Breakfast’ is good but not wholly satisfying
Kevin Noonan | Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, better known as the rap duo Chiddy Bang, dropped their debut studio album, “Breakfast,” February 22. The debut came after months of delays and eight months after the release of the album’s first single, “Mind Your Manners.”
The album, while far from perfect, was worth the wait. At times it displays the limitations of both Chiddy as a lyricist and Xaphoon as a producer, but the bright spots are exciting and promising enough to make it a success.
Fans of Chiddy Bang know their music is often light-hearted and fun, with a sense of childhood innocence informing their sound. While the album suffers from a lack of focus at times, the general theme revolves around the two artists coming into the realization that they’re currently living out their childhood dream. It is this concept that gives the duo their success.
A few artists (i.e. Wiz Khalifa) have recently broken into the mainstream after years on the indie radar, only to lose their indie spirit and devolve into talking about how much they party and the drugs they smoke.
Chiddy Bang, however, manages to sound more legitimate than a mixtape band while maintaining their fun-loving spirit and focusing on things other than the party life.
The songs “Mind Your Manners,” “Ray Charles,” “Handclaps and Guitars” and “Happening” will sound familiar to long-time fans of the group, and epitomize the spirit of the album. Chiddy’s lyrics are fun but slightly introspective on closer listen, while Xaphoon is at his best producing songs that ooze laid-back fun.
These songs, in addition to being among the best on the album, mix the celebratory emotions the artists feel with a bit of the uncertainty they face not knowing what’s next.
It’s when the duo drifts away from this core theme that they stumble. Their other songs deal with a sort of frustrated love that speaks to their punk-rock influences. Xaphoon says he was both a hip-hop and an alternative music fan growing up.
“When I was 15 years old, they closed the local Tower Records and turned off all the metal detectors, so my friends and me stole every CD in the rap section,” said Jones in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I remember putting The Roots’ ‘The Tipping Point’ on my Walkman and listening to the opening tracks. I had grown up on punk, and when I heard that it was mind-blowing.”
But their attempts to delve into the genre are shaky at best. Jones shows why he is criticized for being occasionally repetitive and unoriginal, as some of the beats sound similar at best and indistinctive at worst. Chiddy’s fun-loving lyrics, which work perfectly in less serious songs, sound borderline childish and betray the songs’ more serious ideas.
On the whole, the album is fun and has a happy-go-lucky sense about it that the hip-hop world seems to be lacking. It’s not the album of the year by any stretch of the imagination, but for the debut album of two young and promising artists, this is a solid entry.