Chiddy Bang The Preview Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

The pair exhibit qualities that could elevate them to the top of the charts.

Adam Kennedy 2010

How soon is too soon? It’s a quandary constantly posed by hip hop’s unrelenting devouring of its recent history. Re-raised here by youthful Philadelphian duo Chiddy Bang – aka vocalist Chiddy and DJ/producer Xaphoon Jones – rampant recycling defines this concise 25-minute prelude to their debut album proper. Only rather than half-inching the latest club-rocking rap bangers or reusing classic soul breaks, The Preview mines contemporary US indie-rock for production inspiration.

Such scant consideration for the constricts of tradition pays dividends on what, you assume, convinced Chiddy Bang to plough on with this ruse in the first place. Breakthrough single Opposite of Adults weaves bars of MGMT’s Kids amid Chiddy’s thoughtful reminiscing, a fine example of two seemingly opposing musical mindsets congruously combined.

Where they simply crassly shoehorn in borrowed hooks as centrepieces – see rhyming over Passion Pit on Truth or All Things Go’s awkward Sufjan Stevens re-appropriation – a gimmicky whiff permeates the air, however. Both will grow on you, admittedly, yet you’re never quite sure which side they sit of the divide where basic recognition is mistaken for actually, well, liking a song.

Pitching the raw materials up an octave or three, it’s evident why Kanye West has championed Chiddy Bang, given he took chipmunk-frequency samples to mainstream-saturating heights. It’s a mutual love affair, too: The Good Life and Here We Go spit out rhyme patterns that, in part, rhythmically idolise Kanye’s patented flow.

Infinitely more effective melding arrives within the sweetly spiteful Bad Day. Inviting scraggle-haired indie-rocker Darwin Deez aboard in person, the resultant childish get-back could conceivably follow Cee Lo Green’s similarly motivated (ahem) Forget You to chart-topping status.

If hip hop purists got in a tizzy over Kanye’s collegiate dress-sense or blog-pleasing hipster rappers such as The Cool Kids, expect unprecedented hand wringing concerning Chiddy Bang. Yet taking issue with their shameless sampling is a little like calling out hip hop itself. And by filling a gap, until debut LP The Swelly Life emerges in early 2011, in the same semi-throwaway manner a mixtape might, Chiddy Bang heed rap rituals closer than cursory glances suggest.

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