Internet fame and infamy, a million-dollar record deal with Interscope that evaporated, a downward tailspin through prison, institutionalization and homelessness fueled by mental illness -- the life of Charles Hamilton has been anything but easy. The preternaturally gifted musician and rapper is just 29 years old.
This week, the fruits of Hamilton's long rehabilitative process will be realized. Tomorrow (Dec. 2), Faultlines, a new documentary chronicling Hamilton's incredible story of trying to overcome many challenges and resuscitate his music career, will see its release. Billboard is premiering an exclusive 30 minute clip from the film below.
Directed by Fred Scott (co-director of Payday) and produced by Pulse Productions and Red Bull, Faultlines reveals, almost improbably, some previously unknown hardships buried in Hamilton's difficult past, including sexual molestation by a family member and the recent tragedy of losing his mother, Talise Moorer, his biggest fan and advocate -- while the film was being made.
Thankfully, there is also redemption as Hamilton returns to his Harlem high school, Frederick Douglass Academy, where he reconnects with his Demevolist music crew. Another scene shows Hamilton visiting an elementary school, where he and the young students bring each other to tears.
The film is tied to Hamilton's first proper full-length album release, Hamilton, Charles out next week (Dec. 9) on Republic Records via iTunes. It is, astonishingly, Hamilton's first -- the artist has been in the public eye for a decade, released well over a hundred free mix tapes and has had two breakout singles ("Brooklyn Girls" and last year's "New York Raining" with Rita Ora). Hamilton will playa live date at S.O.B.'s in New York on Dec. 19 with a tour expected next year.
The new material comes four years after Hamilton signed a unique management deal with First Access Entertainment (Zayn Malik, Iggy Azalea, Ellie Goulding), which emphasized Charles' health over his career. His managers worked behind the scenes with his family and doctors to make sure Hamilton was in good health before re-entering the business.
In a press statement, Hamilton says he is grateful to his family for intervening because he he only wanted "to create in my room in the dark." Now, he says, he's reached a "newfound passion in advocating for artists, young people and other men of color that may be unsure of beginning the process toward wellness. I want to make an impact in this world, whether that's through my music or my life's story." Both will do just fine.