Sunday, August 9, 2009

Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf - Big Shots

My favorite Disney movie was always The Fox and the Hound. I don’t remember if I got its message against segregation and society’s judgment, but as I grew I did. But now as I watch it, with a greater knowledge of what it does and what it sets out to do I can say that it features one of the most honest and beautiful depictions of young friendship and one of the most crushing resolutions, in which those friends are torn apart.

Now, I can’t help but look at Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf, hip-hop heavyweights lost in time, without thinking of Fox and the Hound. The similarities are both eerie and heartbreaking: Two kids from two very different backgrounds come together to make beautiful music only to be ripped apart by a fucking bear…err, mugger. The two met in Southern California in 1989, Charizma was 16 and Peanut Butter Wolf (aka Chris Manak aka founder of Stone Throw Records) was 19. The two became the best of friends and both had a deep love for hip hop and recorded a number of demos, with Charizma rapping and P.B. Wolf producing, which resulted with the duo being signed to Disney’s Hollywood Basics label. Unfortunately, this all came to an end in 1993, when Charizma was murdered, at the age of 20, as a result of a mugging. P.B. Wolf took a break from music until 1996 when he started up Stones Throw Records, and in 2003 almost 10 years after Charizma’s death he finally released Big Shots, a compilation of their work together.

Although Charizma may come off as a sort of self-serving name for a rapper, but no rapper deserves the name quite as much as Charizma does. He’s like the Barack Obama of hip hop. It’s hard to imagine him without a smile on his face while he raps and his love of hip hop is evident in his tone and his lyrics. Peanut Butter Wolf’s production works perfectly with Charizma as it’s upbeat yet meticulous, and it’s clear the two shared a deep admiration and respect for one another.

Big Shots is like the perfect hybrid of East Coast and West Coast hip hop, as it combines the carefree air of the West with the lyrical prowess of the East. We may never see a pair quite as talented and likable as Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf, so let’s take an apple juice break to remember what we lost.

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