26-year-old artist Chames, who hails from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has been writing songs and poetry since the age of 10—and lyrics/substance have always been at the forefront of his music. “Expect to hear everything from introspection, to ego-driven lyrics, to spirituality, and—above all else—the plight and triumphs of a young adult,” he explains. “I’m trying to navigate my way through life; I’m just honest with all of the thoughts and emotions that come along with it whether they be good and bad.” With a kind of underwhelming web presence and an album which seemed to relatively untouched by many ears, I’ll admit my skepticism going into this project which made it’s way across my desk. I’m glad I gave it a spin, though. It’s a gem that I think y’all should mess with. Sonically a vibe that would make fans of Chance The Rapper happy, with a sense of wordplay that puts me in the mind of someone like Consequence.
Self-Actualization 2 is such a refreshing listen—especially after the weekend we’ve seen across the nation. At ten songs, with a few very uplifting skits, the project is packed with knowledge of self, motivation, wisdom, and bars galore. It kicks off with “Inside You,” a song that eloquently explains that everything you truly need to be happy is already inherently inside of you—we’re just often blinded by the world full of visual white noise that keeps us focused on the wrong things. This sense of knowing yourself is all about the project and exemplified in wise words of both Martin Luther King and Obama—whom he credits on “Listen To The Kids” as ‘Uncle Barack’—set to melodic instrumentals. What’s cool is that he doesn’t pretend to be without fault; he sounds young, but reformed, with a sense of wisdom that only comes from a profound realization.
The bouncy Kid Jimi produced “No Tomorrow,” with its soul-sampled hook was the highlight of the album for me.
“I’m just an artist who is here to give you my truth,” he explains on his website. “I recount the ways of this land as I see it; the emotions that result are universally relatable.” That pretty sums up this project: relatable motivation. I’d like to hope this is the direction hip-hop is going—because it needs more leaders in this space and time!