Whitestone hip-hop artist battles addiction with music

Photo courtesy Michelle Kawka
By Alex Robinson

In February 2012, it might have seemed like Charlie Scott would never amount to much. The once drug-addicted youth had amassed a large amount of debt, been kicked out of his family’s home and was on his way to rehab.

But now drug-free, the Whitestone resident has bounced back to emerge as an upcoming hip-hop artist who has performed in all five boroughs.

“As difficult as it was at the time, the smartest thing I ever did was get help,” he said.

His music addresses his battle with drug addiction in the hope of inspiring young people who may be going through similar experiences.

Scott started to descend on a downward spiral of drug addiction at 18, when he started using oxycontin. His parents kicked him out of their house at 21 because they were worried his behavior might affect his younger sister.

He spent three nights sleeping in Flushing’s Bowne Park before he realized he had hit rock bottom and decided to reach out for help. He left New York to attend a drug rehabilitation center in Florida for five months.

Music helped Scott through the process of getting clean. He first started writing poetry at 12, but did not put his words to music until he was going through rehab.

“When I’m in a bad place, there’s something about putting it down on paper, having it connect and making it rhyme that helps,” he said. “I write to vent for myself and it’s therapeutic for me. I say it from my heart and whoever relates, I’m happy their listening.”

The first week Scott was home from rehab, he attended his first open mic event and things took off from there.

“The support has been overwhelming,” Scott said.

The Whitestone wordsmith released his first full-length album, “Lyrical Therapy 2,” in October and said his music differs starkly from a lot of mainstream hip-hop because of the contents of his lyrics.

“It’s more poetic and focused on storytelling. All the astigmatisms about hip-hop don’t apply to what I’m creating,” Scott said. “The only reason it’s characterized as hip-hop is because of the rhyming schemes.”

He will be performing at Carnegie Hall at the end of March with comedian Petey DeAbreu, but the dates of the show have not yet been finalized.

As well as being therapeutic for himself, Scott said he hopes his music can help others deal with their own problems.

“If just one person reaches out and says, ‘You know what? Because of your music, I am clean another day,’ that’s huge inspiration and motivation right there,” he said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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