It's been a long time since a rapper came along with skills like Charles Hamilton's. The 20-year-old MC's flow is spellbindingly dense, studded with punchy triplets and trippy associations. The ideas and images come fast and furious, like a radio spinning through channels, as his raspy voice races to keep up with the rush of rhymes inside his head. After a falling-out with his mother in his teens, the Harlem-bred Hamilton found himself living on the streets. He would sleep in Central Park, at his high school, or occasionally at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. "I used to put on my iPod and pretend I was writing," he says. Until Hamilton's debut for Interscope Records is ready, fans can satisfy themselves with one of several underground mix tapes that he appears on. Also, on his website, iamnotcharleshamilton.com, he maintains a link to his blog, where he dispenses further stream-of-consciousness observations about life, referring to reality as "the lava lamp zone." "I look at a lava lamp how I look at life-like, ‘Wow, look at the pretty colors and it's moving and there's emotion,' " he explains. "And if shit breaks, my floor is going to be melted."