Chiddy Bang - Breakfast

As cool as they play it, Chiddy Bang could probably do this in their sleep.

Label: Polydor

Rating: 8

It’s fair to guess that Philly’s own magic duo weren’t going to create the most mind-bendingly experimental, boundary-pushing debut, so it was as fair to wonder how it took three years to arrive. After a few listens the answer seems to be rapper Chidera ”Chiddy” Anamege and DJ/Producer Noah ”Xaphoon Jones” Beresin were cutting off every inch of fat, honing every beat and checking each pop-culture reference. What’s perhaps most impressive for Chiddy Bang is they’ve managed to move away from immaculately high-jacking indie-rock anthems to rely far less on the skin deep satisfaction of the “ooooh I know this sample!” game.

‘Breakfast’ kicks off with its title track (save for the obligatory intro) showcasing the duo’s trademark bubblegum hooks and some fairly beat-heavy production. Be it a credit or a criticism you never really have much to worry about when it comes to Chiddy Bang’s lyrical content, as they sum up pretty well in ‘Handclaps & Guitars’ with “Ooo-oh I just came to party!”, a lyric that sure won’t be gracing Joey Barton’s Nietszche and Morrissey heavy twitter feed any time soon. Luckily ‘Ray Charles’ gives them the chance to show off the benefits of not taking yourself too seriously, managing to take a central concept of being glad you’re not blind while enjoying the benefits of wearing sunglasses and smoking weed to impossible levels of catchiness.

‘Run It Back’ has a vocal hook way too close to JLS (maybe even Craig David) for any level of comfort but the twinkling keyboards and bass-laden beats make for a song decidedly hard not to enjoy, whilst ‘Does She Love Me’ showcases a bit of tenderness, and best of all ‘4th Quarter’ is a bombastic, swaggering outro that sees them finally add a bit of intensity and power to their game, just to show they can most probably. The cute 8-bit of ‘Baby Roulette’ also deserves a mention. Surprisingly, Chiddy Bang’s candyfloss appeal never wears out, the secret being for two guys that once described themselves “lonely stoners, college drop-outs; no diplomas” they’re way too good at what they do to do it badly.

Where Asher Roth left house-party hip hop (or just got a little high and wandered off) Chiddy Bang pick it up but bring a whole new focus, a pop-sensibility and a very nuanced delivery. The starry-eyed euphoria that Foals, Friendly Fires and all the bands of that ilk have at times offered in the world of indie / alternative is what Chiddy Bang offer to the world of hip-hop, a branch of music not famed for its happy-go-lucky charm. A laissez fair attitude and some crowd-pleasing gimmicks don’t overshadow the talent shared on each side of the duo; whether it’s world-record holding Chiddy or one of the world’s most consistent producers Xaphoon Jones. As cool as they play it, Chiddy Bang could probably do this in their sleep.