If you live in the Buffalo area, chances are you’ve seen Chae Hawk perform, and even more likely you’ve seen signs of his presence (his stickers are posted everywhere). But, if you haven’t seen Chae Hawk perform in the past few months, you’re missing something special. Developing his style and honing his skills for over a decade, Chae has matured into a true emcee—captivating his audience and holding their attention from the moment he takes the stage to beyond the end of his performance, inviting fans to join him for a drink. His performance Wednesday night at The Waiting Room was the first time I’ve seen him perform where I walked away with nothing but praise—and that speaks volumes if you know my history with Chae Hawk.
I’ve been following Chae Hawk’s career since 2003, when his stage name was Noble Truth and his hair was in dread locks. It would be reasonable for you to expect my opinion of his talents to be biased, but I’m probably one of his biggest critics. I try not to let my friendship and opinion of him as a person influence my opinion when it comes to his music, videos and performances. Along with my childhood friend, Jon Salemi (of Snapcase), I’ve been a bit like a coach who knows when his star athlete is under-performing. Jon and I usually find some areas in which Chae could improve—whether it’s his lyrical content or his stage presence—and we’re not afraid to let Chae know what we think. (To be fair, Chae Hawk is no slacker—his 30th birthday was officially named Chamus F. Hawk Day by the mayor of his home town of Buffalo, New York, an honor Chae truly deserves.)
Chae’s set for the Wild Turkey event last Wednesday wasn’t without its share of adversity. His producer and DJ, Grabbitz, had to bow out within hours of the performance, leaving Chae to take the stage alone. To the casual observer, this setback would have gone unnoticed, as Chae commanded the stage and gave a world-class performance. From song to song, it’s evident that Chae holds his songs close to his heart, and performs them with conviction. He fills the vocal voids with dancing and a charismatic stage presence that comes across as second-nature, and nothing short of entertaining to watch.
After several years of what Chae thought would be his breakout year (“O’shine” in 2009 comes to mind), it would be surprising if 2014 comes and goes without Chae Hawk making moves throughout the music industry (and possibly some other industries, too). Follow @ChaeHawk on twitter, or like him on Facebook (facebook.com/chaehawkmusic), and see if my prediction for 2014 holds true. While you’re at it, check out Chae Hawk’s videos, they’re nothing short of breathtaking. In fact, I’ll leave you with his video for “Dirty Rich,” so you can see for yourself.