The Only Jewel Missing From Chip’s Crown Is A Classic Album
31 Jan 2021
Over one weekend during quarantine, Chip reminded us all of his extensive catalogue of hits, relentless ability to never run out of bars and his unique place in UK music history by conducting his own “rap versus” segment on Instagram Live. The trend surfaced among raps elite rappers, predominantly in America, during the lockdown period where they went track for track against each other. Meanwhile Chip’s was entitled Chipmunk vs Chip, seeing him go up against himself.
The Thursday saw the Tottenham MC take us on a journey of his career as Chipmunk, playing some key tracks from his early freestyles, mixtapes and albums to the ground-breaking link-ups with overseas superstars such as Chris Brown, J.Cole and Mavado among others. He then did the same on the Sunday, but this time starting from his name-change to Chip, which came through his foray across the pond in 2012 where he joined T.I.’s Hustle Gang and released the often-underrated Christmas mixtape, ‘London Boy’. Again, the hits rolled through as he played E.P, mixtape and album cuts, his infamously scathing diss tracks, as well as showcasing his formidable run of features on some memorable tracks with the likes of Nafe Smalls, Skrapz and WSTRN just to name a few.
For well over a decade the North London legend has been one of the biggest names in UK music and has consistently showcased his talent at a world class level regardless of the position he was in at the time.Aaron Bishop
For well over a decade the North London legend has been one of the biggest names in UK music and has consistently showcased his talent at a world class level regardless of the position he was in at the time. Whether he’s battling going pop, working with overseas artists, being shunned by the scene or facing it head on, the resilience to keep the music at the forefront and to keep delivering time and time again has led Chip on a path that few, if any, could even imagine. But for all the successes, from award show accolades to big name collaborations, the one jewel missing from Chip’s crown is that undisputed classic album.
Most artists don’t even get a classic track let alone a classic album, but Chip has quite a few of the former, while the latter is something that would be an insult to his gift if he didn’t achieve it by his careers end. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a classic project though as his ‘Whatever The Weather’ and ‘League Of My Own’ mixtapes are still lauded to this day by his fans. Some may even argue ‘I Am Chipmunk’ renders this article obsolete due to the numbers it did at his age and the fact many of us know every lyric to ‘Oopsy Daisy’ to this day (don’t judge me) but his career has given him enough stories, unique thoughts and perspectives that serve up more than enough material for an out and out classic album that lets his ability shine authentically due to how much music has changed in that time.
His intro’s and outro’s on projects is where you see Chippy at his best, with deep introspective thoughts on himself, society, the scene and more with flows running fluidly like a stream of consciousness and his lyricism as sharp as a butcher’s knife. Best highlighted in tracks like ‘Thoughts’, ‘Loop’ and ‘Good Morning Britain’ one example of where he manages to do this on a single is ‘Darth Vader’ with intricate bars and flows over sparse production from Sampha and Lil Silva. If Chip could replicate this energy and razor-like precision of thought over the length of a full album, I would go as far as to say we could see a game-changing album that once again sees him shift the scene.
What has arguably let his recent albums down have been two juxtaposing ideals. With the number 12-charting ‘League Of My Own 2’, while there were undoubtedly memorable moments (especially the singles), in today’s climate, at 17-tracks it felt a little bloated. On the other end of the scale, 2018’s ‘TEN10’ charted at number 17 but felt almost surgical. It came across more as a tick box exercise of the rappers versatility rather than as a cohesive collection of songs.
Last years ‘Insomnia’ album with Skepta and Young Adz reinforced his position as a middle child of the scene, old enough to remember the pirate radio days and the clashes that made up the essence of the grime genre, but young enough to be able to embrace and be at the forefront of the changing landscape of music at it moved away from CD’s into the digital arena. For many he was one of the main positives of the project as his pen showed no signs of being blunted. More recently the sudden death of his long-time friend Black The Ripper brought about the introspective cut “0420” from his latest mixtape ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and his recent beef with friend turned enemy Stormzy is a slightly different dynamic from some of his other lyrical clashes over the years.
Essentially, with everything going on in the world – something that Chip has shown he is able to give his perspective on – coupled with the things happening to him personally, both in the public sphere and personally, now seems like the perfect moment for a new album from Chip. He is currently at the top of his game in terms of the quality of his music and his latest mixtape ‘Snakes and Ladders’ is his finest work to date and the best representation of him as an artist in terms of cohesively showcasing the versatility in his sound, flows and bars. With an illustrious career so far, Chip is already a legend, the only jewel missing in his crown is an undisputed classic album. Something he still has time to achieve.