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“Street sounds falling through my mind like Chicago, everybody on my back wondering what I know.” – Charles Hamilton.

It’s been seven years since Charles Hamilton garnered popularity for his debut single “Brooklyn Girls” and six years since the Harlem rapper graced the cover of XXL’s 2009 Freshmen Class cover, but the introspective rapper’s back and better than ever.

At the top of 2015, Charles released his collaboration with Roc Nation pop star Rita Ora, “NY Raining,” which has received favorable reviews. But there’s more to Charles than high-profile collaborations and years-old viral videos.

While fans and critics may feel they already know Charles Hamilton, the Republic Records emcee decided to offer a different perspective in a three-minute introductory video in which Charles freestyles about life in Harlem.

“My music is a celebration of life,” he says.

In the video, Charles surprisingly admits he stopped writing in 2011 to focus solely on freestyling. He also discusses being a New York rapper, his growth, and perspective on life.

If you’re in New York City next month, catch Charles Hamilton live in concert at SOB’s on May 19. He’s also gearing up to release an EP this summer.

Get to know the real Charles Hamilton up top.