Review : Chiddy Bang - Peanut Butter and Swelly
Pitchfork.Earlier this year, Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege, the rapping half of the Philly rap duo Chiddy Bang, broke the Guiness World Record for Longest Freestyle, rapping for more than nine hours straight. And if you want to hear some utterly godawful rapping, pull up a video of Chiddy finishing off that marathon. Or rapping for a 10-minute stretch during hour five. Or 22 minutes into it. Really, any random moment from the writ-large publicity stunt is going to give you some truly clumsy time-killing fluffiness. Even if Chiddy was Rakim, he couldn't have pulled this thing off; there's not a rapper alive who could say anything compelling for nine hours straight. But a great rapper wouldn't have attempted this stunt because a great rapper wouldn't have needed to do it. There's no worthwhile artistic reason to rap for that long-- it's pure online traffic-bait. When you rap for nine hours, words stop meaning anything; they become a way to fill time. If you pull up a random video from the nine-hour stretch, you'll see Chiddy wandering aimlessly around a spotlessly furnished room, flopping down on a blinding white couch, lifelessly throwing out words while the other dudes in the room stare at their iPhones. It's depressing.
That same disregard for language is all over Peanut Butter and Swelly, Chiddy Bang's recent mixtape. As a rapper, Chiddy never shows the slightest bit of intensity or emotion. This is breezy cool-kid rap and nothing more, which might be fine if Chiddy did it with style. Instead, we get some truly awkward, forced, jumbled line construction. On the very first song, Chiddy actually uses the word "hashtag" in a (terrible) hashtag-rap punchline. Here's Chiddy on himself: "My life is pretty as the face of a girl/ And watch out, I got too much soul for the world." On a girl: "She got them soft legs/ She got them plum thighs/ And her bathing suit is something that is fun-sized." On his rivals: "Rapper, you should die/ Reading Catcher in the Rye." It's grisly.
Chiddy Bang first started building blog attention because producer Xaphoon Jones used samples of some extremely recognizable mainstream-indie pop hits (MGMT's "Kids", Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago") to build his synth-rap tracks. These kinda-juxtapositions don't quite qualify as a neat trick; rappers have been rapping over weird shit since rap's earliest days. As canny as they are, the production choices are simply lazy, a transparent bid for Chiddy Bang to become the one rap group a certain subset of indie kids cares about. So on Peanut Butter and Swelly we get stuff like Chiddy rapping over Matt and Kim's "Cameras", a decent song that's way too thin and burnished to serve as the skeleton for a rap song. Or we get "Heatwave", the posse cut where Xaphoon throws bleepy keyboard sounds all over a Martha and the Vandellas song for absolutely no reason. They seem to be aiming for the "Oh, hey, I know that song" reaction. It's not like they go anywhere with the songs. It's all reference with nothing behind it, and that also goes for the rapping. A line from all over: "Got me throwing my arms around Paris, shit: Morrissey." It just figures that this kid's Morrissey reference of choice would be some shit from Years of Refusal.
On "Heatwave", after painful verses from Chiddy and the odious Pittsburgh frat-rap goon Mac Miller, we get a verse from the Texas gangsta legend Trae, who stays on autopilot and steals the entire mixtape anyway. (Rest assured that the score at the top of this page would be a couple of decimal points lower without him.) Trae has been making a transparent bid for career-revival lately, showing up on tracks with ascendant weed-rap goofballs like Wiz Khalifa. Even so, his appearance here feels jarring. Trae made his name with a gutturally depressive hardhead style. He's a ferociously powerful voice who can sound tough even when he's talking about intense emotional pain. That makes him basically the polar opposite of Chiddy, a rapper who never has anything to say and who always sounds comfortable saying it....full text
ImflashyThis tape dropped perfectly in time for the feel-good, fun-in-the-sun Memorial weekend—the perfect jams for just kicking back, enjoying company, having a beer and feasting at a barbecue that your friend invited you to because you still don’t know how know how to cook. Don’t worry, neither do I.
With features from Mac Miller, The Knocks, Train and Casey Veggies among others, the duo stayed true to their brand of music with the release of Peanut Butter and Swelly.
Chiddy Bang essentially compiled all of their sporadic releases over the past few months and put them in one downloadable area for the mixtape. It was a fun project, which allowed listeners to revisit some of the songs that were previously released along with some new joints that mainly discuss and remind us that Chiddy broke the Guinness World Record for longest freestyle rap.
Since he did that, I don’t even know how to review his lyricism on his 3 minute songs because I vividly remember tuning in and seven hours(!) into his Guinness World Record freestyling session, he was still spitting complex and witty rhymes. I still can’t fathom how someone could even think to rap for 9 hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds.
As far as the project goes, I love the way Chiddy Bang (in conjunction with illRoots) put the digital packaging for this mixtape together. Also, the way the name of the project incorporated “swelly” was amusing and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would because of the way they try to make “swelly” their buzzword and selling point.
Whoa, and hold on. Did Xaphoon really sample a song that Chiddy Bang was already in? “Too Much Soul” from Peanut Butter and Swelly samples Hockey’s “Too Fake” which was previously used in the song “Too Fake” by Big Sean and Chiddy Bang. Is there such a thing as resampling? (Probably.) Hm. Anyways, somehow I’m a fan on this one. It’s varied and different enough to be cool with me....full text
XxlmagA month after breaking the Guinness World Record for longest freestyle rap set, rapper Chiddy gets back together with group-mate Xaphoon Jones to keep building up the Chiddy Bang buzz with the release of Peanut Butter & Swelly. With a summer night party feel throughout, the mixtape proves to be just what Chiddy Bang and their growing fan base were looking for: an impressive prequel to the duo’s debut LP due later this year.
While Chiddy is the face most casual fans associate Chiddy Bang with, it is Xaphoon’s production that really gives the group its distinct and quirky hip-hop/electro/indie sound. On “Baby Roulette,” Chiddy covers the issue of safe sex over a thumping Xaphoon beat riddled with samples from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Other noteworthy tracks include “Cameras” and “All Over,” as well as “Heatwave,” which boasts features from up and coming acts Mac Miller, Trae the Truth and Casey Veggies.
While PB&S showcases a big step up in production value for Chiddy Bang, it does lack the narrative feel of their first mixtape The Swelly Express, which chronicled the story of these two young talents from Philly heading up to New York City to meet the big label executives. Nevertheless, Chiddy Bang certainly have the attention of these executives now, and Peanut Butter & Swelly offers a delicious snack to hold listeners over while they prep the release of Breakfast, their debut studio album. —Neil Martinez-Belkin...full text
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