Chris Classic has always struck me as an interesting and well informed individual. During our random encounters, we always have some great conversations. In town to visit his son, I was able to cross paths with Chris for a feature on Chucks&Cameras. Traveling from Atlanta, Chris didn’t pack a pair of Chucks, so we stopped by the Converse Store in Soho to grab a pair of the classic black & white Chucks..
“My name is Chris Classic, I’m an artist, song writer, all around creative, & a dad. Born in Oceanside, New York. Raised in Hempstead, lived in Brooklyn & Queens for my late teenage years, early twenties. I’ve been in Jersey for the last 12 years and now resided in Atlanta.
I create original music for Film & Television. When you are watching a movie and you hear a song randomly when they are on a high speed chase or they are robbing a bank or whatever whatever… and that song may sound kinda like Jay Z, kinda like 50 cent, kinda like Ludacris, but you don’t know that artist… it’s usually me. I also make music for different companies and their ad campaigns, whatever that may be. Everything from movies to tv to ads, I create custom original music.
Besides from that, I do have my own projects I work on. I don’t necessarily seek the notoriety that artist and rappers kinda go for. I enjoy being behind the scenes and making music that people listen to instead of worried about making music that people are going to be famous for.
I was in 8th grade & my english teacher Ms. Aki WoWo (*sorry if i misspelled) gave us an assignment of selling a product using a song. I guess thats because she wanted us to learn how syntax and language effects peoples moods and encourages and insights people to do things. I sold this soap using Ice Cubes ‘Today was a Good Day’ beat. So kids that were older and tougher, that used to make fun of me because I was the nerdy Jehovah’s Witness kid who always wore a suit were like, “Yo, you can rap.”Next thing you know, they wanted me to write their raps. So I kinda became cool with the cool kids because of my talent. In high school and college I performed as much as I could.
I was very fortunate enough to become aquatinted with Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. We were working on an album of mine when he was killed. I went through a period of time when I was depressed about my career because I realized that was kinda my “IN” into the music industry. But along the way I met this guy named Ali Dee. He was this white pop producer who made the most ‘bangingist’ hip hop beats. They were bright and radio friendly. He was missing artist around him that could write lyrics that would get placements. Once we connected in 2003, we started working and making music ever since.
Since then I’ve had placements on Transformers, Fantastic Four, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Sex in the City, Just Wright, Hop, Planes, Haunted House, bunch of kids movies, tv shows- everything from Parks & Recreation to Disney shows like Kickin’ It. Almost any show on NBC, Gossip Girl, the New Girl..CSI, everything like that. As far as ads go, Burger King, McDonalds, Dodge, Chrysler, 7 up and more.
The world loves Hip-hop… Thankfully its growing so people can love it more. I think on a commercial level the problem has always been, there hasn’t been Hip-hop that was clean enough to use to sell a product or to put in front of massive people. That was my niche, to make music that was good enough from a Hip-hop purist level & on a commercial level. It is a blessing to make music that when my son goes to the movies, he can hear his dad and see his name in the credits.
Right now, I am looking to work with brands that appreciate the Hip-hop lifestyle with responsibility. We are all getting older, with age comes responsibility. There are older millennials and younger Gen X with buying power that loves music and Hip-hop that brands are looking to target them.
I also started working with Tyrese Gibson on his new album. I am excited about that. It’s a stretch for me because I typically do not work with recording artist. It is a little different for me. I’ve ghost written for people before but this is not that situation. I am co-writing with him. I am learning a lot about his personality and hospitality, how he does business outside of film. It is an interesting thing to see his ideas and projects that shape right in front of me. Besides the music, I am finding people I can learn from. Mentors don’t necessarily have to be older than you. I have been trying to find the write people so I can adjust and change my life as it is taking it’s own turns.
One of the best things that has happened to me is being a father. It helped identify who I was, to me. A lot of people aren’t used to balance their individuality with their fatherhood. I think that’s the thing I have thankfully learned to master. We all know great dads but they kind of live this selfless life, where everything is for their kids. For lack of a better term, they are like slaves. We see them portrayed on tv as the “Al Bundy” types. Was the man, fell off and is now whatever. That is not the truth, we also see the opposite. We also see the guys who have these “great” lifestyles; parties, athletes, actors that you don’t know even have kids because they are not active enough to share certain things about their kids or they are ashamed with the situation that exist with their wife or mother of their children. I think being able to balance individuality and fatherhood is what I pride myself on the most. I bring my son with me many places as possible. Everything I do is for him, whether it’s obvious or not, it’s all for the bigger picture. If I put myself in a position to make more money, obviously that trickles down to him.
If I can create relationships that benefit him as an adult, then I have done my job. A lot of times we forget that in other cultures, generational wealth and relationships are passed down. It doesn’t happen often in our culture, especially Hip-hop and black culture in the states. Just being able to introduce my son to the world & let him see things will give him the best opportunity to define himself. The fatherhood style I have will hopefully will insight him to be a similar father or better. You can change the narrative of your family like I did. If we all did that, things will start to change.
I realized it’s not just about me, it’s more about what people are seeing and taking away from what they see from me everyday and implementing it into their own life style. The fact I get messages from dudes I would never know saying, “Seeing your post, I went and fought for joint custody…” or “I changed the way i deal with my child’s mom..” That means more to me than hearing I’m an ill rapper. I been able to pride myself by being authentic but sharing it in a way that it shows the highs and lows that people can relate to.”
Follow Chris on Instagram: @MrChrisClassic
To see all things Chris Classic: MrChrisClassic.com