Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Album Review: Chiddy Bang - "Breakfast"

Philadelphia rap-duo Chiddy Bang (comprised of rapper, Chiddy, and DJ/producer/super beat maker Xaphoon Jones) took to the internet last night to release their debut album "Breakfast" a week before it was due.

And now it's time to feast.

While the album hit a few snags along the way (it was delayed about six months), the eagerly awaiting fans were surprised to be gifted with this meal a week ahead of schedule. And it did not disappoint.

The album opens with a smooth intro of what sounds like kids playing around the neighborhood and moves into a mixture of piano riffs, bass knocks, and claps (something the talented Xaphoon probably made by simply sneezing).

The first song is the title track "Breakfast," which follows one of the standards for Chiddy Bang: a creative beat laced with creative lyrics and a hard-hitting, repetitive hook. "Handclaps & Guitars" is where we start to get into the exciting work of the album as we get a slower, anthem-like hook of "Oh, I just came to party" along with Chiddy's faster flow over some guitar riffs.

Tracks four and five are the current two singles on the album in "Mind Your Manners" and "Ray Charles." Icona Pop's "Manners" gets the "Opposite of Adults" treatment as Xaphoon took the catchy hook and sped it up to sound like schoolchildren singing the sample (these upgraded samples have become Xaph's forte). The rest of the song has a head-bobbing beat complimented brilliantly by Chiddy's rhyme scheme that is sure to be a concert favorite. "Ray Charles" differs in sound, but still has the same catchy flow with the soulful piano and hip-hop lyrics, and makes you want to do a funky dance (better than Xaphoon, I hope).

Of course the album needed a slow-paced, love-based song, and "Does She Love Me?" delivers the same components that the rest of the album brings. Instead of diving right back into a snappy beat, the album eases into the silky voice of Shirazi on "Run It Back."

Gordon Voidwell lends a sample to "Out 2 Space" as Chiddy chronicles the groups determination to rise in the rap ranks. "Whatever We Want" is another standard offering of what Chiddy Bang does best. And then we are brought to an interlude, which is a nice little violin diddy.

"Talking To Myself" is a steady track about Chiddy's struggles with balancing and explaining his relationship with a girl and his life as a musician. We are then given "Happening," which will assuredly become a summer jam, as it was inspired by fellow duo Outkast's "Hey Ya." The quick beat and lyrics are matched up well with a Katy Perry-sounding VV Brown chorus, which is almost alluding to the album's delays, saying "It's your choice/What are you waiting for/This is happening."

The final tracks are "Baby Roulette" and "4th Quarter." "Baby Roulette" features Train on the chorus and actually dropped about a year ago, so it was odd to see this make the cut for such a fresh album. "4th Quarter" however delivers just what it promises, which is Chiddy finishing strong.

Overall, this album went above-and-beyond what was expected, but still remained true to what brought Chiddy Bang here in the first place. Hip-hop fans now have the first masterful album of the year and it's good to see the boys from Philly giving the world such a new and unique sound to indulge in.

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