The notion of "traditional hip hop" has changed forever. Whether you're talking about genre bending projects from superstars like Kanye West and Lil Wayne or surprising debuts from new artists like Kid Cudi and Drake, hip hop has never had a more exciting, expressive moment. If hip hop is reaching a tipping point, and its followers are expanding their horizons, its Chiddy Bang who's serving as the pied pipers for the freshman set.
Chiddy Bang is a Philly based duo comprised of Chiddy (emcee) and Xaphoon Jones (DJ/producer) who combine elements of indie rock and electronica with some good ole fashioned "spittin." The result has been described by some bloggers as a "hipster's wet dream," but Chiddy Bang prefer to think of themselves as "kings of the basement party jam." This unique take on hip hop earned them Buzzworthy status on MTV and actually caught the attention of the aforementioned Kanye West, who featured the group on his blog.
Chiddy grew up in the notorious streets of Newark, NJ and that's where the stereotypical rapper story ends. Raised by hard working parents who left their native villages of Nigeria in pursuit of the American Dream, Chiddy saw first hand the value of hard work. Early on, he used his way with words to create opportunities for himself to attract friends and garner laughs. In the classroom he excelled and earned a scholarship to the prestigious Northfield Mt. Herman High School whose alumni run the gamut from Diplomats to the founder of Burger King and CEO of Citibank. After high school his family relocated to the Philly area, and Chiddy eventually enrolled in Drexel University where he met producer Xaphoon Jones.
Xaphoon's production style stems from his wide array of musical tastes and a true respect for the art form of sampling. As a kid, when not in school or at temple, he would spend his time running errands in legendary Philly studios, picking up tips from the local Jazz legends and sneaking sessions after hours. He became proficient at several instruments but, to quote Chiddy, "really made magic over the music software Logic and Reason."
They quickly got to work, putting together the infectious and loopy mixtape Swelly Express. Sometimes using samples from artists like MGMT, Passion Pit and even Mary Poppins for inspiration, Chiddy Bang completely alters the tracks turning them into something of their own. While Chiddy's lyrics touch upon some heavy subjects like politics or conflict in Nigeria ("Sooner Or Later"), they find balance in feel good jams like the playful "Fresh Like Us" or the triumphant MGMT-copping first single, "Opposite of Adults," which is available on iTunes April 20th.
Chiddy Bang's infectious sound scored the group a deal with Parlaphone/EMI UK -- and quickly was scooped up by Virgin Records/EMI Music to release Chiddy's debut album stateside in August, 2010. Can't wait? Don't fret; Chiddy will also drop an EP on June 1st in anticipation of the album. As the confinements of urban music become looser and looser, Chiddy Bang is out to prove hip hop ain't dead... it just ain't the same.