Chuck Strangers has been putting in work with Pro Era since the Brooklyn-based crew first came together, lacing members with guest verses here and there while focusing more on the production side. He's now ready to take a more front-facing role as an artist, and that shines through on his debut album Consumers Park.
At 14 tracks, the project is light on features—Joey Badass, Kirk Knight, and Issa Gold of The Underachievers pop up—which allows Strangers space to share his story over beats that are mostly his own. Upon its release, Joey gave fans an early review of what to expect: "If you looking for them classic #PROERA vibes or just a breath of fresh air then you need to bump this now."
We caught up with Strangers over the phone, who spoke on Consumers Park, pouring his whole life into its creation, and what fans should take away from his proper debut.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
You produced a majority of your debut album. Was that the original plan that you had in mind when you initially set out to make it, or did it kind of work out that way in the end?
That was always the original plan. I knew I wanted to get some other people’s beats too, but I knew I wanted to do most of the beats.
How did you know now was the right time for your debut album?
A lot of things took longer than I expected them to. Everything just came together now; I’m thankful for that.
Being a part of the Pro Era collective means you have access to a number of artists for advice and guidance, including Joey Badass. What kind of pointers did he share with you during the process of creating Consumers Park?
I don’t think he gave me any pointers per se on the making of the album; he gave me more so pointers on my live show, just about performing… as far as the creation, that was kind of just all my doing.
The general saying from rappers is that they pour their whole life into making their debut album. Did you feel that way during the process of this?
One million percent. Some of the raps from this album I wrote in like 9th grade; some of the lines. You do take your whole life... I think about whole songs that I made back then that were awful, but one line is like, that’s not bad. [Laughs.]
Like on “Fresh,” I’m 21 years old, but then on “Style Wars” I’m 24 years old. I talked to some friends who were like, “Oh, that’s kind of weird. You’re all different ages on the album.” I don’t give a fuck about that. [Laughs.] To me that’s dope. And I’m showing you, yeah the project took a while to make, and you can see all the different headspaces I was in throughout.
There are a few instances on the album, like “Syl’s Song” and “Riis Beach,” where you take a backseat on the vocal end. How do those two records fit within the overall theme of the album?
The Joey interlude [“A Pause for Peace”] also goes with those two songs. When I made those songs I felt like I was really starting to hit my stride creatively. When I made those I felt so inspired and I kind of impressed myself like, wow, I love this so much I’m going to put this on my album. And also, I wanted to bring a female energy to the album, and a melodic energy. I didn’t want it to be like, rap, rap rap, next beat, rap, rap rap. I just wanted to break it up and get some singing shit on it. And if you don’t like that type of thing, you can just skip it.
What’s the one thing you want listeners to take away from Consumers Park?
It's my story. If you listen to it, I want you to feel like, "Damn, I can do my own shit. Look at this guy, he's doing his own thing. I can do something too." 'Cause we all can.