It is December 2008 and Chip features on Tim Westwood’s Radio 1Xtra show with fellow artists, Wretch 32 and Bashy. Aged only 18 at the time and actually still going by Chipmunk, he was hailed for big things in the UK scene. The rise of Chip has not been one that has gone under the radar and fans, artists and journalists are all very familiar with the journey of his career.
10 years later and Chip is still here and is back on the mic with Tim Westwood to discuss the release of his latest work entitled Ten10 which is his fourth studio album, following last year’s League of My Own II.
Not many artists have had the journey that the now 27 year old has had and not many artists have had as many doubters as he has had. After his time in America with T.I. and successful tracks with the likes of Chris Brown, there was not much to be heard from in terms of singles and albums from 2011 to 2014 and this would have had many doubters licking their lips among YouTube comments and internet forums.
It may not have been until the back and forth beef (a term he does not believe is the right word to use to describe it) that Chip had with Tinie Tempah, Bugzy Malone and Yungen back in 2014 that made people realise that it was clearly meant to be for Chip to stick around among the UK scene and regardless of the beef, is still highly respected amongst his peers.
In his recent interview with Tim Westwood, Chip states himself;
“I think, what someone might of said was a problem for me, now, is kinda’ the reason why people big me up”
He goes onto explain that the comments are actually, in a sense, showing he is a very versitle artist. Everytime he has changed his style or genre in the past, people have been unbalance by the idea of it. All these years later, people are actually praising him for the same thing they were slating him for. His testing of different sounds and genres among his career has led him to become more of a seasoned artist.
Also, during an interview on Beats 1 Radio with Julie Adenuga, Chip highlights a time when he was in Atlanta with T.I. as a moment that he really realised that he was ready to come back to the UK, take his game to another level and get back involved in the scene…
“I did some grime, did some pop, I wanted to get better at my raps…I’ve come here, I’ve done Hip-Hop… I feel like I’ve finished my training course of what I wanted to do for myself”.
Even though League of My Own II followed first since his stint in America, Ten10 is definitely a piece of work that will now silence any lasting doubters. The album brings a wide range of sounds and in some way, summarizes the range of sounds, diversity and versatilty that Chip has brought to the game.
None of the tracks lack in lyrical ability which is hardly unsurprising. I won’t even quote any of the lyrics as I don’t want to take away the first time feeling that everyone should experience particularly when listening to an artist like Chip.
“Thoughts” starts the album off with a deep start and as obvious as it sounds, it is quite literally Chip voicing his thoughts and opinions. No chorus needed as Chip just uses his silky flow to express his feelings. “Right Now” featuring JME and Frisco and “Darth Vader” follow a similar suite and are the closest thing you’ll find to a Grime sound on the album.
“Take the Lead” featuring B.Young, “CRB Check” featuring Not3s, “I.F.W.U” and “Human” featuring Maleek Berry and Kranium take up more of an R&B vibe which no doubt will get played in the clubs, particularly “Take The Lead” . This is hardly surprising when some of the biggest artists in the scene for R&B and Afro-Swing are featuring on these tracks.
It is also typical of Chip to delve back into his Jamaican roots and have a reggae influenced track. Much like he did on his “Transition” album which featured a track with Mavado, this time he has gained a feature from reggae and dancehall artist Red Rat on the song “My Girl” and “Vampire Life” adds a bit more a Rap/Alternative R&B vibe to the album.
“Good Morning Britain” wraps up the album, very much how it started. Expressing his thoughts about the troubles that Britain faces, in particular London. Feelings are very much felt during this track and the strong lyrical word play and metaphors really cement the strength of this whole project.
As with many albums or pieces of musical work by artists, it is very easy as fans to think that an album that has two or three very good songs is a great album when in reality, the rest of the album is not. This is not the case for Ten10. An album that is easy to listen to from start to finish that takes you on a journey of Chip’s versatile career as well as allowing the listener to take in all the sounds that the UK scene has to offer from Grime, Rap, Afro-Swing, R&B and more.
Some of the comments on his latest video for “Right Now” are a clear indicator that Chip is hailed among music fans. Not many artists have truly grown with the UK scene but Chip is a true example. This all shows that Chip will go down as a very prominent figure among the UK scene.