charon Don: It's the voice of reality, put onto grade A production. It's the balance of the worlds in which we live in. It's the doctrine of the people you see and live with everyday... a musical journey. On the real, it's whatever you want it to be if your open enough to accept it. Ok, your latest album is titled The Art Of Life. What's the meaning behind that title?

Charon Don: Life is forever moving, vibrant, changing and growing. Therefore Handsdown is here to break down the science of that existence we call "life." Plus the title just had a ring to it. What's different with this album, compared to your release in 2001?

Charon Don: uhhh. How bout the quality of production? The maturity of the content and topics? My voice no longer sounds like a little boy going through puberty using complex words and battle oriented punchlines and phrases (laughs). You name it. We grew a lot and experienced much after that release though all of it was very necessary. It just trips me out that people to this day come up to me and ask for copies and give testimonies on how much they love that first record. Music is a hard sell these days, so why should someone buy your album if they haven't heard of you or any of the music from it yet?

Charon Don: It's not what the majority of artists are creating. It's our story, given to the listener therefore it was created with a different purpose and objective. Give chances before you form judgements because you never know what might be a benefit to you once you do give it a chance. What's going on with you, as far as the immediate future?

Charon Don: Continuing to promote the project, more shows. Hopefully a tour or two (hint, hint), the launch of website, the release of three exclusive HandsDown music videos/mixtape and DVD boxset. And that's just the immediate future (laughs). Big up to Ballertstatus for the love and much love and respect to all future artist and fans of the music. Peace - Ronnie Gamble

"Charon Don & DJ Huggy - Art of Life"

If there was any measure of justice in this world, Charon Don and DJ Huggy would get a lot of attention for Art of Life, which is one of the dopest releases of the year.

Straight out of Pittsburgh, PA, it's Charon Don and DJ
Huggy, one of the few deejay/rapper duos in the modern era of Hip Hop.
With notable appearances by artists such as Rah Digga and Killah
Priest, it's clear the two came to do business - so let's get right to
it, shall we?

The album starts of with the energetic and intense "Just Wanna Know,"
which features Reef The Lost Cauze. The song addresses nosy
folk with humorous contempt: "They wanna know, 'how you get your album out,
how you get it in stores?/When you hittin' the road, how you be getting on
tours?...What's your sales today, how much you Soundscan?/Why you think the
underground don't got no brown fans?/What's your next move, what's the next
step?/Why you still got a job, you ain't seen them checks yet?/Why you think
these wack cats seem to double your sales?/Damn nigga, how the fuck you get in

The next track is "Ready Or Naught," which, while a little slower than the
previous song, packs quite a wallop. It makes one wonder if Charon Don
plans to turn down the ferocity of his emceeing at any point. Reassuring in
that respect is "Up
In Here," which features both an excellent display of braggadocio
and an infectious beat. Things get back to being intense with "Stop(Best Beware),"
as Charon's yelling just barely begins to get tiresome.
Thankfully, as if on cue, the song is followed by the far more laid back "Ghetto."
Although it's not exactly relaxing, the guitar strums in the background are a
welcome change of pace, as is Charon's decision to tone it

One of the album's highlights is "Observers," featuring Killah
Priest. The beat is one part spaced out and one part sinister as Charon
Don and Priest just tear through their verses. Next
up is "Motherless
Child," which would be better left off of the album as it
contributes very little in terms of content, while simultaneously detracting
from cohesiveness. Fortunately, all the rest of the tracks are extremely solid,
highlighted by "Make
it Good" and "Act Like You Know."

As far as production goes, the only drawback on this album is that a few of
the samples have already very obviously already been flipped, sometimes making
it seem like you've paid for the same song twice. For example, "Just Wanna Know" features
the same sample Pharoahe Monch used for "Let's Go." As
a consequence, the album sounds very familiar. The more astute listeners out
there will assuredly pick up on this; if it's the sort of thing that really bothers
you, it could be very detrimental to your listening experience. Personally, I
think most of the albums' beats are a damn sight better than most of the shit
out right now - "Act
Like You Know's" - Roman Cooper

"Charon Don and DJ Huggy Offer Art Of Life"

The road to independent success is paved with obstacles, but a select few artists seem to breeze along as they develop in their careers. Pittsburgh, Philadelphia natives Charon Don and DJ Huggy are prime examples of artists who make working hard look easy. The duo, also known as Hands Down, is preparing the release of their second full-length project entitled Art Of Life. The album will be released September 4 on Good Hands Records.

After the release of their 2001 debut album Mental Combustion, Charon Don and DJ Huggy signed with Good Hands Records, and have worked on a number of projects from Charon Don's involvement on JuJu Mob's Black Candles LP to Huggy's production for various artists including Wiz Khalifa, Black Rob, Baby of Cash Money, Camp Lo and MC Eiht.

The most valuable thing the duo has attained through their work is a solid chemistry. "I've definitely learned that chemistry is very important - getting to know yourself and the creative partners around you," explains DJ Huggy. "Due to the circumstances of making this album and doing our outside projects, I realized that Charon and I definitely have that chemistry. I don't take it for granted - our project is moving on time."

Art Of Life is an 18-song journey with Charon and Huggy, as they unveil life experiences that have affected the evolution of their sound. Guest appearances on the album include Rah Digga, Lil Scrappy, Wiz Khalifa, Killah Priest, Reef The Lost Cauze, BeLove, Leymar White and Chief Kamachi, while DJ Huggy holds down all of the production. The rousing first single from the album "Up In Here" features Lil Scrappy and Rah Digga.

"Overall, I would say this album is a balance- it's half culture, half street," says Charon Don. "There are key concepts of politics and history, but we are speaking on what we see in our neighborhood. Art of Life is a freedom of expression. We're all artists, and we are just painting what we see."

For more information on Charon Don and DJ Huggy, go to - PR Web

"Hands Down :: Art of Life :"

Quick, name a hip-hop artist out of Pittsburgh, PA. You can't? Well, let me give you two - Charon Don and DJ Huggy make up Hands Down. Having met in high school, the duo has been active on the local scene since the late '90s, as members of crews such as Justuce and Illogic Rumor and by releasing the full-length "Mental Combustion" together in 2001. One year later they signed with Good Hands Records, which lead to appearances on Chief Kamachi's "Cult Status" and Reef the Lost Cauze's "Feast or Famine," as well as to Charon's stint in Kamachi's JuJu Mob project. Meanwhile, Huggy claims production credits for established artists such as Black Rob, Baby, Camp Lo, and MC Eiht.

They have yet to catch the attention of the general hip-hop public, and leaving it open whether they want to be known as Hands Down, a name they adopted more recently, or as Charon Don & DJ Huggy, might be detrimental to making a name for themselves. If after this review you should decide to investigate further, don't forget to search for 'Charon Don & DJ Huggy' as that seems to be the artist name retailers file them under. Having actually listened to the album, I can attest that the group name is Hands Down. With that out of the way, let's delve right into "Art of Life," the album that ought to propel their name(s) past the Pittsburgh city limits.

Clocking in at 76 minutes, "Art of Life" is an ambitious longplayer that aims for more than putting its protagonists on the map. Charon Don does an admirable job as a committed rapper, his voice almost constantly raised, with a pitch similar to Rhymesayer Brother Ali. While Ali balances urgency and nonchalance quite effectively, Charon sometimes is a tad bit too eager, but given rap's current lack of emotive voices (respect to Kanye West for being the most prominent exception to the rule), his commitment is welcome. Speaking of 'Ye, the duo laces "Ready or Naught" in best West tradition, DJ Hug laying down a layered rhythm track and letting it interact with a gospel- tinged choir gracing this quasi-theme song that should be a staple of Hands Down live shows by now. Vocally, Charon takes command like he's supposed to, arguing, "You can't pen what I pen / unless you been where I been / from begin to the end."

The first ten tracks of "Art of Life" cover an impressive range of musical styles, no two tracks sounding the same despite the entire album being produced by the team of DJ Huggy & I.D. Productions. "Just Wanna Know" derives its soulful shine from the '80s, the anthemic beat being topped off with lots of scratching. The lead single "Up in Here" is a rugged club joint with hard-knocking drums and driving organs that unites PA, GA and NJ with appearances from Lil Scrappy displaying his A-Town drawl and Rah Digga pulling no punches with her Brick City spit while Charon isn't reluctant to rep his hometown, "holdin' Pittsburgh down / black and gold on the map, it's a Pittsburgh sound."

Although you won't be able to pin down "a Pittsburgh sound" after listening to "Art of Life," you will have to give it up to Charon Don for sounding just as comfortable over the slick, booming "Alphanumeric" as over the sparse, thoughtful "Ghetto." Albeit far from original by now, "Stop (Best Beware)" competently continues the trend of rhyming around vocal samples. "Frequency of Love" is a mature relationship song last but not least thanks to the classy production and soothing R&B vocals courtesy of BeLove. The conceptual "Anything Can Happen" is backed by suspenseful orchestration combining light guitars and heavy drums, while "Act Like You Know," a JuJu Mob flashback featuring Chief Kamachi, is a cinematic track of the highest order suggesting that DJ Huggy has a future in soundtrack scoring. - Matt Jost

"Chief Kamachi & the JuJu Mob :: Black Candles :: Good Hands Records/Eastern Conference Records"

After claiming "Cult Status" last year, it makes sense that the self-appointed Mic Messiah Chief Kamachi would establish his proper cult, in hopes of increasing a potential cult following. His brethren in faith are Reef The Lost Cauze, Charon Don and State Sore, and together they form a Pennsylvania state team that combines the precise flows of G-Unit, the polysyllabic stamina of The Diplomats, the troop morale of Killarmy, the fervor of Outerspace, the spiritual vocabulary of the Gravediggaz and the disdain for commercial rap channelled through battle raps as practiced by the Extended Famm. That's quite a few loose ends to tie together, but somehow the JuJu Mob manages to put it all into a cohesive form. If you let State Sore tell it, musically "it's manic depressive music that animals dance to" while lyrically "it's ghetto lectures for poor people who can't afford no blessings."

For the critic, "Black Candles" can only be grasped with the broadest terms. JuJu Mob is four rappers, three from Philly, one from Pittsburgh, making full use of the traditional crew outfit while conceptually continuing down the path already laid by one of its members. That's the only method to the madness here. The details don't make much sense, what makes sense is the line-up, the solid skills the foursome brings to the table, and the music they chose to rap over.

Young Jedis ready to switch to the dark side of the force like Anakin will have more to latch on to than the fact that these rappers don't discuss the gloss, the shine and the bling of their rims, their platinum plaques and their jewelry. "When I walk you hear the theme music from _The Omen_," Reef boasts, but the faux classical strings and otherworldly voices of "Black of Dawn" already make for a familiar rap theme for him to introduce his crew to:

"Imagine if the Prince of Darkness
fathered a four-headed monster
and sent it to conquer the black market
And after the slaughter the monster grew stronger
broke free from the chains, held in hell no longer
This is the team to beat, my money's on the Mob
The jig is up, your squad is a facade
Y'all nothin' special, I fuckin' stretch you
You'll have to wear a mask for the rest of your life like MF Doom"

Reef's very first verse serves as the blueprint for much of the following onslaught carried out with a double-edged sword of battle raps and pop culture references from the gothic side. The Mobb Deep influence is strong as well, showing itself in incisive lines like "This like gettin' your wrist slit, you can feel this shit." Like the Infamous, the JuJu Mob hopes for "heavy airplay all day with no chorus." Thus, the DJ Mighty Mi-produced "No Chorus" is the perfect platform for the battle-hardened Reef to voice his frustration with the rap game:

"I'm all about beef like Tony Luke's
This rap game is filled with phony spooks
weirdos, white boys and corny groups - which one are you?
I feel none of you, cause I don't like my feelings hurt
You bitch-made, can't even conceal your skirt
I'm the pastor of the illest church"

Kamachi channels 50 Cent on "Radios," while the ever-quotable Reef burns down stations by lighting playlists on fire and warns competition, "Your little world, I'll dismantle that / the energy of ancestors, I channel that / So whoever number one, we on your heels like sandal straps." Unfortunately, simple skills alone don't get you very far in this industry. There comes a point on this album where you know that the JuJu Mob has no tricks up their sleeves left. You know their MO, and you won't be surprised that the temptingly titled "Angel Feathers" isn't a grand finale, but just another track that happens to be the last one. The internal song contest is clearly won by "Voodoo Doll," a bitter, misogynist version of Bobby Digital's "La Rhumba."

Solid songwriting is also displayed on "Never Walk Alone," a scenario where Reef gets shot and Charon takes revenge. The latter steps out of the shadow of his partners with the solo track "Situation," a personal piece climaxing in "I'm every blackman's history / and every blackman's memory / Nah eff that, I'm every blackman's mystery / Respect that like a blackman's mysery." But the political undertones are faint on "Black Candles." "No Hard Feelings" has a couple, Kamachi's "Hey God, this is Kunta talkin', so don't try to tell me Toby wait" or Charon's "The industry's a slave-made slave trade / Jacob [the Jeweler]'s got the chains for the paid slaves." But you're much more likely to bump into politically incorrect statements made by Kamachi, who apparently can't help himself when it comes to hurting religious feelings.

You could speculate all day about what exactly makes Chief Kamachi and his JuJu Mob tick. State Sore probably sums it up best when he explains how he's doing it "for the love of crafty rappin' / meanin' I'ma earn my earnin's / from issuin' out some of the most burnin' sermons." While most of the crew's self-descriptions aren't really applicable in real life, they certainly make for entertaining rhetoric, whether Reef argues, "If your flow is water, then JuJu is crushed cubes," State Sore claims, "I don't kitty-kat with the beat, I straight dog it" or Mach' would have you believe that "Messiah make history records / with the ancient mystery methods / and then I spit the wisdom of all kingdoms connected."

Ultimately, JuJu Mob manage to make satisfying music in spite of the not particularly convincing concept they came up with. There are few musical surprises (one being State Sore performing the chorus to "This" with a rich singing voice), but what's there is solid from beginning to end. Detailed production credits were not available for this review, but the newcomers who apparently make up much of the production team have provided some nice beats to add to their resume, whether it's the Alchemist-like "Akbar" or the Eyego-produced "This," which carries a spiritual vibe missing from the lyrics. Their most clubbish offering, "Right!" will probably not get many spins, but E. Dan's (of Pittsburgh's Strict Flow) "My Squad" with its hymnic '80s pop rock touch might and "Voodoo Doll" definitely should. I know at least four guys who would find some perverted delight in it. - Matt Jost

"Chief Kamachi & The Juju Mob – Black Candles"

Chief Kamachi zal vele bekend in de oren klinken vanwege zijn debuut album Cult Status. Dit keer komt hij terug met zijn eigen groep; de Juju Mob. Black Candles is het debuut voor de groep. Zal het album een lang luisterleven hebben of zal het licht snel doven?

De uit Philadelphia komende Chief Kamachi kwam een jaar geleden met zijn Cult Status. Na talloze 12 inches en zijn debuut is deze MC niet meer weg te denken uit de scene. Nu in 2005 komt Kamachi terug, maar dit keer met de ondersteuning van Reef The Lost Cauze, Charon Don en State Store, samen zijn zij de Juju Mob. Het debuut album van deze formatie heet Black Candles en komt uit op het Eastern Conference label.

Wanneer je het schijfje in je cd speler doet, valt het op dat er veel gerefereerd wordt naar de kerk en ook naar de bijbel, dit is niet vreemd want Chief Kamachi heeft 10 jaar gestudeerd voor het priesterschap. Wat verder opvalt zijn de donkere beats die precies bij de rauwe flows van de Juju Mob passen. Er wordt met veel agressie duidelijk gemaakt wie zij nou eigenlijk zijn. De vloeiende flows en de rauwe stemmen gaan vooral over het vertegenwoordigen van de Mob, het is een vrij religieus schouwspel met veel soortgelijke samples. Naast religieuze samples bevatten de teksten ook religieuze verwijzingen. Een voorbeeld is: “Imagine if the Prince of Darkness/ fathered a four-headed monster/ and sent it to conquer the black market/ And after the slaughter the monster grew stronger broke free from the chains, held in hell no longer.”
Er zit een aardig gangsta gehalte in met betrekking op het vermoorden, na het luisteren van dit album zijn ongeveer 20 personen begraven na vuurgevechten. Verder zitten er ook niet echt onderwerpen in, de enige track met een echt onderwerp is het nummer Never Walk Alone. Hierin wordt Reef neergeschoten en verteld Charon dat hij niet kan slapen totdat hij wraak genomen heeft. Verder is er het nummer Radios waarin zij zich afvragen waarom zij nooit op de radio te horen zijn.
Als het gangsta gehalte en de weinig echte topics even buiten beschouwing gelaten worden, zit dit album tekstueel vrij strak in elkaar. Dit komt mede door de strakke flow van de leden, verder weet het tekstueel te boeien doordat er met leuke woordspelingen wordt gewerkt. De Juju Mob laat dus wel even zien dat ze lyrisch niet zomaar uitdoven als een kaars. De beats klinken lekker donker en over het algemeen vrij hard, het past dus allemaal lekker bij elkaar en luistert daarom ook lekker weg.
Wat ook opvalt is dat dit album helemaal geen features bevat. Chief Kamachi en de Juju Mob zorgen voor genoeg variatie dus ze hebben deze features ook zeker niet nodig.

Na een aantal luisterbeurten gaat het gangsta gehalte toch wel vervelen en dit is jammer, omdat voor de rest de teksten gewoon lekker in elkaar zitten. Dit is dan ook wel het grootste nadeel van het album. Tevens het missen van echte onderwerpen doet het album niet echt goed, het luistert beter weg wanneer er verschillende topics in de teksten zitten. Waar af en toe ook wat puntjes gemist worden zijn de beats, ze zijn allemaal lekker donker, maar af en toe zouden ze wat harder mogen.

Chief Kamachi en de Juju Mob doen het best redelijk met hun debuut. Black Candles zit tekstueel vrij aardig tot goed in elkaar en de beats klinken over het algemeen lekker donker waardoor de rauwe stemmen van Kamachi, Reef, Charon Don en State Store er goed uitkomen. Wat een groot nadeel is, zijn de vele gangsta verwijzingen in de vorm van het vermoorden van mensen. Na twee nummers weet je het wel dus na een heel album gaat dit aardig irriteren. Tevens is het jammer dat niet alle beats even hard zijn, hierdoor worden er toch wat puntjes gemist. Voor de mensen die van rauwe hardcore hiphop zonder te veel poespas houden zal dit geen miskoop zijn, voor de mensen die van meer diepgang in hiphop houden zullen dit album eerder aan zich voorbij laten gaan.

Meer info: &

01. Word Of Mob
02. Black Of Dawn
03. No Hard Feelings
04. This
05. Radios
06. No Chorus
07. Right!
08. Voodoo Doll
09. Never Walk Alone
10. Situation
11. Akbar
12. My Squad
13. Burning Candles
14. Angel Feathers -

"Welcome To Soul Travelin' Music"

Anything Can Happen

"It sounds cliché, but many a successful crew began working together by a chance meeting during the hell we call high school. That kid who made the illest beats by banging on the lunchroom table or on the beatbox teaming up with the one lyricist who always stood out in the cipher. Well, the story of ChaRon Don and D.J. Huggy began along those lines. Both graduates of Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA, ChaRon and Huggy hooked up after initially migrating from their respective crews at the time. ChaRon, who surprisingly came from "spoken word" roots, parlayed his use of prose to more conventional hip-hop lyrics. The task is easy enough, as many artists feel restricted and sometimes perceived as an outsider spitting poems instead of ill rhymes, sort f like making a 360 from band nerd to jock. Entering the Hip-Hop realm as part of the collective known as "Justuce" and shortly after working with "Illogic Rumor." Huggy, on the other hand was the kid with the equipment, therefore he went through a slew of emcees hungry for his minimalistic but raw tracks.

The two first showcased their distinctive sound to the masses by taking part in a bi-monthly "lyricist-lounge"-esque show called "Theraputix" at the Kingsley Center in East Liberty section of Pittsburgh. After being together for a mere three weeks they dropped their first "official" release in mid 1999. Investing time and money, burning CD's to the crack of dawn. Camping out at Kinko's, running copies and cutting inserts manually to save a buck. Fairly silent throughout most of 2000, we caught a glimpse of them at the occasional local revue. It was at once of those shows that they impressed Moes of Influential Flavor (a local promotions company) so much that he instantly approached the crew backstage and inked a management contract with no delay. Already in the process of dropping a follow-up release, Moes proved to be an integral force in providing the financial backing needed for wide scale distribution.

ChaRon and Huggy's release, "Mental Combustion" hit the stores in September 2001 and moved a substantial amount of units. An impressive collection of work from the packaging, to the beats, to ChaRon's ever-changing rhyme flow. "I'm moody, I have an Indian summer type of personality, however I feel in the morning inspires me to write how I write," states ChaRon. Performing a juggling act of sorts, they continued to attend school, work part-time and squeeze out enough time in the day to practice several times a week.

More recently ChaRon and Huggy have adopted the name "Hands Down" and are constantly working on new material and perfecting their craft. Huggy works full-time at a local recording studio, I.D. Labs and ChaRon is pursuing higher education while maintaining a part-time job and penning lyrics for the upcoming sophomore, yet to be titled release. Keep an ear out for Hands Down the name says it all." -

"ChaRon Don "How I'm Living""

Official Music Video for ChaRon Don song, "How I'm Living" off the "F.T.H. (Future Take Hold)" Album Release. Follow @charondon and visit for more info.

Download the single for FREE at

Filmed completely with DJI OSMO. Edited on Adobe Premiere Pro CC.xx. - Will

"ChaRon Don Talks Latest Album, Inspiration and Challenges As An Independent Artist"










"An online zine and cultural boutique geared towards uplifting people of color for a positive sense of self"

Follow us

**Submissions chosen for publication may be edited for length and clarity. All submissions become the shared property of Nubian Impulse and may be published along with the name of individual in any and all Nubian Impulse branded media now known and hereafter developed.

© 2017 Nubian Impulse Publishing + Co. All Rights Reserved.

Write For Us

Make A Donation

COntact Us

[VIDEO]: Kara Jenelle Kills It To AfroBeat Remix of Beyonce's "Formation"

December 17, 2016




ChaRon Don Talks Latest Album, Inspiration and Challenges As An Independent Artist

March 29, 2017

| By:

Sahaar Turner

It all started in high school...That kid who made the illest beats by banging on the lunchroom table or on the beatbox, teaming up with the rawest lyricist in the cipher. Well, that's how the story of Charon Don and DJ Huggy began. Right at Schenley High School, Charon and Huggy connected after initially migrating from their respective crews at the time. They went on to self-release the Mental Combustion album in September 2001 and moved a substantial amount of units. In 2002 the duo signed with Good Hands Records and appeared on the acclaimed 12” "The Beast Within" b/w "Keystone Cops," which featured The High and Mighty’s Mr. Eon and Chief Kamachi.

Since then, Charon has released multiple independent projects creating a voice for those who are voiceless in the community; tackling subjects from racism to black love. On February 17, 2017, Charon released his fourth solo album titled "Future Take Hold". We got a chance to catch up with Charon and ask him about his creative processes:

Think about the first time you ever got in the studio, what was that experience like? The music, the release of creative energy, how did you feel when you made your first song?

My first memories of recording are full of reverence, love and passion. I grew up recording primarily in basement or attic closet spaces with walls insulated with either egg carton or mattress fabric. My friends were deejays, emcees, graffiti artist and break dancers so my personal collective inspired me to keep creative. Recording was a way to document and amplify the emotions I was keeping in my heart and mind and I couldn't get enough of it. I loved hearing the new courage I had found in my voice and quickly understood the power and significance of this poetic ability I was developing. Indeed my first recordings made me feel accomplished and successful. I went from a "nobody" to a "somebody" in a matter of a few verses and couple hooks (chorus). By far the process gave me my "cool" and pushed me as a writer and performer.

What do you find the most challenging in being an independent artist ?

The most challenging aspect of being independent is sometimes not having the means to fully express myself. As an independent artist I invest a lot of time, money, and work that goes ignored, misinterpreted and taken for granted. And though being independent brings a level of freedom, it also can be frustrating and straining on the individual. In my beginning stages I had a lot more support in life but naturally as time goes people fade in and out of your life creating a necessity to find our own paths. The goal is to use this opportunity as an independent artist to learn, create and share as much as I can while maintaining a healthy balance to everything else in my life. This challenge i enjoy and am becoming better at. This place of learning is bringing me a new strength and knowledge, some that i can share with fellow artist and youth.

We see you just released a new project titled, 'Future Take Hold', what was the creative process of that? What is the overarching message?

Yes, the new project is one that has to be viewed within the context of my body of work thus far. I have several albums (4 solo records) and a couple collaboration projects which all speak to black culture and entertainment. Couple years ago i released "Voice of the Voiceless" an album that was heavily inspired by those of us within the African Diaspora who have been silenced and or misunderstood for too long. It is an intense body of work which tackles topics like knowledge of self, racism, bullying, child sex trafficking, black love, etc while still finding room to explore the more common hip hop themes as battling, club music and storytelling.

The music is as diverse as the themes and a multitude of upcoming musicians took part. That album went so deep into politics and other heavy issues that I was ready to release another album which was less message based and a bit more "light" in content. The idea of F.uture T.ake H.old was to let the music inspire me to follow suite with lyrics and not dictate what the outcome would be. It was organic, fun and more vybe driven. As with all my albums I start out with production from a few in house producers (Diezel, Huggy, B-Rob) etc and go from there.

Engineer Diezel will build and fine tune the tracks as i write inside the studio and create as we go. its always fascination feeling the synchronicity of the music. we are just as much fans of the music as our supporters are so we get to experience the same feeling making it as they can when listening to the final mix. The overarching message is to accept whatever comes in life by being as adaptable as you can. I personally believe that's what makes us so strong and unique as a people.. we will find away to survive, no matter what.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing music independently?

I would tell them to be strong enough to do it alone yet humble enough to accept the energy from other creatives. The more knowledge and experience you have in your craft the better your art will be.

Five years have gone by and you just had a huge party with tons of champagne, what are you celebrating? What have you accomplished?

I'm celebrating the fact I have the means and opportunity to celebrate. Life itself is worth being celebrated. My existence, family, health, and the power of art! I've accomplished being a survivor, a student, teacher, artist, husband, and voice to the Voiceless. I have been blessed to experience things and meet people who have given me some powerful positive jewels that have brought more understanding, love and energy to my life. i have traveled places some will never get to travel to and find every opportunity to be grateful and celebrate whatever position I'm in.

On your downtime, what do you enjoy? Any side hobbies?

I enjoy listening to music of all genres, writing, reading mostly non fiction, going to the theater to see movies, comedy club, and going out to eat at local restaurants.
My favorite hobby is studying culture and traveling to different cities, states and countries.

If you weren't creating music, what would be your career path of choice?

Probably teaching and or counseling the youth. I still may get my degree and take on this dream in the near future. Inshallah, all in time.

How do you respond to critics?

I respond to critics by continuing to do what I have always done... put out more content, but bigger and better, just so they have more to critique, hate, love... experience.

You're promoting your album at an event and someone randomly comes over to your table and asks to listen. When they discover how much they enjoy your music, they write you a check for $10,000 to support your endeavors; how do you use the money?

I would use the money to invest in more recording and performance equipment. This is always a great investment because technology is changing so fast and great sound will always be a necessity. I would also put money into some venues where we could hold regular jam sessions and showcase events for aspiring artist.

CD or Vinyl?

Both, I enjoy the CD for its conventionality and vinyl for its classic look and complexity sonic wise. I have had the opportunity to have my music duplicated on both and they are favorites for collectors.

What artists (local or mainstream) have you been listening to a lot lately?

Honestly, I go though seasons where I choose different genres to explore and my two most recent have been roots reggae artists like Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9, etc to hip hop artists like J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, etc. Unfortunately the hip hop local scene is not what it used to be and I find more inspiration musically listening to artists from different cities, and countries. The city in its current state lacks the culture necessary to grow hip hop to the next level therefore networking abroad is necessary. I have found much inspiration in the local Soul, Punk, R and B and Rock genres.

Who or what inspires you to keep going?

All forms of art inspire me to continue the works, but the art has to grab my attention. It has to be dope! A painting, a conversation, a social experience, etc. I am moved by that which has depth and style. I'm inspired by the youth I mentor in the schools and commune with at the local library. I'm inspired to continue succeeding, failing, learning, experimenting, playing.. it's all inspiration to keep going..

In your opinion, what is the one thing that is stopping you from manifesting the life you want to live?

I truly believe there is no thing stopping me from manifesting a different life. To manifest I must plant the seed and the rest is up to the creator. The works is the seed, you see it and hear it.. in the right season the manifestation will be the harvest. I dare not change that. I'm more than grateful and happy for where I am as an artist and accept the present and what is yet to come... thus F.uture T.ake H.old

Download 'Future Take Hold' here:



ChaRon Don

Pittsburgh Hip Hop


underground hip hop



Sahaar Turner

Exec. Editor

I am a multi-dimensional artist, writer, mommy and spiritual seeker of wisdom. Lover of tea, nature and good music. - Sahaar Turner


1 – 4 of 4




ChaRon Don & DJ Huggy -

Mental Combustion ‎(CD, Album)

Not On Label

Charon Don & DJ Huggy -

Art Of Life ‎(CD, Album)

Traffic Entertainment Group
TEG 2441

Voice Of The Voiceless ‎(CD, Album, Ltd)

Hands Down Music

Singles & EPs

Charon Don, DJ Huggy -

Up In Here / Just Wanna Know / Make It Good ‎(12", Single)

Traffic Entertainment Group
TEG 1949



ChaRon Don is an emcee/hiphop songwriter with a gritty yet polished delivery. The deep rooted sound  was born on the steel city streets of Pittsburgh, Pa where ChaRon Don has obtained quite a respect and reputable recognition within the hip hop scene and culture. A lyricist who cannot be easily described beyond limitless and innovative, he continually evolves with time and experience. While ChaRon Dons style is a mix of both cultural and street awareness it gives a great balance to his body of work by using entertainment and education as a means of communication . From rocking stages, creating and internationally distributing over 5 solo albums, and teaching Hiphop in Pittsburgh Public Schools he represents the HipHop culture well. An emcee who must be heard and seen for what and who he is ..  A True representation of a vast community and culture.. One who is real enough, talented enough and fearless enough to create an experience for all who witness . ChaRon's ability to organically fuse entertainment with education keeps his approach unpredictable and fresh. An ability which has landed him opportunities to travel the world performing and presenting his music for music enthusiast, fans and educators alike. As the sole artist- teacher for Carnegie Mellon Universities Urban Music Program ChaRon has learned how to naturally transition into a leader by being a voice of the voiceless people from his life who have molded him into who he currently is. ChaRon Don is part of several groups (Juju Mob, Handsdown) and has continually put out some form of music for the past 15 years. He has worked with artist such as Khilla Priest, Guru, Lil Kabaka Pyramid, Rah Digga, Wiz Khalifa and more. His most current albums can be found on his Bandcamp page and or Website ChaRonDon.Com  . He is currently looking for management to collaborate on some online ventures and help grow fan base. 

Band Members