Straight from the pages of the new issue of RAGGED, we’re thrilled to give you an exclusive excerpt from our cover story with Chiddy Bang! Be sure to grab the full issue download (for free!) for the rest of the article and more photos with the band. (Full issue download here!)
Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege is running late. He’s on his way to Harlem to meet with Roblé Ali, the chef who caters parties for celebrities on the Bravo TV show Chef Roblé & Co. Rapper Chiddy and producer Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, now both 22, met as freshmen back in college in Philadelphia in 2008 and formed the hip-hop group Chiddy Bang. This past February, two years after signing their record deal, they finally released their debut full-length, Breakfast. The guys have been on the road almost constantly lately, recently returning from a long summer of touring with both Wiz Khalifa and fun., but immediately preparing to head to Australia next. That Roblé & Co. is throwing them a party feels appropriate.
It’s been a busy, whirlwind start to their careers. Their first mixtape, The Swelly Express, was released in late 2009 and skyrocketed Chiddy Bang to success with the MGMT-sampling, online smash “Opposite of Adults” and its clever video, which finds the guys—made to look like kids through the magic of film—goofing off, skateboarding, eating cereal and turning flips on a bed.
From there, the duo continued climbing. At the 2011 MTV O Awards, Chiddy broke the Guinness World Record for Longest Freestyle Rap and the Longest Marathon Rapping Record. They scored features from hip-hop stalwarts like A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and The Roots’ Black Thought and dropped a handful more mixtapes and EPs whose songs landed in numerous video games. Not bad for a couple of college kids.
Like the duo’s carefree, sunny blend of poppy electronica and hip-hop spiked with samples, Chiddy and Noah are laidback and funny, chatting candidly with RAGGED, catching us up on their album delay and what life in the year 2012 has been like, and generously taking a moment from the rush to reflect on Breakfast’s success and the specific challenges the duo faces for the future. Growing up just might not mean getting older.
Chiddy Bang has so many mixtapes, but Breakfast is your first studio album. How was the process of making an album different than making a mixtape, and did you feel more pressure?
Chiddy: It wasn’t that we felt pressure; it just took so long! The recording process was a year and a half. Being young, [you think once you get signed] to a label, six months later, your album comes out—no, no. It’s almost two years of laboring before you can put out a project. But you’re supposed to learn and adapt from situations. Next round, we’ll be quicker and better.
Since hip-hop—as opposed to country or pop—is the genre where fans have adopted downloading albums online as opposed to buying them, does that makes Breakfast’s success more impressive?
Noah: Absolutely. To even get a release date… There are only 15 to 20 major label releases in hip-hop a year. It was great to be part of that. And hip-hop fans probably have a little less money than country or pop fans, but we don’t mind. I’m happy if people buy or download it, either way.
Was there a specific inspiration behind the album?
Noah: There’s not really a concept to the album. There’s no real inspiration behind it. I guess all our experiences and the music we like to listen to inspired the album, but it’s not a concept album and there’s no story that inspired it. We just made a bunch of songs.
But there has to be a reason you named it “Breakfast,” for instance.
Noah: It kinda means a lot of things to both of us. We like breakfast, we knew it was gonna be our first offering to the music world. But also, good things seem to happen to us when we’re eating breakfast. Every once in a while, someone will call us up while we’re eating breakfast and say, “All right, you’re gonna get to fly to Australia!” or “Oh, you get to do this cool thing!” Also breakfast is a very important meal that is often overlooked. People are in a rush to get to work.
A lot of people have this idea that being in the studio is really glamorous. Break it down.
Chiddy: The reality is you’re about to have a very, very long night. You’ll be in there all night and spend hours on one record. When we’re in the studio, Noah will cook up a beat and I’ll go away for three, four hours; listening to the beat, vibing, trying to come up with something I think is fly. But, yeah, friends say, “I wanna come by the studio,” but I guarantee at some point in the night they’re gonna be passed out [asleep] on the couch.
(Continued in the new issue of RAGGED…)
posted by Staff