Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf
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Photo: Theresa Castro

Dreaming of the Usual .. a Rap Beat

Real hip hop sometimes comes from strange places. For instance, Charles Hicks, a.k.a. Charizma, from the tiny San Jose suburb of Milpitas. Here is a kid who grew up with three primary concerns - hip hop music, sweets, and apple juice. By sweets, I don't mean the kind that you buy at the 7-11. And the apple juice, only Martinelli's uncarbonated.

As for the hip hop, it was MC Shan, KRS One, EPMD, Big Daddy Kane, the Biz, and anything else available to a 14 year old kid in Milpitas in the late-1980s. That was enough to get Charizma (then "Charlie C") rapping at high school talent shows. Charizma was 16 when he hooked up with 19-year-old Chris Cut, the soon-to-be Peanut Butter Wolf.

Fast forward three years or so, past a few demo tapes and a few shows. Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf are now a solid team developing their own style and sound, one unlike much else in hip hop, and certainly unlike anything else ever to come from Milpitas.

They landed themselves a record deal with the Disney-owned Hollywood Basics label, home of Organized Konfusion, and for the next year they'd both follow a strict regiment of making music all day long, taking breaks for pinball and apple juice, and learning the fundamentals of battling a major label over artistic integrity. As it turns out, Walt Disney wasn't much of a hip hop expert. After recording about an album's worth of material, the only thing released was a promo cassette of their song "Right Light Green Light."

The group got out of their deal with Hollywood Basics, and the label soon folded. As artists, Charizma and PBWolf were still reaching new heights, but the music was soon cut short. Charizma was tragically killed in December 1993.

My World Premiere

Peanut Butter Wolf talks about what led him to start Stones Throw Records in the History section of this site, but Charizma's role is evident in Stones Throw's first release: Charizma's "My World Premiere" 12-inch single.