Hip-hop for indie fans
OK, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Chiddy Bang is a terrible name for a hip-hop act. It would be in with a shout of “worst group name of all time” but, well, Rizzle Kicks. ‘Breakfast’ (again, not exactly inspiring) is the first album proper by Philadelphia’s foremost practitioners of indie-fan-friendly hip-hop, but while most such efforts tend to be – how to put this? – uniformly awful, dreary and orchidectomised, ‘Breakfast’ turns out to be a reasonably hearty meal, definitely sausage and waffles rather than the aural porridge that “alternative hip-hop” summons up.
It won’t exactly have hardcore heads testing out the bass capabilities of their in-car systems (with the exception of the opening title track, bombastic G-funk with the brilliant lyric “[i]I’m with a very posh girl that’s elegant[/i]”). But it is a good-natured little jolly stuffed with hooks and pop nous. The girly sing-song chorus, punches of acoustic guitar and goofball vibe of ‘Mind Your Manners’ really is the knees of all the bees, a festival monster in waiting. You’ll know the rousing pseudo-soul of ‘Ray Charles’ by now; that and ‘Mind Your Manners’ stand out here like erections in a communal sauna, but there’s enough going on in the likes of the woozy ‘Run It Back’, the gently introspective ‘Talking To Myself’ and the rolling fart-bass of ‘Handclaps & Guitars’ to prevent the listener from just slapping the pair of them on loop repeat.
Unfortunately, much like the aforementioned Rizzle Kicks, when Chiddy overdo it on the exuberance, the effect is rather like having both your legs enthusiastically humped by tartrazine-crazed puppies – the ghastly, rainbow-bright ‘Happening’ sounds for all the world like Natasha Bedingfield with added rapping, which is not the kind of thing we should be encouraging. But it still invites a high compliment indeed – to be called “alternative rap”, and for it not to be an insult.