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Chuck Indigo is a Cup of Genre-Bending Tea with iNDigo Café

Evan Dale // Oct 8, 2019

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From a low-key pedestal in an underrated artistic mecca, Nashville’s Chuck Indigo releases silky, dualistic, unendingly artistic album, iNDigo Café. The fry cook in an underlying story that guides the album and weaves in and out of nearly every track, Chuck himself is much more musically than the one-dimensional role player his caricature portrays. 

His ability, on full display in what is his third full-length delivery in as many years, ranges from the high-energy cadence of a unique take on Tennessee hip-hop to the smooth, emotion-evoking pitch of his R&B vocalism. In true spirit of the modern post-genre transcendentalist, he knows no boundaries of the stylistic delineations of the past and instead chooses to flow freely between all the spectrums of which he has a truly unique understanding and emerging mastery. Fans of the musical breadth of Trey Songz, Drake, Tory Lanez, and D-Millz who exist within a similar range of boundlessness will find more than comfort at the iNDigo Café. They’ll find in Chuck Indigo the next generation of artists dominating the popular charts with a dualistic and modern rap-sung approach to music.

iNDigo Café is a journey along a duality of spectrums. It follows the comical underlining of a restaurant opening, driven by the monologuing of a high-energy, absurdist owner confrontational and blame-riddling his employees on past failures while speckling the album with hilarity and musical breaks. It also follows a dualistic exhibition of Chuck Indigo’s artistic range. He’s a rapper. He’s a singer. And beyond the reach of proving himself refined in both arenas, he also proves himself a vibrant storyteller to an extent he never has before.

But if anything feels most noteworthy and mentionable about the project, it’s its jarring switching of lanes. By the time the three-minute mark falls on iNDigo Café, a mellow-romantic ballad highlighted by both immersive rap verses and an addicting R&B hook (Mad Today), an intermissionary introduction to the album’s skit sub-plot, and the beginning of a hip-hop party anthem (Ugly) have all graced its presence. And everything about the stylistic multi-verse defining the album’s opening moments feels carefully curated. All are key and necessary components not only to understanding the project, but to appreciating Chuck Indigo’s artistry. So, as the album moves forward to its third track, Overtime featuring fellow Tennessee up-and-comer, Tim Gent, its stylistic coalescence between the high energy and the low; the hip-hop and the R&B, the silky and the hard-hitting; feels middle-grounded, outlined, and already defined.

And once Chuck Indigo’s new-age take on music has been introduced, everything about iNDigo Café falls into place as a well-rounded, immersive, and exemplary display of the hip-hop and R&B inspired modernist.

Case and Point: Don’t Fall feels particularly influenced by Frank Ocean’s Blonde where soulful vocals and poetic pace create something altogether new and largely unexplored by other artists. It’s followed up by But Here which again, thanks to its smooth, crossover adherence to the South’s histories with hip-hop and R&B à la Virginia’s Innanet James, makes for a complex but complimentary duo of tracks inspired by the rare artists like Chuck Indigo that exceed artistic expectations in their explorations of post-genrefication.

Again, a lack of genre adherence is the undeniable standout taken away from iNDigo Café, which is saying a lot because as an album succeeding in so many arenas – hip-hop delivery, R&B vocals, penmanship, and intertwining storylines – the ability to stand amongst peers so important to music’s continually evolving path is nothing short of proving that Chuck Indigo too deserves a brighter shine under the limelight.

Along with Trey Songz, Drake, Tory Lanez, D-Millz, Frank Ocean, and Innanet James, only names like UK Neo-Soul futurists, Jay Prince, Mahalia, and Kojey Radical round out the list of those talented, rangy, and inventive enough to be mentioned alongside the emergent skillset of Chuck Indigo as a transcendentalist so effortlessly weaving in and out of outdated stylistic spectrums to create a new era of music. And that might be a mouthful, but the meaning behind it rings true. 

Even in an era where every artist is doing more – rappers sing, singers produce, producers rap – it’s rare that one artist is so capable and equally talented in conveying their knack for all three. So, when a project like iNDigo Café comes about – especially from an artist yet to earn the recognition of even their smallest spectral peers – it deserves attention. And from a city ready to bubble over with an underground scene of vocalists and rappers, it’s only a matter of time before Chuck Indigo gets exactly that.

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