Download: Charlie Ross – The Charlie Ross Project
Many artists benefit from glowing endorsements from their colleagues, especially if the artist giving the suggestion has measurable talent themselves. However, as many listeners know, this doesn’t always mean the act is worth the energy. In the case of Charlie Ross, a producer and MC who hails from Pennsylvania and resides in the Washington Metropolitan area, the tactic has worth. yU (of Diamond District, The Remainz, and The 78ers fame) has taken on the task of introducing the world to Charlie Ross’ fantastic debut EP The Charlie Ross Project.
Recorded in 2007 in Japan and produced entirely by Ross, the EP begins on a strong note with “The SparkOff”. The melodic, hypnotic track is just sparse enough for Ross’ confident rhymes to shine brightly – and there is a fantastic interlude employing a humorous Richard Pryor routine at the song’s end. Next is “That Ol’ Live Ish”, a beautiful instrumental that would benefit greatly from vocals – a very slight disappointment early on.
Things pick up speed with “Deep Down Dirty” – Charlie Ross’ verses recant a true school aesthetic and the beat is a perfect backdrop for his performance. Again, another stellar interlude is featured at the end of the track. “I’m Gon Do It” is an amicable pairing of beats and rhymes but it reveals the EP’s most evident (if slight) flaw – much of its songs are smoothly paced and are devoid of any real energy. There’s also a limited amount of tempos, which renders the project to possessing a sameness throughout – but to Ross’ credit, the tracks stand out fine on their own. “Nuthin Can” is the EP’s bonus track and features the aforementioned yU. The track is perhaps this mini-project’s best; the energy that was lacking on the previous cuts finally appears. Charlie Ross and yU both deliver potent performances and the sampled hook wins in every regard.
Charlie Ross has shown the potential necessary to be a formidable artist with this offering. While this is all older material, it retains a fresh sound but lacks the variation to hold prolonged interest beyond a few listens. One should hope that with Charlie Ross’ next release that he’ll use his stellar vocal instrument to greater effect and take a few risks with tempo and pacing. Still, this EP serves as a fantastic introduction to yet another in the long list of DMV-based artists on the rise.