Like It Or Not, Chip Is Top 5

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When Chip(munk) first burst onto the scene with Dizzee/D Double E/Kano-like momentum; I tried and tried to see what all the hype was about. Definitely talented, but comparing him to Dizzee was to a Day One Grime fan like myself, outrageous. Watching him go from the ‘Grime scene saviour’ to the top of the charts didn’t really fill me with any particular feeling either way; but I certainly was happy that another young black man had managed to use grime to kick start a career. And while I gave his albums a miss, his rise and fall was pretty well charted.

Up until 2015 Chip had never dropped so much as a verse that personally gotten my attention; then he dropped ‘Pepper Riddim‘ and things got interesting.


In 2015 chart topping rapper Chip dropped a freestyle targeting 5 MC’s. This turned into Chip (mostly) versus Bugzy Malone. A common misconception is that Bugzy Malone was the underdog. Technically he was; Malone didn’t have even close to the fanbase or recognition that Chip did; but people wanted to Chip to lose. On his epic 2 hour NFTR interview Chip talks about the moment he realised that the people turned against him. So despite Bugzy being the underdog, it was Bugzy’s clash to lose.

Shit I’ve been through, diamonds get made like that‘ – ‘Gets Like That’

During 2015/16 Chip ends up in the middle of 2 high profile clashes while returning shots from other MC’s. Whether it was that he felt he needed to send for multiple MC’s at once or he was simply used to it and wanted to remind everyone that he was more than ‘Oopsy Daisy‘; is hard to tell, but the war Chip got into undoubtedly made him a better MC.

In the same interview Chip references his young age having something to do with attitude and (possible) arrogance. Being given so much at such a young age likely made it rare where Chip had to really work for his position. Of course there’s hours of studio, practise, clashing; but at the end of the day he had the home team advantage. The whole reason he found himself in the position for a record deal was his underground following. Standing out amongst the hungry rappers on hyper competitive pirate radio stations; dropping underground mixtapes all lead to his school, town, city and eventually country all rooting for him. Chip was a young rapper with the world at his feet and while there were people (like myself) who maybe didn’t like him, there was certainly no reason to hate him.

Oopsy Daisy‘ changed things. ‘Beast‘, ‘Diamond Rings‘ and even ‘Chip, Diddy Chip‘ were acceptable as singles but ‘Oopsy Daisy‘ while Chip’s most successful single to date represented his official crossover to pop artist; and undoubtedly lost him some core fans. Even the singles following ‘Oopsy Daisy‘ were drastically different to the singles that started the album promo (‘Beast‘). So this is what changed Chip. The fallout from ‘I Am Chipmunk’ and the underperformance of ‘Transition’ gave us this:

34 Shots‘ has a bookend chorus and a wall of bars in between. It’s hard to say whether he would’ve been rapping like this if ‘Transition‘ and his career following it had continued to ascend; but as a a single? Doubtful. A full on grime single? Even less so. More telling is the fact that the equally brilliant ‘Gets Like That‘ featuring Ghetts; has 100k less views. Where ‘Transition‘ was bolstered by features (Chris Brown, Mavado, Trey Songz etc) ‘34 Shots‘ proves that people really just want to hear Chip rap.

So I could list endless quotables from this new iteration of Chip; but Chip adhere’s to the foundations of grime. He did his time on radio, has a necessary co-signing (and re co-signing) from Wiley, and clashing? All the top 5 (minus Stormzy…so far) have had notable clashes to reaffirm their position. Chip came up clashing AND clashed SIX MC’s at once; making back to back dubs for Yungen and Bugzy Malone. All without getting other people involved, keeping the war strictly music and dropping an inexhaustible amount of dubs while never running out of steam.

Basically:

Chip’s top 5.