Underground Artist of the Month August 2018

Tough times don’t last; tough people do; and no one knows that better than Carlos A. Bonfante Jr. Born in a crime-infested neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York, Bonfante, AKA Carlethal, grew up in a two-bedroom apartment with his parents and two sisters -- a family that he calls “tight knit but dysfunctional.” “My father was an alcoholic,” he recalls, “and he was extremely abusive. The police were no strangers to our home.”

Carlethal’s life would be one roller coaster ride after another. He and his family seemed to always be in transition. They moved from Jamaica Queens to Washington Heights to Harlem and found themselves in a homeless shelter. They eventually landed in New Jersey but the change in scenery didn’t make life any easier.

Carlethal’s topsy-turvy existence affected him deeply, resulting in his being kicked out of nine high schools before finally graduating. But just when life might have seemed like a lost cause, Carlethal found his salvation: music. “There was always music in my life,” he notes. “People were always throwing block parties and house parties and my older sisters used to take me to clubs when I was still just a little kid.”

Having witnessed murders, drug abuse, rape and what he calls “the best of urban wildlife” up close and personal, he was relieved to find an escape that was literally music to his ears. Still, he never turned a blind eye to his past. “The corner was always home,” he says, “and the studio would be the place where all of my stories could be told.” Carlethal became passionate about his writing and the words poured from him like a fountain. “Being able to deliver emotions and visualization was a gift on paper,” he says, “and I finally began transforming it to music in the studio.”

Before too long, Carlethal would find others who shared his passion. In 1993, he and several colleagues formed the group Loose Cannons which released the blazing 1996 single “Hell Is Getting Hotter” which went on to release. Unfortunately, their venture was short-lived, struck down by the ugliness that had for so long plagued Carlethal’s life: crime, violence, drugs and too many close calls to count. But it was a near-death experience -- one during which Carlethal realized that he had a life-threatening heart condition-- that served as a wake-up call for him to recommit himself to his music and his survival. “My heart rate elevated to 276 BPM. I was rushed to the hospital and landed in ICU,” he recalls. “That was a defining moment in my life. That’s when I made a vow to never stop chasing my career. Music was my love and it was my only way out.”

Carlethal’s perseverance has paid off. He is currently prepping the release of two new “urban rock’ projects entitled “What the World is Waiting For” and “Battlefield.” Through his companies, Dead Poets Music, Rhythm Rebelz Corporation and Urban Rock Music, he has written and recorded more than 300 songs.

Says Carlethal, “everything that I have been through in my life has affected the way that I do business. Many of the codes of the streets can apply to the business world. Loyalty is everything to me; it drives everything that I do and just like I refused to give up back then, I still refuse to give up on my dream. I just don’t take no for an answer.”
Today, Carlethal has been blessed with a healthy heart and a healthy outlook on life. “I feel like I’ve won the lotto,” he says. “Not only do I see my dreams clearly but I know that I can pursue them without any health problems -- or any other problems -- getting in my way.”

Carlethal says that when he looks back on his past he is reminded of how all the darkness in his life paved the way for brighter days. “I wouldn’t change anything good or bad in my life,” he says. “It’s made me who I am and it’s given me wings to fly and understand people. Fear is only fear because we let fear make decisions for us. We fail because of that fear to change. I’ve never been afraid and I’m still not afraid. Tough times don’t last,” he adds, “but tough people do.”


New York City Urban Rock / Hip Hop artist, Carlethal, has posted a powerful new video on You Tube entitled “Peace Signs Up.” Carlethal has made it a mission to convey both a positive message and image through his music. Carlethal has started a movement called Save the Music / Peace Signs Up. This is music with quality, substance, and powerful message.

The "Peace Signs Up" video, assembled by Carlethal’s “Urban Rock Media Group,” features Bridgette Copper, and boasts guest appearances by Ice-T & Coco, Jay Sean, “Mr. Olympia” Victor Martinez, American Soccer sensation Omar Gonzalez, Keith Major, Designer Sycamore Style, Bravos (Tabatha Coffey), actor Craig Robinson, Yankee broadcaster Rickie Ricardo, Video Vixens Sophia "The Body" and “Blu Gem” Martinez, DJ Khaled, Mike O'Hearn, Rapper AZ, Bobbito, and many others. “Peace Signs Up” is an effort to help foster more awareness as to the dangers of bullying and the ultimate goal, world peace.

The message behind the music is simple; Stop the endless cycle of violence and murder, and cease the act of war, which benefits no one but big business. In conjunction, both song and video were written and produced as a means of drawing attention to the plight of child abuse, the relentless assault of world hunger, gang violence and any other action(s) that denigrate or harm one’s fellow man. In the creation of this video, Carlethal has observed disturbing trends in social behavior on television, print, and social media. Those involved in “Peace Signs Up” have found a connection that resonates with those they have met, connecting inner and external peace with the two fingered “V” gesture, indicating “Peace.”

Urban Rock Media created the video from film shot in New York, New Jersey, California and New Hampshire, and used a number of clips emailed to them from various parts of the world. The hope is that the music and video can be used as a tool to unify the world, and rid us all of distinctions based upon color, creed, and ethnic differences.

Credit for the video must also go to 15 year-old Daniel Zielyk, an aspiring film-maker. Daniel has been a key player in this movement as we focus upon our future, which begins with our nation’s youth.

Let’s show the world that a positive message is the “new viral," and that peace starts within our homes and within our children!