Much credit to Chiddy Bang for naming their mixtape Peanut Butter and Swelly, because it makes analyzing the music all the easier. A PB&J sandwich: A staple of simplicity and deliciousness, and something that is indeed swell, but unremarkable. This new collection from Philadelphia duo of Chidera Chiddy Anemage and DJ/Producer Noah Xaphoon Jones Beresin, whom have yet to release a feature full length LP, implies that they’re still just making sandwiches — light fare for a summer afternoon.
The mixtape too often favors something borrowed over something new. And because Girl Talk hasn’t released an album this year, Chiddy Bang fill that absence with recognizable mashups and samples from all over the map. Matt & Kim get a big nod on “Cameras”, and Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks” is the blueprint for “Always (On My Grizzly)”. More obscure nods are given to motown favorite Martha & The Vandellas and a straight rip of a Flux Pavilion dubstep mix on banging “I Can’t Stop (Freestyle)”. The grip of samples make for a Name That Tune game which is not nearly as endearing as they desire it to be.
Together, Chiddy’s flow and Xaphoon Jones’ production tread a dangerous line between the carefree club encouragements of will.i.am and some of the more clever personalizations of Kanye, and we could really do with more of the latter on this mixtape. High points like the sparse and worthy “Guiness Flow” are forgotten by the time familiar thick, choppy synths hit “All Over” (complete with a chipmunked Morrissey sample). Chiddy Bang are deft in their roles and strive for love from the crowd in every track without dull grandstanding or schlocky shock. They use poppy-hooks and recognizable samples to create no harm/no foul hip hop, which is actually a bit refreshing when it clicks. Any one of these tunes could make a summer block party or get the bodies moving on the dance floor, but outside of background music, the mixtape only serves to reminds us that these two eager, promising minds still need to carve out a stronger voice and a deeper resonance before releasing a proper LP.
Download Peanut Butter and Swelly here.