There really is no MC / producer duo quite like the Philadelphia combo Chiddy Bang, who have just dropped their debut album Breakfast following previous hot mixtapes: Peanut Butter & Swelly, Air Swell and The Preview. So what’s different between a mixtape and an album? For a start beat maker Xaphoon Jones (the producer half of Chiddy Bang) is quite possibly one of the most talented, diverse sounding producers I’ve ever heard! Every single beat has that infectious foot tapping rhythm and Chidera’s (the rapping half) verses have you subconsciously singing along before the song even finishes!
As soon as the Intro ends, we hit the title track Breakfast, which really sets the tone for the album by setting the upbeat rhythm and dropping intelligent verses between the addictive choruses. The beat on this track hits hard with several guitar and trumpet riffs to keep the listener guessing what sound they’ll be hearing next, and guessing the lyrics before Chidera spits them. What’s great about this track is the great balance of bass tones, synths and verses showing first-hand what the duo are capable of and why the track is worthy of being the title track of their debut album.
However, Breakfast was not the chosen lead single on the self-titled album, Ray Charles was. The incredibly jazz and bluesy piano melody is perfect for the radio airwaves (think of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You” or Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls”) but also for singing along to. Personally, I think this is exactly what the duo really need to become cemented in the commercial music scene. It’s interesting to find out why the video references The Blues Brothers which Chiddy explained:
“The song actually started out as a joke when my brother, Cheeseburger Don, got so high he fell asleep in the studio with his sunglasses on. I looked over and he reminded me of Ray Charles, probably because I was high, too. I started freestyling about him and we laid it down right there.”
Unlike previous mixtapes, which have been sample heavy, the beats this time around are all Xaphoon’s own, except “Mind Your Manners” which samples haughty Swedish electro-pop girl duo Icona Pop’s single Manners. It’s a very familiar sounding sample and definitely compliments Chiddy’s flow and the clarity of his delivery when rapping.
Here’s proof the album has been long in the making, as Baby Roulette surfaced back in February 2011, and was featured on the Peanut Butter & Swelly mixtape! Listening between the lines and past the retro video game sounds, Chiddy compares unprotected sex to Russian Roulette and the gamble of getting pregnant on transferring infections. I think it’s great Chiddy can be a role model through his music supporting safe sex and educating the youth of today through his verses.
Although, upbeat music is not all the duo is capable of, they are perfectly capable of slowing down tracks such as “Does She Love Me?” and “Talking 2 Myself”. I’ll be extremely cynical to say that in these circumstances, the higher pitched female vocals aren’t a complete match to the raps and perhaps male vocals are the solution.
By the end of the album it’s clear that the boys have matured their sound from their Air Swell roots to the duo we hear today on Breakfast. The closing track 4th Quarter ends the album on a high note wanting the listener to start over at the beginning and listen again. Tracks like “Whatever We Want” really come to life at the chorus and special mention must be given to “Out 2 Space” a futuristic hip-pop /space-age soul/rap with Neptunes-style vibes.
They say Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the Philly duo has definitely outdone their previous sound! From being known as the kids who sampled the MGMT tracks Kids to make Opposite Of Adults, the MC/producer combo have found the perfect combination between commercial success and not selling out their hip-hop roots. Watch out for the infectious beats, that foot-tapping rhythm and buy your copy of this cracking album!