Chuck Indigo’s Newest Project Explores Every Shade of his Stylistically Sweeping Sound
Evan Dale // Oct 10, 2021
Chuck Indigo was curating a collection of tracks that he planned to release as a project at the onset of 2022, when instead, through the creative process, he scrapped an initial vision for it and emerged with, well… a great project anyway. As for the project’s early release, chalk it up to an artistic appeal to speak his truths in this moment – to release something honest and of now – to put it out in the world and start yet another new direction. He speaks at greater length on the project’s inception in its SoundCloud notes:
I'd been working on new music for a project that I planned to release at the top of the year.. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to do something that was more true to where I am in my life right now. So I decided to scratch the project and release what I felt was good enough for you to enjoy from the songs that I made intended for that project. Just a token of gratitude and a promise of better and greater to come. Hope y’all enjoy this mf!
With a great deal of respect for Chuck Indigo, his vision, and his words on the matter, the fact that Shades Of Indigo is being understated to us listeners as a compromise of sorts to tide us over until we’re gifted something even ‘better and greater to come,’ speaks volumes on the standards that the Nashville hip-hop enigma holds himself to; that the Nashville scene at large holds within its citywide creative renaissance. Ultimately, the project carries more weight – walks with a longer gait – than most heavily promoted, refined, and perfected albums anywhere in the contemporary rap scene outside of the understanding that the amalgamate artistry of Middle Tennessee’s current creative vision is most clairvoyant.
Chuck Indigo, himself, is a big part of that fact these days. An indefinably transcendent rapper and vocalist who seamlessly floats between his two respective stylistic lanes at every step of his creative process, Shades Of Indigo as a collection puts the multifaceted prowess of his artistic skillset on rangy display for twelve stylistically divergent tracks somehow interwoven with the precision and confluence of an album years in the making. This project, however, has been in the making only for the last five months. But when an artist with his rangy skillset puts everything they’ve got into one creative sphere, and pulls a whole lot of talented friends into frame with them, five months can mean craft a gem.
Through its twelve tracks, Shades Of Indigo first and foremost lives up to its name. A rainbowic exploration of all the color in Chuck’s expansive sound, the EP is one that should be handed to a listener when they first stumble across his ever-expanding soundscape. A one-of-a-kind vocal register that bleeds through the music whether he’s delivering his words rapped or sung; the ability to harken onto that register and deliver soulful bouts and hooks throughout; the knack – perhaps the sharpest tool in his bag – to envelope a listener’s attention with poetic, prophetic penmanship and immersive storytelling that outside of Nashville in the modern hip-hop cloth, is increasingly rare. In Nashville even, Chuck Indigo is a special force of musical nature. Founder and centrifugal force of Third Eye & Co, which when taking into account all of its associated artistry across the multimedia spectrum – volatile lyricists in their own unique lights, Ron Obasi and JORDAN Xx; stylistically transcendent rapper and vocalist, Jxdece; calming yet emotionally powerful soulstress, RyAnne; and cinematographic, photographic, all-around audiovisual storyteller and director, SECK – is one of the most vibrant and exciting creative collectives anywhere in modern music and its artistic grey-area banlieue. And for his own sound, Chuck’s resumé boasts equal length and description.
He started rapping in 2014, and shortly after, having just relocated to Alabama, began pursuing it as his life’s focus, releasing a series of solo collections. But, as he puts it, ‘…in 2018, [he] started wanting to take it to a different level, and take [his] time crafting a project that [he] could be proud of, and that would garner the respect of [his] peers and listeners.’ On October 7, 2019 came iNDigo Café: a journey along a duality of spectrums. It followed the conceptual, comical underlining of a restaurant opening, putting on exhibition Chuck’s knack for concept and world-building. It also followed 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 proved himself a vibrant storyteller to an extent he never had before. On October 7, 2020 No Moor Bad Days again put on a display of vocal runs meeting lightning-paced lyricism, without ever committing to a single lane, instead always – and successfully so – tightroping the grey areas and defying the very idea of genre at a macro lens. Undeniably hip-hop, Chuck Indigo’s take on the storied stylistic realm is simultaneously so unique that feels like an organic runoff from the mosaic of musical influence that Nashville’s position as an up-and-coming cultural capital and a long-established hotbed of everything good and southern, molded into a hip-hop and soul-oriented frame.
Days before his October 7 anniversary this year, in 2021 – which he celebrated with Chuck Indigo Live at Crown on Ninth in Nashville – even as it’s being underplayed by its creator is a well-curated collection of loosies, Chuck Indigo is again putting on a clinical exhibition of why he’s one of the most intriguing artists in one of the most explosive renaissances happening anywhere in the world today. Shades of Indigo, for all intents and purposes aside from the actual delineation as such, is a continuation of his Octoberversary tradition; a perpetuation to release a deep-diving, genre-bending chef-d'oeuvre for spooky season. And it’s again, spooky just how good the collection is.
Off the bat, to a MixedByCole beat dynamically interweaving deep bass with jazz-nuanced brass harmony, Shades Of Indigo starts with MAKE IT THROUGH where Chuck Indigo’s hard-hitting flow and lyricism, link with a closing chorus that of course, shines a light on his emotive register. Overtop a sample-ridden beat also by way of MixedByCole, the next track, FWYD14 is a look into Chuck’s more malleable, mellow direction, where his lyricism still cuts with the sharpness of a katana, but his delivery of it takes on a calmer demeanor. On-and-on, Shades Of Indigo continues to explore the endless sonic possibilities of an artist who has never adhered to one end of his sliding scale, but instead infuses not only a project at length, but every track to different extents, with the variable dynamism of an artist who has mastered his range. Mellow, chord-founded beats like BACK ON TOP see Indigo deliver volatile bars. Beats pulled straight from church like WHAT I WANT see the Nashville transcendentalist stretch for vocal-heavy emotion. There is no predicting where he’ll go with any beat, where the project at large is headed, and yet, every track meandering through every corner of his auditory aesthetic effortlessly links into the next.
So, no matter what it is that you like listening to, you’ll find it here somewhere. Listen to the colorful mosaic that is Shades Of Indigo and see why Chuck Indigo, himself, is one of the most dynamically gifted artists around. While you’re at it, dive backwards to iNDigo Café and No Moor Bad Days, too.