Chancellor Warhol is doing the unordinary: leading the hip-hop renaissance within the country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee. Hailing from a hotbed for blues, country and rock music, his Until the Light Takes Me EP consists of dark, mysterious sounds ingrained with the grittiness of the South. And, unexpectedly, the high-life of fashion.
REVOLT talked to Warhol about the emergence of his hip-hop wave.
What was the inspiration behind the EP?
It started as a session with My Kid Brother (Josh Crosby) and we worked on a couple of tracks, one for me and another that Blackbear ended up using. As time went on, a lot of real-life changes happened that were good and bad. I was going back and forth to Los Angeles a lot and saw everything from cocaine tables to parties where everybody is a somebody. It was like the fashion world of New York, but much more destructive if you pretended to be something that you aren’t. It just wasn’t for me. All I wanted to do was work and explore new sounds.
I blew through money that I made from previous situations, lost friends, gain friends, etc. Life felt like a Gia Coppola film. I was searching for myself. I started being real with myself and a lot of the inspiration for this record came from the things that I love in culture and my travels, which took me to London as well. You hear more moody tones on this record because it stemmed from me going to these places and getting lost on purpose. All of the sounds on the record are not by accident. I wanted to paint a picture of a man’s journey as he searches for himself and also reinvents himself. It’s kind of like the rap version of Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. Like is this real or am I dreaming?
Each song has a different vibe and distinct sound. Is there a particular reason why you took this route?
I feel like the best movies have these moods that are very connected and make more sense as a whole. So, when you listen to the record from beginning to end you will get the full picture. All of the sonics flow together as a fashion film or an art film. I also look to brands for inspiration. So, “King Solomon,” for example, sounds like Rick Owens and Damir Doma. And “Trust Me ’91” sounds like Raf Simons and Acne Studios. “Trust Me ’91” was inspired by a much moodier song but it came out sounding more like something you could dance to, which I didn’t mind. I also am singing on the hook. I wanted to sing more on this record. Although I know when to bow out, I had to push for something new.
Your video from “Prom Tux” features no visuals referencing the title. What were you trying to convey?
That I could make a video on a $27 budget [laughs]. I often stay away from literal interpretations or obvious things. I was inspired by Stranger Things and Clipse’s single “Grindin’.” Plus, I wanted the tone to fit more to the sonics and showcase my people from my city. It felt more significant to come together, have something we could look back at, and be proud of what we made with what we had.
What is the meaning behind Until The Light Takes Me?
We all rise and fall to the public eye. If you take two years off, it looks like you’ve lost it. I did in a sense, but it was because I wasn’t making the music that I wanted to make. Also, I had major transitions in my life, from family to love to figuring out if I wanted to go back into fashion full-time. It was also a spiritual journey that I had to go through. I had to really find myself in order to move forward. So Until The Light Takes Me means that when you go through hell and come out on the other ends to become who you are meant to be until your dying day.
What would you like people to take away from your project once they finish listening to it?
Hopefully they know me a little bit better and I hope that it is something that they can connect with and want to be a part of the ride. I hope they ask more questions and grow with me.
Take a listen to Chancellor Warhol’s latest project Until The Light Takes Me below: