On 24 January 2015, Chip flipped. The Tottenham MC, formerly know as as Chipmunk, was invited to perform a second Fire In The Booth session on Charlie Sloth's Rap Show and he had a meltdown of sorts - dropped out of his freestyle to call out Tinie Tempah, who he claimed had "broken his heart".
To say this surprised Sloth, and the wider world of grime, is something of an understatement. It led directly to the blowing up of a multi-pronged, almost-genre-wide beef categorised by some quality disses...
1. "Moment of silence for every rapper out of a deal" - Tinie Tempah
[The above video contains strong language]
It begins here - back in January 2014 with a Tinie Tempah Fire In The Booth that sat on YouTube for a full year without a reply. The lines that Chip would dig up 12 months later are at the end, from 8:20:
"Hire a bunch of managers, can't even manage themselves"
"Moment of silence for every rapper out of a deal"
"I left the pizza boys that thought I won't deliver again / You say you're gonna be around, we'll see who is in the end"
2. "Oi Charlie, that weren't fire in the booth" - Chip
Tinie didn't mention Chip by name, but it was clear who he was talking about. In 2012, Chip dropped a track called Pizza Boy featuring Meek Mill and, given the context of Tinie's bars, he wasn't referring to Meek. "I heard Tinie's Fire in the Booth / Oi Charlie, that weren't fire in the booth," Chip said in his initial freestyle, before going on an epic, spoken rant from 4:00. He was hurt as well as angry, and he gives a reason for taking so long to reply: he wasn't ready and didn't have any music. But he does now.
3. "U been gone from grime so long u can't name me 15 grime MCs under 25" - Saskilla
4. "Tinie and Chip trying to beef on a hardcore grime level is like Boyz II Men and Dru Hill" - Big Narstie
Big Narstie made his Fire In The Booth debut on 30 January (a week after Chip was in the booth) and spoke to Charlie before his freestyle. And when Narstie speaks, people listen.
"Tinie and Chip trying to beef on a hardcore grime level is like Boyz II Men and Dru Hill - they're both commercially gone in that way," he said, and his point was clear: you can't chase what he called "the pretty buck", then come back and claim grime. "Don't give us no Ed Milliand speech like you're here to save us."
5. "Go make a pop tune, f*** your As and Bs" - Bugzy Malone
Kanye invited grime MCs to perform with him on stage at the Brits in February and, for a moment there, attention was diverted. Then, on 14 March, a largely unknown MC from Manchester, Bugzy Malone, stepped into the booth and dropped a freestyle that would end up becoming the most-viewed Fire Of The Booth of 2015. In it, he sends for Chip. Referring to the GCSE grades (!?) Chip mentioned in his Fire In The Booth rant, Bugzy spits (from 5:30):
Go tell Chipmunk not to be cheeky
Grime is a road ting, my man's hopeless
Go make a pop tune, f*** your As and Bs
5. "Going to jail don't make you bad, you claff, it means you got caught on a move" - Chip
Chip started the year with just Tinie as his nemesis. Then Bugzy, Narstie, Saskilla and Cameo threw shade. So Chip released one song that he hoped would blast them all. That track was Pepper Riddim, posted on YouTube on March 20, and it caused a ruckus.
Key diss, referring to Bugzy's showboating in his Fire In The Booth: "Okay, so this guy thinks he's bad 'cause he went jail and he's got something to prove / Going to jail don't make you bad, you claff, it means you got caught on a move."
6. "With that s*** on the back of his head / He looks like Sonic the Hedgehog from Sega" - Bugzy Malone
As well as Devilman, Narstie replied to Chip, as did Saskilla with Chip Off My Shoulder, one of two diss tracks that Cameo played on his 1Xtra show. The other was Bugzy's Relegation Riddim, the video for which was shot on Chip's turf - Tottenham - with Narstie in frame.
Best diss? We'll go with the most childish - an attack on Chip's haircut:
With that s*** on the back of his head
He looks like Sonic the Hedgehog from Sega
7. This entire Big Narstie video
8. "You are not a star, 'cause your heart's full of jealousy" - Tinie Tempah
Tinie posted a photo to Instagram the day after Chip's Fire In The Booth that some people imagined was a take on the Kermit the Frog 'that's none of my business' meme. But he didn't speak on the beef until MistaJam interviewed him in May.
Also in May, Tinie released It's Peak, featuring Bugzy and Stormzy, with one line - "You are not a star, 'cause your heart's full of jealousy" - thought to be directed at Chip. Chip assumed it was, of course, and if there was any doubt then, there wasn't come October when Tinie played 1Xtra Live:
9. "Let your management let you manage this" - Chip
Chip signed out of the beef in April with The End, and signed back in with other tracks - Light Work, Run Out Riddim, Hat-Trick - that he included on a September-released EP.
Then on 9 October came Chip's 96 Bars of Revenge which, on a 2007 Jme beat, dissed Bugzy, Tinie and Charlie Sloth, who had signed Bugzy to his label, Grimey Limey.
Best diss, though? Chip saying that Tinie was under his management's thumb.
10. "Your EP flopped / And I've got an EP in the Top Ten" - Bugzy Malone
And then the barrage, the explosion, a soap opera in overdrive...
- 17 October - Tinie disses Chip at 1Xtra Live (see above)
- 20 October - Chip releases a Tinie diss, Coward
- 21 October, 6pm - Bugzy releases a Chip diss, Wasteman, mentioning that, off the back of all this hype, his debut EP, Walk With Me, had entered the charts at number 8
- 22 October, 2am - Chip releases a Bugzy diss, D***head
- 22 October, 2:06am - Bugzy releases a (prerecorded) Chip diss, Zombie Riddim
- 22 October, afternoon - Chip releases a Bugzy and Tinie diss, Duppy Riddim
...leaving us all feeling like this cat - COMPLETELY GRIMED OUT. But you can only roll safe for now, because no doubt there's far more to come.