A Very Tasty ‘Breakfast’
Who doesn’t love a delicious dose of sugary “Breakfast” in the morning? Hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang’s debut album delivers this candied goodness with all the right moves in their self-proclaimed serving of “audio breakfast.” This fresh new pair is a dynamic partnership between Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin. Based out of Philadelphia, the two started making waves when their MGMT-sampling, party-rocking “Opposite of Adults” became a hit in 2010.
“Breakfast” manages to serve up a delightfully infectious treat with its upbeat, feel-good tones and unique hip-hop flavor. Xaphoon’s irresistible synth hooks, pumping beats and indie rock vocal samples from artists like Radiohead, MGMT, Passion Pit and Yelle provide a perfect backdrop for Chiddy’s rapping, which ranges from tones of B.o.B-esque charm to more gritty shadings of a Kanye-like sound (sans the glaring arrogance). Make no mistake though, Chiddy Bang, with their steady flow, playful lyrics and unique indie-electro vibe, have a style all their own, as they point out in their track “Manners”: “Take a second look and you’ll see / There is no one like me.”
The album kicks off with a short introduction, an interesting aesthetic choice for a hip-hop album. This brief track sets a vintage mellow mood with its low-key piano that gives way to a young urban sound and rising drum riffs. The album’s namesake track “Breakfast” is a catchy start, but the record really picks up with “Handclaps and Guitars.” This track is the first on the album that just oozes with the sugary, hip-hop party fun that is central to Chiddy Bang’s signature vibe. Over Xaphoon’s uber-catchy riffs, Chiddy spits, “Yeah, I got that language arts / Cruisin’ by the ocean ‘cause I know this is a game of sharks / Music and money, but I never let it change my heart.” Chiddy displays his impressive “language arts” throughout; his rhymes flow effortlessly and drip with charm.
Chiddy and Xaphoon stick to their guns in this bold album, keeping the thug-life cockiness so typical of rap albums at bay in favor of their undeniably fun rapper-lite version of hip-hop. This pair doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and the result is a strikingly exhilarating, carefree cut; as Chiddy’s hook reminds us, “I just came to party.” Chiddy Bang certainly succeeds in this, and the album exudes the joy of hip-hop and that addicting party vibe throughout.
The standout tracks on this album are the ones that keep the party bumping, such as the duo’s current hit, “Ray Charles.” The piano vamp that drives this track has a classically irresistible old R&B feel with a modern twist. This confection of a hip-hop track puts Xaphoon’s affinity for the feel-good riff and his ear for sample gold front and center. Another standout is “Happening,” which features Ellie Goulding as a guest artist. Goulding’s up-tempo, frothy pop presence makes this track ridiculously catchy. In fact, this album delivers track after track of that irresistible hip-hop party bounce in tracks like the bass-driven “Whatever We Want” and “Mind Your Manners,” which features a glittering sample from the duo Icona Pop.
Chiddy Bang does take a few breaths to slow things down with tracks like “Does She Love Me” and “Talking to Myself.” These songs take a more emotional, pensive turn, displaying versatility and effectively balancing out the persistently upbeat vibe, which does unfortunately falter a bit with the last few tracks on the album.
Despite this last-minute hiccup, “Breakfast” is a ridiculously fun listen that shows off these refreshing new artists and their impressive song-writing and production chops in a hearty serving of hip-hop confection.
Rating: 4 out of 5