There's an aggressive voice that can be heard rhyming on "Talk 2 Em," the first track off Yo Gotti's label mixtape, CMG Presents: Chapter One.
"It's CMG, everybody who we better than/young rookie, but I spit it like a veteran," asserts the vigorous voice.
That voice is Wave Chapelle. The 20-year-old Milwaukee-bred/Memphis-residing lyricist is the latest addition to Gotti's Collective Music Group (CMG). Poised to bring a refreshing presence to hip-hop, Chapelle meshes his edgy lyrical ability with an uncommon fashion sense that easily distinguishes him from the typical rhymer.
- Wave Chapelle
And he couldn't have picked a better label to further separate himself from the competition. Significantly different from his labelmates appearance- and lyric-wise, Chapelle's content caters more to young up-and-comers dealing with day-to-day experiences than people largely engaged in illicit activities. This gives him his own lane.
"The fact that Gotti is such a street dude, I don't think it hurts my music. It actually helps," Chapelle said. "Not to box none of them in, but if [the label has] more street artists like a Gotti or a Snootie [Wild] or a [Zed] Zilla, and you bring somebody like me around, I feel like it works. We're not crowding each other's space."
Crafting rhymes isn't something Chapelle's new to. During his middle school years he became immersed in music. From freestyling in his school cafeteria to recording verses in the studio, he knew as a pre-teen that music would have a substantial presence in his life.
In fall 2013, Chapelle moved to Memphis to live with his father and enroll at LeMoyne-Owen College. During his first semester, he delivered his debut installment, It'll All Make Sense Soon. The offering showcased Chapelle's ability not only to spit forceful verses but also create songs appealing to different audiences. The project garnered a split reaction from his peers on campus.
"On one side, it was like, 'Who the hell is Wave Chapelle? Where does he come from?' A bunch of question marks," Chapelle recalled. "Then on the other side, it was like, 'This is cool. It's refreshing. It's not what we're used to.' Overall, any reaction was dope, because I just wanted to get my name out there."
A day before his spring semester began, Chapelle and some friends traveled to local hotspot Ching's Hot Wings. In the midst of enjoying a plate of wings, Chapelle received notification on his phone that someone followed him on Twitter; it was Gotti. Chapelle followed him back and received a direct message with Gotti's number.
Elated, Chapelle called the number. To his surprise, Gotti informed him that he had been listening to his project and by the third song was hooked. Two days after their conversation, they met at Gotti's restaurant, Prive'. Gotti offered to take Chapelle on tour, provide him with some industry pointers, and give him a shot on his label.
Since joining CMG, Chapelle has traveled the country and kicked it with notable rap stars like Diddy, Drake, and Meek Mill.
On Chapter One, he shines on his three solo efforts as well as the two tracks he assists his CEO on. His sound doesn't quite flow with the mixtape's street-oriented theme but, in its own way, gives the project the balance it needs to appeal to a variety of listeners.
Chapelle credits artists like Skrillex, Chromeo, MGMT, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Curren$y, and Jay-Z as inspirations. But the lines he jots down and confidently spews are simply influenced by everyday life.
Gaining more exposure from his appearance on Chapter One, Chapelle plans to keep the momentum flowing later this summer with the release of his sophomore project, Only the Beginning.
Not jaded from the footwork he's put in to acquire the following he has thus far, Chapelle understands that it's going to take an unwavering work regimen, if he wants to blossom into one of hip-hop's next household names.
"I try to record at least two songs a day, even if it doesn't turn out how I want it to," Chapelle said. "I never get too comfortable. I feel sick when I'm not working. I'm always working."