“There is no one like me,” sings Swedish band Icona Pop in a sample on the first single from Chiddy Bang’s studio debut, Breakfast. The chorus of “Mind Your Manners” shamelessly attempts to set rapper Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and DJ/producer Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin apart from their hip-hop-meets-alternative peers. Barring the children’s choir that sounds all too similar to Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.”, the Philadelphia duo proves far more original here than on previous EPs and mixtapes.
The biggest digression from Chiddy Bang’s earlier work is a lack of well-known samples. In the past, they’ve fused hip-hop with the likes of Radiohead, Passion Pit, and MGMT to produce party-inducing songs, such as the Matt and Kim-based “Cameras”, which surfaced on last summer’s Peanut Butter and Swelly.
Despite the lack of an indie presence on the new album, the duo took an old-school approach to sample selection on the most enjoyable song, “Ray Charles”. The legendary blues musician’s piano makes for an upbeat retro track that’s addicting and impossible to sit still throughout. However, the album begins to fade shortly after, and the second half can’t compare to earlier tracks like “Breakfast” and “Handclaps & Guitars”, which showcase Beresin’s production skills with fresh, buoyant beats.
Breakfast was initially intended for a summer 2011 release, meaning they either spent a lot of time fine-tuning or Chiddy was too busy breaking the world record for the longest freestyle rap at nine hours and 18 minutes. Whatever the case, the album proves worthy enough for the wait, namely due to its shining moments that outweigh the surrounding pitfalls. So, where to next? With several recent performances on late night TV and a spot on Now 39: That’s What I Call Music (yes, 39, that “yikes” you just breathed is warranted), Chiddy Bang could very well be on his way to blowing up.
Essential Tracks: “Breakfast”, “Mind Your Manners”, and “Ray Charles”